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Manchukuo PerspectivesTransnational Approaches to Literary Production$
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Annika A. Culver and Norman Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528134

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528134.001.0001

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From Radical Nationalism to Anti-modernism

From Radical Nationalism to Anti-modernism

The Intellectual Dilemma of Wenxuan Writers

(p.140) 9 From Radical Nationalism to Anti-modernism
Manchukuo Perspectives

Liu Chao

Hong Kong University Press

After Manchukuo’s establishment, survival of Chinese “new literature” experienced hardship under colonial cultural dominance. Debates over overarching themes, styles, and orientations for Manchukuo literature, along with treatment of Japanese culture's paradoxical influence, generated two opposing intellectual factions: the Record of Art and Literature and the Selection of Writings groups, which appealed to literary modernity and national cultural identity. The Record of Art and Literature group endeavored to reconcile modernization pursuits with entrenched national consciousness, thus laying emphasis on literary production's independence and diversity while linking Chinese literature's modernization with emulation of its Japanese counterpart. In contrast, the Selection of Writings’ major goals were “describing social realities,” “inheriting literary traditions,” and “writing by the common people”. Inheriting the May Fourth Movement’s nationalist discourse, they further radicalized it through native-land literature to highlight literature's socio-political function, with national salvation as ultimate goal. Thereby, they rejected colonial modern infrastructure and culture. However, their underlying aesthetic notions, topics, and stylistic features somewhat resembled those of colonial propaganda organs, eventually turning them towards anti-modern complicity with colonial ideology.

Keywords:   Selection of Writings Group, Chinese Nationalism, Colonial Propaganda, Anti-Modern Discourse

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