China’s ‘Geisha’ Complex – Andreas Lorenz

From Spiegel Online: The Hollywood blockbuster “” is only the latest film to fall victim to Chinese censors. Lately, the overbearing censors have increased their crackdowns on films, the Internet and newspapers. But in this case, they seem to be sending a warning to three famous actresses.

When Chinese actress Vicky Zhao wore a dress with the pattern of an old Japanese war flag, her fashion sense nearly ended her career. The soap opera star was forced to tearfully apologize to the public for her wardrobe malfunction — otherwise her career might have been destroyed. “I was so naive,” she said. The garment was a deep insult to Chinese nationalists and the many victims of Japanese atrocities during World War II.Now, two of her colleagues have come under the scope of the anti-Japanese firebrands: China’s most famous actress, Ziyi Zhang, and diva Gong Li. Together with Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian of Chinese descent, they are staring in the leading roles in the Hollywood blockbuster “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

The drama, based on the best-selling novel by American author Arthur Golden, depicts, in gorgeous Technicolor detail, the everyday traditions of the Kimono-wearing entertainers in the Japan of the 1930s — a life of cabals, art and courtesanship. But the idea of Chinese women submitting to the lust or passion of Japanese men, even if only on screen, is enough to bring the blood of many modern Chinese to a boil.

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