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By M. T. Kato

Explores the progressive capability of Bruce Lee and hip hop tradition within the context of antiglobalization struggles and transnational capitalism.

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Additional info for From Kung Fu to Hip Hop: Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture

Sample text

Furthermore, the structural relationship between Chen Zhen and a diverse segment of the Shanghai masses corresponds to the constitution of the May Fourth movement and also the May Thirtieth movement, which emerged in Shanghai in 1925. 88 Thus the youthfulness of Chen Zhen and the direct action he is engaged in conjure up the students as a vanguard of the movement, and the support of Shanghai masses for Chen Zhen corresponds to the mass base. , inclusion of the social context outside the world of martial arts) and Lee’s performance with its high emotive power.

The superiority of The One Armed Swordsman, therefore, is derived from the toil, perseverance, respect for the traditional wisdom embodied in the scroll, and support of loved ones. It is the real, not the mythology, that endows the narrative. In other words, The One Armed Swordsman reflects the life, history, and social relationships of the common people. 34 Prevailing Asian popular sentiment therefore urged the Hong Kong film industry to delineate its kung fu identity much more clearly as an independent vernacular image against the current of samurai aesthetics.

This symbolically charged scene contests the mythology of Japanese imperialism with dramatic effect, while offering the audience a politically empowering narrative of popular defense and liberation. Most of Lee’s decolonizing kinetic narratives, however, convey more philosophical implications than the overt political symbolism laid out in the battle scene with the Japanese sword. They in fact cover a wide range of subject matters: Tao, Nature, self-expression, ontology, and freedom. It is this general mode, more or less in an abstract form, that comes face to face with the totality of the historical and social experience of a particular time, in this case the dawn of the age of globalization in Asia.

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