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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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Competing Empires in Transnational Asia

Competing Empires in Transnational Asia

(p.106) Chapter Four Competing Empires in Transnational Asia
The Attractive Empire

Michael Baskett

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines Japan's struggle to create and define its empire as a unique entity vis-à-vis the West. It first considers how Japan clashed with Hollywood for market domination and the “hearts and minds” of Asians and how the rise of the Japanese empire in Asia threatened American film dominance there, triggering a film war. Japan restricted access to Asian markets, censored or banned American films, and finally conducted a comprehensive embargo on all Hollywood films. This prohibition led to secret meetings among Japanese film industry representatives, Hollywood representatives, and the U.S. Department of Commerce in which the United States threatened to stain Japan's national reputation by making Japanese villains in American films. The chapter analyzes Japan's paradoxical status as a member nation of the Axis at a time when it was preaching anti-Westernism throughout Asia. It also discusses the interactions among the cinemas of imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy on the legislative, distribution, and exhibition levels.

Keywords:   film war, Japan, Hollywood, Asia, Japanese empire, Japanese film industry, United States, anti-Westernism, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy

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