East Asian Popular Media: Maneuvering Between Discourses

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: East Asian Popular Media: Maneuvering Between Discourses
Stream: Cinema Studies/Film
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Hongmei Sun, George Mason University, United States (organizer, presenter, chair)
Yu Min Claire Chen, National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan (presenter)
Dandan Chen, State University of New York, Farmingdale State College, United States (presenter)
Ping Fu, Towson University, United States (presenter)
Douglas Eyman, George Mason University, United States (presenter)


In this panel, five presentations report on examples of East Asian popular media that represent traditional culture and demonstrate strategic maneuvering among ideological and cultural discourses. Speaker 1 (Hongmei Sun) examines three sets of animated series that share the task of introducing traditional Chinese medicine to young audiences, focusing on their use of myths to make traditional philosophical and medicinal knowledge attractive to modern viewers. Speaker 2 (Yu Min Chen) examines time travel TV dramas from China, Japan, and Korea, and analyzes the means by which these dramas draw their audiences: fulfilling their lost dreams and tackling philosophical questions related to temporality and existence. By examining the various discourses and the ambiguity of isms in contemporary Chinese historical conspiracy novels and TV dramas, speaker 3 (Dandan Chen) shows how Chinese popular culture engages in reevaluating the past and reshaping current mass ideology. Speaker 4 (Ping Fu) reports her research on Chinese reality dating shows that take the form of Chinese road-side marriage trades and present young people dating with their parents’ participation, analysing the reasons that Chinese media and social media revitalize these banned traditional practices. Using World of Warcraft’s “Mists of Pandaria” expansion as a case study, speaker 5 (Douglas Eyman) examines the interaction between cultures, players, and game design to evaluate questions of adaptation, influence, and cultural appropriation embedded in the translation practices of multiplayer games. Together, the panelists shed light on the negotiations between traditional and modern values in new forms of education, recreation, family formation, and imaginary narrative creation.