Esselstrom (2015) Red Guards and Salarymen

Abstract

This article explores how Japanese comic artists represented the early years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in popular print culture, especially lowbrow comic magazines. It posits that Japanese cartoonists in their role as both purveyors of everyday humor and keenly observant social commentators employed the imagery and rhetoric of the Red Guard movement to critique the conservative social and economic order of Japanese cor- porate culture during the late 1960s era of high-speed growth; moreover, it contends that there was a surprisingly receptive audience for such criticism among the rank-and-file “salarymen” of the urban Japanese middle class. Finally, the precisely informed humor found in these comics also suggests that their target audience possessed detailed familiar- ity with contemporary events on the continent and interpreted those events through a deeply embedded cultural framework of ambivalence concerning modern Chinese society.

Citation Esselstrom, E. (2015). Red Guards and Salarymen: The Chinese Cultural Revolution and Comic Satire in 1960s Japan. The Journal of Asian Studies, 74(4), 953–976. URL

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{esselstrom2015guards,
author = {Esselstrom, Erik},
doi = {10.1017/S0021911815001096},
journal = {The Journal of Asian Studies},
number = {4},
pages = {953--976},
title = {{Red Guards and Salarymen: The Chinese Cultural Revolution and Comic Satire in 1960s Japan}},
volume = {74},
year = {2015}
}

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