Moe and Internet Memes: The Resistance and Accommodation of Japanese Popular Culture in China

Main Article Content

Asako P. Saito


The cultural exports of Japanese anime and manga have faced both praise and scorn in the Chinese market. Although the Chinese state generally regards these cultural artefacts as a negative influence, the adoption of visual techniques and concepts associated with Japanese popular culture has become common in China, particularly on the internet. This article seeks to understand the implications of the ‘glocalisation’ of Japanese anime and manga in China. It discusses how Japanese popular culture is perceived by the Chinese Communist Party and by the general public, and how the Chinese state has invested in its own domestic comics and animation industries in an attempt to curb the cultural flow from Japan. Through examining a satirical Chinese virtual character who is heavily influenced by Japanese graphic techniques and concepts, this article demonstrates that governments are not the final arbiters in matters of cultural influence and illuminates the complex nature of transnational cultural flows between China and Japan.

Article Details

Media Mobilities and Identity in East and Southeast Asia (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Asako P. Saito, University of Melbourne

Asako P. Saito is a PhD candidate at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. Her research interests lie in gender, literature and the role of popular culture in Sino–Japanese relations. A native speaker of English and Japanese, she has also undertaken long-term Mandarin language studies in China and Taiwan. Saito is currently involved in a project that examines the literary migration and transformation of the Chinese classic, Three Kingdoms. She has received the Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Award, the Australian Postgraduate Award and the Taiwan Fellowship in her academic pursuits.