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Pornography, Ideology, and the Internet: A Japanese Adult Video Actress in Mainland China

ISBN: 9781498560894


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This book starts from the discussion of a pornography, but does not end with pornography. Rather, it suggests that a pornographic star can be treated as a cultural product which obtains rich cultural meanings. It contributes to the debate between the global homogenization paradigm and the creolization paradigm which predominates in multiple disciplines, through a thorough examination of the entire process of the cross-cultural migration of Aoi Sola, a Japanese adult video (AV) actress who has achieved amazing popularity in mainland China since 2010. Through fifteen-month participant observation inside the two Chinese agencies of Sola, this study reveals that the transformative intermediaries play a significant role in the transformation of the cultural product in the Chinese context, even though their operations are usually invisible to outsiders. The findings challenge the conventional scholarly assumption that foreign products produced by global producers are consumed “directly” by local consumers or that the significance of these intermediaries can be ignored. This study further extends the participant observation inside the realistic field to the virtual space of media in different countries, which can be called the second field. It demonstrates that multiple local groups, including intermediaries, Chinese commercial news portals, Party media, and Chinese Internet users, respond to the dominant ideologies in Chinese society by reinterpreting Sola in different, even contradictory, ways. Thus, this research refutes the presumption that a local society is a coherent monolith in the acceptance of foreign cultural products. The book also deepens the reader’s understanding of Chinese Internet usage.


1. Sola in Japan: An “Ordinary” Girl and “Unordinary” Idol

2. Sola as a Weapon of Resistance for Chinese Internet Users

3. Two Chinese Agencies Repositioning Sola

4. A Case of Promotion: Negotiation between Commercial News Portals and the Two Agencies

5. Sola’s Image Transformation: Becoming a Site of Contestation

6. Sola’s Image Transformation and Chinese Youth’s Identity

7. Sola Going Back to Japan as “the Most Famous Japanese in China”


“An entertaining study with serious research methods, this book is a useful reading of ‘the Aoi Sola phenomenon’ as subculture.”

“Mei Zhang examines an untrodden field—the consumption of Japanese pornographic icons by Chinese internet users as a ‘safe’ weapon of expressing resistance and as a symbol of aspiration.”

“This is an interesting study in which the author treats a pornographic celebrity as a cultural product. Mei Zhang examines the constant push and pull among the efforts of different agents to reimagine the celebrity in China, with unpredictable consequences.”

Product Details

  • Title : Pornography, Ideology, and the Internet: A Japanese Adult Video Actress in Mainland China
  • Author: Mei, Zhang
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • ISBN: 9781498560894

Zhang Mei is assistant professor at the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


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