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Japanisch-chinesische Begegnungen im Genre Yakuza-Film [Japanese-Chinese Encounters in the yakuza-film genre]

By Griseldis Kirsch


Throughout the 1990s, an increased number of Chinese characters appearing in the genre of yakuza film could be observed. This increase is part of an Asia boom in Japanese cinema in general. However, this development is paralleled by a discussion on the potential increase of foreign criminality in the non-fictional media in Japan. Many politicians such as Ishihara Shintarō feared that an increased number of foreigners in Japan would also lead to an increased number of crimes. This paper deals with the representations of Chinese and Taiwanese characters in Japanese yakuza films in relation to the idea of foreign criminality. In these films, Kabukichō in Shinjuku in Tōkyō seems to be like a symbol of foreign/Chinese dominance within Japan when it is turned into a quasi-extraterritorial space with only limited Japanese influence. Depending on the film, the various yakuza groups are trying to contain the influence of the Chinese triads. Yet analysing the films from a gender perspective, it becomes evident, that only male Chinese characters are portrayed as ‘threatening’ Japan whereas female Chinese characters are often in need of Japanese support and will sacrifice themselves eventually, leading to a chastening inside the Japanese protagonists. By exploring these various ways of encountering the ‘Other’ in this genre, this paper seeks to work out which concepts of Otherness are used in constructing these representations – and also how the debate on foreign criminality is reflected therein

Topics: 8630, 2300
Publisher: EBVerlag
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: SOAS Research Online
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