How do various forms of media visualize the power dynamics of imperialism, postcolonial representations, and transnational popular culture? This panel reconsiders the cultural legacy of Japanese empire in the Asian Sinosphere to explore the uneven impact of Japan on the development of visual media over the twentieth century. It examines Japanese-occupied Singapore, colonial Taiwan, and Sinophone Japanophilia as contact zones, where the vigorous exchange of cultural practices, technologies, and techniques across geopolitical boundaries brought together a frequently volatile mix of local and transnational forces. By looking at modern media’s history through the lens of crosscurrents, the papers collectively complicate historical narratives that posit the relationship between Japanese imperialism and its occupied territories as one of unidirectional influence.
The papers reflect on the transgressive potential of visual media, while acknowledging their complex, and at times complicit, symbiosis with established norms, practices, and relations of power. Steve Ridgely discusses how Haniya Yutaka’s memories of growing up in colonial Taiwan might have shaped the novelist’s wartime and postwar literary politics. Laura Wen explores how Deng Nanguang’s amateur cinema intervened and subverted the aesthetic conventions of colonial filmmaking during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Masakazu Matsuoka examines film policies in Japanese-occupied Singapore and the unexpected role of American films in the region’s wartime film programming. Jasmine Chen explains the ways in which contemporary Japanese animation facilitates the transmedia production of Pili puppetry in television and digital culture. Overall, this panel investigates the mechanisms of power in Sino-Japanese visual cultural contexts.
Paper Presenter: Steve Ridgely – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paper Presenter: Laura Jo-han Wen – Randolph-Macon College
Paper Presenter: Masakazu Matsuoka – Tokyo University of the Arts
Paper Presenter: Jasmine Yu-hsing Chen – Utah State University