Classic or farce?

Making a spectacle of the ‘anti-Japan drama’, 2000–15

Authored by: Ruth Y. Y. Hung , Q. S. Tong

Routledge Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in Asia

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138959927
eBook ISBN: 9781315660509
Adobe ISBN:


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The success of contemporary Chinese popular culture, especially television dramas set against the background of the Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s and early 1940s, is inseparable from the so-called ‘anti-Japan serials’ 抗日剧, a category of historical dramas that the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (hereafter SARFT) promotes as a major ‘theme drama’ 主旋律电视剧. This chapter concerns itself with the category of ‘anti-Japan serials’ from their emergence as a group of ‘theme dramas’ at the turn of the twenty-first century to their entrance into a production boom in 2010, as marked by the nation-wide broadcast of Snow Leopard 雪豹. 1 The last few years have witnessed the genre’s mutation both qualitatively and quantitatively. Since 2010, the ‘anti-Japan serials’ have evolved from a narrative art through the market economy into what netizens have come to call leiju 雷剧 or shenju 神剧 – literally, ‘thunderous serials’ or ‘super serials’ that verge on the farcical, in some cases the mere ludicrous.

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