Hybrid Cultures Essay
The ease of travel and almost universal access to the information superhighway facilitates the massive cultural exchange that goes on in the world today. In 2005, Kwai-Cheung Lo had written extensively on the exportation of Hong Kong popular culture and its strange relationship to China. Hong Kong could be considered one of the best modern examples of a hybrid culture. Settled by the British for 150 years before its transfer back to China in 1997, Hong Kong bears much similarity to the West in terms of economic development and commerce.
Its culture, however, is quite different from the mainland and reconciling the two by expanding the definition of what it means to be Chinese is necessary as HK becomes less an independent entity and more of a Chinese protectorate. Today, the vast storehouse of popular culture proves that the sharp lines between different nations are thinning with martial arts films, anime, and panda bears occupy the same space as Western action movies, McDonalds, and pop music. Massive immigration from third world countries to the West, coupled with Western business people consulting with Asian companies contributes to the growing cultural exchange.
The Disney phenomenon is a good example of this. Starting as a small theme park in Anaheim, CA, the company had developed parks in Florida, Paris, and Japan. Yet, the Japanese are determined to retain elements of their native culture even as they embrace an American business concept. When sociologists compared the American Disneyland with the Japanese version, they found many similarities and differences. For example, “Jungle Cruise is arguably the most American. It is a traditional Disney ride that has changed little over the years.
TDL (Tokyo Disneyland) has kept the design and narrative of Jungle Cruise while modifying its spiel. Cinderella’s Castle Mystery Tour in contrast is unique to TDL. It is a story of Disney heroes and villains written for and told by the Japanese”(p. 32).
References Luo, K. C. (2005). Chinese Face/Off: The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong. University of Illinois Press Raz, A. E. (1999). Riding the Black Ship: Japan and Tokyo Disneyland. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center