‘These war dramas are like cartoons’: Education, media consumption, and Chinese youth attitudes towards Japan

Orna Naftali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growing prevalence of foreign media consumption, including from Japan, has received considerable notice in recent work on PRC youth culture. To date, however, few studies have considered how youth of different social backgrounds perceive their consumption of Japanese popular culture in the context of the Party-state’s ‘patriotic education’ campaign waged in schools and in the mass media. Studies have also overlooked how rural and urban youth in China juxtapose the images and themes conveyed in the Japanese media that they consume with school and domestic media messages. Drawing on interviews with middle school students in Shanghai and Henan, the present study addresses these issues. It finds that while a majority of youths from different backgrounds express animosity toward Japan, they separate these feelings from their passion for Japanese popular culture. In some cases, consumption of Japanese media also allows teenagers to feel that they ‘know’-or even appreciate-the other country better. Amid the anti-Japanese messages currently circulating in PRC schools and domestic media, consumption of Japanese popular culture manifests a form of ‘expressive individualism’ among teenagers, who creatively construct their own notions of patriotism, national memory, and Sino-Japanese relations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)703-718
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary China
Volume27
Issue number113
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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