Japanese Culture vs. Chinese Culture: the Loss of Patriotism
The Japanese Culture vs. The Chinese Culture: The loss of Patriotism Dallas was launched to Europe in the 1980s. Before it was launched to Europe, the ideal mission for European television was has generally been perceived as educational. According to Ang’s essay, “(Not) Coming to Terms With Dallas, most European critics believed that television should be a “window on the world” for the mass audience, and should enhance people’s awareness of their duties as national citizens.
Yet, Dallas, being an American commercial television soap opera, is totally different from the European critics’ notion of “quality programs”. Today, many people believe that Dallas has led to the commercialization of European television, which is frequently cited as a metaphor for the decline of classical European culture. Similarly, the intrusion of the Japanese culture to the Chinese culture since the early 90s also serves as the primary reason of the loss of patriotism among many Chinese people. When Dallas first arrived to Europe in 1981, it was accompanied with rumors, speculations, and publicity.
Moral panic was created around the show. In fact, Dallas undoubtedly managed to capture the popular imagination, and it is surely the key of the phenomenal popular success of the American television show in Europe. Nevertheless, Dallas soon became the object of great debate among the arbiters of the European official culture. The “Americanness” of the program was the major concern of the European official critics, and it was one of the reasons that the show was culturally positioned in serious public discourse.
To the European officials, Dallas signified “[d]anger and a threat to the national community”. As Ang has cited in her essay, “[t]he conventional model of European television , organized according to a state-controlled, national public service policy, is in crisis, ” Dallas in fact was an unwelcome one to most of the European official. Ang also believes that “[D]allas is rejected because of its supposedly low quality,” and that “[t]o reduce all cultural criticism to the problem of quality is a symptom of the anxiety of contamination. That is, the European officials feared the “Americanness” of the programs would contaminate the official European culture. However, the pleasure that the masses receive from Dallas and the disdainful attitude towards the show offered by the critics contradict. The pleasure offered by the show is frequently ignored and the negative ideological meaning of it is the only thing that is put into public discourse. People cannot understand Dallas except in a negative way, and it is what Ang referred as “[C]ultural Absolutism”.
Ang believes that it is necessary to “[b]reak the discursive closure, and to deconstruct its assumptions and presumptions. ” If something offers pleasure substantially, then it would be necessary to take that pleasure into serious consideration (at least the show can be taken as pleasurable). What the European critics did, however, were entailing a downright rejection of that pleasure, which eventually affects the masses. The Japanese culture has become popular among Chinese since the early 90s. Today, it has already become an indispensable part of my home culture, the Chinese culture.
Different from Dallas, the Japanese culture did not have an exact date of invading the Chinese culture (for Dallas, it is the day when it was first broadcast in Europe); the contamination of the Chinese cultures happens gradually. Consequently, the Japanese culture was not associated with any rumor or publicity. Neither the Chinese official critics paid close attention onto it; perhaps, it is because Japanese culture is quite similar to the Chinese culture. Hence, the Japanese culture was not position in serious public discourse. No one seemed to care about the cultural contamination at that time.
Even today, not many people worry much about it. Nowadays, the Japanese culture signifies popularity, fashion, and update. Chinese people, especially the youths, mostly admire the Japanese culture. I have grown up in an environment where watching Japanese cartoon, reading Japanese comics, and playing Japanese games is my daily event. People who are closely tied with the Japanese culture are considered to be fashionable and up-to-date. Japanese comics, games, signers, clothes, etc. are tremendously popular among the Chinese youths.
Since the Chinese official critics did not reject the Japanese culture as the Europeans did, Chinese people who dislike the Japanese culture often suffer and feel isolated. Under peer pressure, they have no choices but to accept the Japanese culture. They are different to those who disliked Dallas because they do not get a sense of superiority from the Chinese official critics. Understanding the Japanese culture is heavily charged with ideological meanings and pleasure, and yet the masses are able to focus on the merely the pleasure of the Japanese culture, while they tend to ignore the negative ideological meaning.
This is done by the Japanese culture industry because it is necessary to hide the “bad parts” of the Japanese culture. That is, the Japanese are only selling the “good parts” of their culture. Slowly, the Japanese culture has been mythologized into an abstract idea. People tend to believe anything that has relationship with Japan must be pleasurable because all they know about the Japanese culture is goodness. As Barthe has mentioned, “[M]yth mistakes history to nature”. The masses mistake the pleasure they have been dealing with to the nature of the Japanese culture.
Barthe also claims that semiological analysis tend to dismiss the myth. Hence, if we were to perform a semiological analysis on the Japanese culture, we can find out that Japanese are actually not that great. Overall, the Chinese masses have perfected the Japanese culture because they do not have a chance to understand the negative side of the Japanese culture. The intrusion of the Japanese culture is the primary reason to the loss of patriotism among most Chinese people. The elimination of the Chinese culture and patriotism due to the Japanese culture has become a serious problem, and yet, not many Chinese people are aware of it.
Most Chinese, especially the youths, tend to admire the Japanese culture that they sometimes forget themselves being Chinese. They are affected by the Japanese culture so much that they believe being Chinese is nothing better than being Japanese. I see Chinese people who cheer/cry for the Japanese Olympic Team when they win/lose while they do not even show the slightest interest in Chinese Olympic team. They speak of their home country with a contemptuous tone, as if it is not their home country. They look down on China and praise the Japanese.
One of my friends even told me that she wishes to marry Japanese. What causes such phenomena? Globalization is one of the major reasons of the differences between the European’s response and the Chinese’s response. Almost 20 years after the Dallas year, the improvement of technology has indeed actualized the abstract idea, “global village”. The world is viewed as one big family, and cultural absolutism should no longer exist. Cultures start to blend together and form new cultures. I do not want to defend cultural absolutism, nor is it my intention to challenge the idea of lobalization. In fact, I do not care about the contamination of the Chinese culture. Nevertheless, the loss of patriotism is my major concern. If the contamination of the Chinese culture can result the loss of patriotism, then perhaps it should be stopped. However, blaming everything on the Japanese and the idea of globalization is simple minded. The hidden negative ideological meaning of the Japanese culture is actually the key to this problem. Most Chinese people lack the logical sense to discover this negative ideological meaning of the Japanese culture.
That is, they are too simple-minded (the Japanese culture industry has also done a great job in hiding the negative side of their culture too). Hence, the loss of patriotism cannot be stopped until the Chinese cultural contamination is stopped, and revealing the negative ideological meaning of the Japanese culture (perform a semiological analysis) seems to be the only possible method to solve the problem. As a Chinese, I have to admit that China is not a great country in fact, but at least I believe it is not so bad that I have to look down on it with a contemptuous attitude.
After all, I am still proud of being Chinese, and I feel disgraceful when I see my friends looking down on their home country while they are still speaking Chinese. After all, the Chinese cultural contamination caused by the Japanese culture has a far deeper effect than anyone can expect. Works Cited Ang, Ien. “(Not Coming to Terms with Dallas. ” Global Television. Ed. Cynthia Scneider and Brian Wallis. MITP 1988. Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang, 1972. “Some Online Debate between Chinese and Japanese”