Netflix ninjas and the legacy of the kung fu craze: asiaphilia and asiaphobia in Marvel’s Daredevil

White, Luke (2018) Netflix ninjas and the legacy of the kung fu craze: asiaphilia and asiaphobia in Marvel’s Daredevil. In: 4th Annual Martial Arts Studies Conference: Bruce Lee’s Cultural Legacies, 11-12 Jul 2018, Cardiff University, UK.

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Abstract

The 1970s “kung fu craze” (and, iconically, the Bruce Lee phenomenon) saw American fans take up complex identifications with an Asian ‘other’. For some (e.g. Kato 2007) this pivotal moment in the meeting of East and West entailed the remaking of countercultural identities. For others (Chong 2011) it was a site where the violence of the ‘oriental obscene’ was appropriated to repair American masculinity after the trauma of the Vietnam war.

Since then, Hong-Kong-style action, often incorporating martial arts performance, has become a familiar element of American cinema and television. Martial arts have become especially prominent in the action aesthetics of the recent wave of superhero adaptations. Daredevil, a TV series aired on Netflix in 2015/16, evidences a particularly visible investment in martial arts action scenes.

This paper examines representations of the martial arts within this series – in particular through the figure of the Ninja, who serves as an uncanny double for the hero himself. How does the legacy of the kung fu craze and the ‘encounter with Asia’ play out within this contemporary context? What forms of identification are involved? What does it tell us about the way the martial arts are imagined in the West today?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Bruce Lee, martial arts cinema, martial arts in the media, kung fu, ninjas, Marvel comics, superheroes, otherness, ethnic identity, masculinity
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Diasporas
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Visual Culture and Curating cluster
Item ID: 24689
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Luke White
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 15:14
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 15:14
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/24689

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