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The Individual and the War: Re-remembering the Sino-Japanese War in the TV series A Spring River Flows East

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Chapter Summary

The Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 and the politics of Japanese imperialism in China have played a pivotal role in China's modern history. By focusing on the 2005 series A Spring River Flows East (yi jiang chunshui xiang dongliu), which is a remake of the 1947 classic movie of the same-title, this chapter seeks to explore the ways in which history and memory of World War II are constructed in China today. The concentration lies upon China's popular or unofficial constructions of historical narratives and is only partly concerned with the official academic writings on the topic of the war. By the end of the Cultural Revolution, the political situation had changed fundamentally. New domestic and international needs led to new duties to be fulfilled by official Chinese historiography. The concentration on the War could fulfill the aim of re-defining mainland China's relationship to the Guomindang (GMD) on Taiwan.

Keywords: A Spring River Flows East; Chinese historiography; cultural revolution; Guomindang (GMD); Japanese imperialism; Sino-Japanese War; Taiwan; World War II



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