Difficulties of Hanfu Promotion & the Overseas Advantage

Promotion in Shanghai Yokoso! Japan Fair

Promotion during Shanghai's Yokoso! Japan Fair

From 戊子年上海旅游节汉服展示活动报导(2008/9月21日)in Hanminzu.com:

 

“9月21日,上海旅游节活动的第二天,我们移师主会场–位于静安寺的久光百货,展示我们的汉文化。  

在汉网上海团队之前,先有美少女战士与清 妖的COSPLAY表演(清 妖穿得非常恶心),随后,高雅庄重的”故宫”响起,大家身着各式汉服,缓缓上台,开始介绍汉服汉礼。主持人首先声明我们的团队不是COS,向观众说明了汉服才是中国人的传统服饰,而不是旗装马褂。接着讲起了汉服的起源,并且说到汉服对于日韩等周边国家服饰的影响,当主持人在台上讲到剃发易服,并且谴责这种暴行是反人类反文明的时候,横生变故,已经下台的清 妖一阵骚动,活动主办方突然拉过主持人,要求我们暂停活动。 大汉之风、秋波王等人赶过来与活动负责人交涉,一男子(负责人)声称刚才的宣讲内容牵扯到政治,并称刚接到公安要求叫停的电话。

对话内容如下:
某男子:你们这个活动不能继续了
大汉之风:为甚么?
某男子:你们的活动牵扯到政治了?
大汉之风:这怎么能算政治?这是历史常识。
某男子:这还不算政治阿,我们接到公安的电话了,你们不能继续了。
大汉之风:那我们昨天在淮海公园也是这么说的,也没问题啊。
秋波王:接下来就是汉服形制介绍和汉乐了。
某男子:就这样吧,对不起,不能继续了。

很遗憾,第二天的活动就这样被强行终止了,但我们并没有就此离开,而是依旧在台下,大大方方地向游客路人(其中有很多老外)宣传汉服、汉礼,以及我们的正史,也得到了许多善意的理解与支持!

附签到人员名单

酾酒临江、冰凉梦幻、炎汉苗裔、仕风、月之银狐、临水照花人、扬眉天下、真水优香、杨家四郎、朱雀太子、饶交州、秋波王、周鱼、桃之、泺兮、浮云微醉、步虚仙子(携同学)、冰海桑田、念奴娇、河马皇帝、默默白、大汉之风””

Translation:
“On September 21, the second day of events at Shanghai Travel Festival, we moved to the main venue: Jiuguang Department Store at Jing’an Temple, to give a presentation on Han culture.

In front of the Hanminzu.com Shanghai team, were a Sailor Moon and Qing-devil [sic] cosplay performance (the Qing-devils [sic] were utterly disgusting), and after that,
the elegant sounds of the song Gugong (Former Palace) flare up, and we ascend to the stage, wearing various styles of Hanfu. We began to introduce various styles of Hanfu and Han ritual,
and our host first gave a statement that the team is not cosplaying, but to explain to the audience that Hanfu is the true traditional clothing style of the Chinese people, and not Qipao (Robes of the Banner people) and Magua. Following was explanation of the origins of Hanfu, and gave mention on Hanfu’s influence to peripheral countries such as Japan and Korea. When the host explained the Queue Order, and denounced such an act as an anti-civil barbarism, an unexpected change occurred, and the Qing-devils [sic] downstage were causing a ruckus, and the venue host pulled our host over, requesting that we terminate our program immediately.
Dahanzhifeng (netname), Qiubowang (netname) and others rushed over to negotiate with the liason, who claimed that the speech just then involved sensitive political themes, and has received a telephone call from the Gong’an (Police) to pull the stops.

The conversation was as follows:
Man: Your events cannot continue.
Dahanzhifeng (DH): Why not?
Man: Your event has gotten political?
DH: How can this be political? This is common historical fact!
Man: How can this not be political, we’ve already received a call from the Police, you guys can’t go on.
DH: We said the same thing at the event in Huaihai Park yesterday, and we didn’t get any problems.
Qiubowang: And next, we will be introducing Han-style clothes’ standard forms and Han Chinese music.
Man: That’s all. Sorry, you cannot continue.

Regretfully, the events for the second day were forcefully terminated, but we did not just leave then, but continued to promote to passersby downstage on Hanfu and Han mannerisms, as well as our history, to which we have much concensus and support!

Members Present: (Translation skipped)

(Press Read more to read reflections by the event host, and comments by blog writer)

Posted later on is the reflection of the host for the day:

本次活动,个人的若干反省

  ——扬眉天下

 本次活动尽管有清 妖的挑衅、主办方的不作为,但为了追求以后刚好的活动效果,还是应该从自身寻找原因。

 首先,作为主持人,在下的确准备不充分,今后除了多准备多思考,也要向东海瀛洲前辈与曾德刚前辈学习主持的技巧。

 其次,第一时间看到清 妖挑衅的在下,没有控制住情绪,大讲特讲剃发易服反人类反文明的暴行,因而也激发了清 妖更嚣张的行为……

 再次,有关剃发易服的内容,比较适合放在后半部分解说,这样即便是取消活动,我们的损失也不会很大……

 最后,剃发易服也好,其他民族思想也罢,每次活动一定要讲,不要瞻前顾后,如果宣讲内容,并不为新人与外人所接受,那也只能说明宣传方式存在问题,应该以此为鉴,在以后的活动中,更完善地阐述清楚。

 这应该是上海的活动第一次因为清 妖的原因而夭折吧,这次的活动,暴露了在下的不成熟与缺乏经验。然而,面对挫折,东北、北京的同胞们都没有绝望,我们就更应该毫不退缩地继续战斗下去!

