Han Heroes and Yamato Warriors

Competing Masculinities in Chinese and Japanese War Cinema


Amanda Weiss

ISBN : 978-988-8754-27-4

Film Studies / Asian Studies Transnational Asian Masculinities 跨國亞洲男性氣質叢書

August 2023

180 pages, 9″ x 6″, 21 b&w illus. & 3 tables

  • HK$395.00

Taking the “tidal wave” of memory in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as its starting point, this monograph explores collective memory of World War II in East Asia (1937–1945) through film. Weiss argues that Chinese, Japanese, and American remembrance of World War II is intertwined in what she terms a “memory loop,” the transnational mediation and remediation of war narratives. Gender is central to this process, as the changing representation of male soldiers, political leaders, and patriarchal father figures within these narratives reveals Japanese and Chinese challenges to each other and to the perceived “foundational” American narrative of the war. This process continues to intensify due to the globally visible nature of the memory loop, which drives this cycle of transmission, translation, and reassessment.

This volume is the first to bring together a collection of Chinese and Japanese war films that have received little attention in English-language literature. It also produces new readings of popular war memory in East Asia by revealing the gendered dimensions of collective remembrance in these films. 

Amanda Weiss is assistant professor of Japanese at Georgia Institute of Technology.

“This awesome book shows how Chinese and Japanese films about the Second World War both reflect and shape memories of that conflict. Moreover, by analyzing movies about the war and the ensuing ‘competing masculinities,’ Amanda Weiss skillfully discloses their impact on subsequent conceptions of race, gender, and identity. Highly recommended.” 

Kam Louie, University of Hong Kong 

“Amanda Weiss, who views film as a significant mode of popular memory traveling beyond national border, discovers a loop of mutual interaction in the representation of Chinese and Japanese war films deeply intertwined with the nationalism of both countries. Her skill in capturing the intersection of cross-border memories in visual images such as the Tokyo Trials, warrior, rape, and reconciliation is remarkable. This is a transcendent achievement that could only be accomplished by Weiss, who fully understands both Japanese and Chinese languages and deeply understands the movements of consciousness among the people of these countries during her long stay in Japan and China.” 

Shunya Yoshimi, University of Tokyo