Wednesday, March 31, 2004
HISTORY, FASHION, AND SINO-JAPANESE RELATIONS. This is old news but several of my students have mentioned a talk that discussed the flap over the Chinese actress/model/singer Zhao Wei wearing a dress emblazoned with the Imperial Japanese flag. I vaguely remember hearing about the incident but couldn't remember details. A nice summary of the event and its aftermath (with pictures) can be found here.
Zhao learned her lesson the tough way after a magazine photo of her modelling a mini-dress printed with the old Japanese naval flag triggered a backlash among patriotic fans and media in China, still rife with resentment over Tokyo's past aggression, Reuters reported.Of course few appreciated the irony of the words that accompanied the rising sun on the dress:
A tabloid based in Nanjing, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed by Japanese soldiers in 1937, spearheaded a media campaign last week to boycott news of the actress and advertisements she appeared in.
Zhao, who catapulted to fame playing a sassy princess in a wildly popular soap opera set in the 1644-1912 Qing Dynasty, had no choice but to apologise.
"I profoundly feel that I neglected the study of history and was insensitive toward that painful historical period," she wrote in a letter published in state media and on Web sites this week.
In the Japanese military flag, there are 16 light rays and the flag is printed with the words [Warrior¡s spirit]; [Loyalty]; [Respect] and [Imperial country]. In the dress worn by Zhao Wei, the words had been altered to [Peace]; [Happiness]; [Health] and [Hygiene]. The fashion design here conveys ironic sarcasm, but nobody ever reads the words.]And what did the former heartthrob get for her pains?
On 28th December, Zhao Wei performed at a concert on behalf of a local television station in Changsa, Hunan, China. When the concert began, Zhao Wei wore a white long overcoat and sang together with Leo Ku and Alec Su. Then she sang a duet with Leon Ku. Then she came back to do three solo numbers, when she took off her coat to reveal a white bare-back dress.And the Dixie Chicks thought they had it bad.
When she was onto her third and last song, she was joined by a group of about 20 child dancers. An unknown man wearing a white cap, black jacket and black gloves holding a plastic bottle got on the stage with the children. When he got near her, he suddenly rushed at her attacked her. He pushed her onto the floor, pulled her hair and poured feces from the bottle on her.