Can Pop Culture Allay Resentment? Japan’s Influence in China Today

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Can Pop Culture Allay Resentment? Japan’s Influence in China Today


  • Yuqing Wu Department of Sociology, Yale University, USA


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Abstract:  In China, despite the traumatic collective memory relating to militaristic Japan during World War II, an increasing number of Chinese young adults have developed an obsession with Japanese culture, due to its export of anime, movies, pop music, and other popular culture. Based on interviews with 40 Chinese and Japanese young adults, this work examines how contemporary pop culture and historical war memories related to Japan influenced Chinese young adults, who had to reconcile their contradictory sentiments toward the Japanese government, people, and culture. The success of Japanese pop culture in China also shows how the allegedly apolitical, virtual sphere of entertainment has helped build Japan’s soft power through shaping a cool image of Japan in Asia and worldwide.

Keywords:  China; East Asia; Japan; national image; pop culture; soft power

Published:   5 August 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i3.4117


© Yuqing Wu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.