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Adieu, Takakura, hope your legacy lives on

By Zhu Ping | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-21 07:38

A bright star has fallen. Gone are the golden years of Japanese films and TV dramas in China with the death of Ken Takakura on Nov 10. The 83-year-old was known for his tough guy image and, despite being a Japanese, gained a "demigod" status among Chinese viewers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It would not be wrong to say he acted as a cultural bridge between China and Japan, when the countries entered their first honeymoon phase since World War II.

Today, the "Korean wave" has caught the imagination of China's young generation, pushing Japanese films and TV dramas into the background. Some attribute the Korean productions' success to their focus on romance as opposed to Japanese TV dramas' serious themes, while others credit the South Korean government's support for the export of cultural products and Japanese companies' complicated IPR procedures for their declining popularity.

Both groups may be right, but both miss the key point. The popularity and obscurity of Japanese films and TV dramas indicate the ups and downs in Sino-Japanese political relations. So, unless Japanese politicians take concrete measures to improve bilateral ties, the declining popularity of Japanese films and TV dramas in China cannot be reversed.

Adieu, Takakura, hope your legacy lives on

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