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In TransitThe Formation of a Colonial East Asian Cultural Sphere$
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Faye Yuan Kleeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838607

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838607.001.0001

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Gender, Ethnicity, and the Spectacles of the Empire

Gender, Ethnicity, and the Spectacles of the Empire

(p.108) 4 Gender, Ethnicity, and the Spectacles of the Empire
In Transit

Faye Yuan Kleeman

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the foundational problematics of nationality, ethnicity, and gender in relation to empire by focusing on the lives of two legendary public figures: Li Xianglan (aka Ri Kōran, Yamaguchi Yoshiko), the movie superstar who masked her ethnic identity and presented herself as Chinese, and Kawashima Yoshiko (aka Jin Bihui), a Manchu princess who invented a male persona in a performance of celebrity and notoriety. The chapter explores the sociohistorical conditions that helped to create Ri Kōran and Kawashima Yoshiko as legendary heroines, the purposes of promoting them as public figures, and the media's role in transforming them into celebrities. It also considers how the two women's existences served or disserved the Japanese empire. It shows that the very different postwar endings of their stories are a reflection of the divergent paths that decolonialization took in China and Japan.

Keywords:   nationality, ethnicity, gender, Kawashima Yoshiko, Ri Kōran, media, celebrities, Japanese empire, decolonialization, China

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