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Han Heroes and Yamato Warriors

Competing Masculinities in Chinese and Japanese War Cinema

An exploration of collective memory through the lens of East Asian film during World War II.

Taking the “tidal wave” of memory in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as its starting point, this monograph explores the collective memory of World War II in East Asia (1937–1945) through film. Weiss argues that Chinese, Japanese, and American remembrance of World War II is intertwined in what she terms a “memory loop,” the transnational mediation and remediation of war narratives. Gender is central to this process, as the changing representation of male soldiers, political leaders, and patriarchal father figures within these narratives reveals Japanese and Chinese challenges to each other and to the perceived “foundational” American narrative of the war. This process continues to intensify due to the globally visible nature of the memory loop, which drives this cycle of transmission, translation, and reassessment.

This volume is the first to bring together a collection of Chinese and Japanese war films that have received little attention in English-language literature. It also produces new readings of popular war memory in East Asia by revealing the gendered dimensions of collective remembrance in these films.

184 pages | 21 halftones, 3 tables | 6 x 9

Transnational Asian Masculinities

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“Weiss’s original and timely contribution offers a diachronic and cross-cultural comparative study of the filmic narratives about World War II in China and Japan. This translingual and cross-cultural comparative framework is exceptional and much needed, pushing the disciplinary boundaries and changing the Euro-centric status quo of World War II memory studies and nationalism studies.”

Faye Xiao, associate professor and chairperson of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Kansas

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