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The Attractive EmpireTransnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan$
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Michael Baskett

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831639

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831639.001.0001

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Imperial Acts

Imperial Acts

Japan Performs Asia

(p.72) Chapter Three Imperial Acts
The Attractive Empire

Michael Baskett

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines Japanese assumptions about Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian difference through elements of mise-en-scène, including acting styles, gestures, makeup, and dialogue in feature films. The discussion centers on Japanese representations of culture, ethnicity, and language, and the ways in which they masked Asian difference in order to construct a seamless and attractive image of an idealized Pan-Asian subject. The chapter looks at China-born Japanese actress Ri Koran, who exemplified the exoticism, mystery, and allure of a Japani?ed China. It also discusses the assimilation program in Korea; the film You and I, which championed two colonial cultural policies: the Military Volunteer Program (shiganhei seido) and the Interracial Marriage Policy between Japanese and Koreans (naisen kekkon); and feature films that deal with the issue of Japanese prejudice against returning prostitutes and children of miscegenetic relationships. The chapter concludes by considering non-Japanese reception of Japanese performances of Asian identity in order to identify schisms between Japanese and non-Japanese imperial subjects.

Keywords:   mise-en-scène, feature film, Japan, ethnicity, Asian difference, Ri Koran, assimilation, You and I, prostitutes, Asian identity

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