 本次活动,己方的主要责任在我,在此,向汉网的各位朋友一揖到体……

 决不放弃!因为在下心中,有天地炎黄!更何况,还有如此多的同胞与我共同努力!

战斗!

 

 

 

 

Translation: Several Personal Reflections -Yangmei Tianxia (netname), Shanghai Hanfu promotion events host

 

Although in this event, there were interventions by the Qing-devils[sic], as well as the incompetance of the venue, but for the improvement of future promotions’ effect, one should look to oneself for the reasons.

First, as a host, I have indeed not prepared enough. Aside from preparing more and thinking more, I should also learn from Donghaiyingzhou (netname) and Zeng Degang (netname, moderator of Hanminzu.com) in event-hosting skills.

Next, upon seeing the taunts of the Qing-devils[sic] I have not controlled my emotions and emphasized on the inhumanity of the Queue Order, has only stimulated them into even more uncontrolled behaviour…

Furthermore, content regarding the Queue Order should fall to the latter half of the show. That way, even if the event is cancelled, our losses wouldn’t be as great…

Finally, whether it be the Queue Order, or racial ideologies whatsoever, every event must make mention of it, without preconcern. If the contents are not accepted by new or foreign ears, it can only say that our promotion approach has problems, and learn from it. I hope that in our future events, we are able to explain it more thuroughly.

This should be the first time for an event in Shanghai to get stopped by the Qing-devils[sic], and from this event, has exposed my immaturity and lack of experience. But to this setback, our comrades in the Northeast and Beijing have not despaired, and we by no means should step back, and fight on!

I take the main responsibility to this event. To this, I bow myself to my friends here at Hanminzu.com…

Never give up, for in my heart, there is justice in the Heaven and the Earth, Yan and Huang (sage-kings)! And furthermore, this many comrades working together for this common goal!

Fight on!

***

Now a few cents from me.

This is just one of many examples of what kind of censorship a person can receive in China, when talking about even just history. From 400 years ago. We know that China has issues with freedom of speech, but to censor on historical fact? Well. Despite the fact that the world beyond the Chinese mainland (yes, that includes Hong Kong and Macau SARs), the “Chinese diaspora” who grew up in the 20th century are no less familiar with Chinese culture with the Hanfu image – It’s not like our documentaries of history and our artwork and martial arts fiction all got censored out by replacing what they wear with Qipao, is it now?
Yet, there is a disconnect, as well as a taboo – one that is causing not the people advocating for Manchurian race discourse, but Han Chinese themselves to be afraid of putting their traditional clothes back on. If we dare to put them back on and start finding out why we lost it…well, there’s our example right above.

But that is not our point.

Hanfu promotion is a movement that is synonymous worldwide – a search at Hanfu in Facebook alone generates 4 significant groups, with members from institutions worldwide – and they are not just comprised of Chinese people alone. While that may not mean much, but from my experiences and collection of past events one answer is clear: The point of promotion is to gather and mobilize similar-minded people into a cause, and the place where we can find them is in the West, where people study the Chinese past and present much more objectively than themselves.

Too often I have to mention in the promotions of Hanfu that the term refers to the clothing (fu, 服) of the “Han Chinese people (hanzu, 漢族)”, traditionally known as “the descendents of Huaxia (華夏子孫)”. However, whether it comes to newcomers unfamiliar with the term, ignorant people who insist on the Manchurian culture representing all of China, or even internally in the movement, a debate over temporality of the concept flares up, when it should not be.

In China (as well existant in the minds of overseas students who stay connected via the Internet), the debate persists as to ‘what standards should be taken for Hanfu’, with the pretext of this being that over the past 4,500 years of history the design of the clothing has much changed. It seems as if the degree of the change is so large that the clothing between the earliest fragments of our historical records are nothing like the scholar’s robes we find around 1644 – are the elements of cross y-shaped collar (jiaoling youren 交領右衽), loose sleeves and well-hemmed (shuangbian xiuju 鑲邊袖踞) but a fabrication but at the very end? As of this moment, netizens debate over what should and should not be revived, based on period classification, on grounds of convenience or their subjective renditions of historical truth and justice. What they could not escape, however, is the ontic level of logic that only one of the (x amount) can be allowed to exist in our world. Being raised in a society that respects tradition by tracing its geneology to the proper roots, allowing constructive criticism to innovations and renaissances, and accepting diversity is a prerequisite to not just exist peacefully, but simply to survive in our postmodern, capitalistic world.

Let the market demand decide for itself what style is to be taken, provided the basic context of Hanfu design is there. However, I maintain my opinion that now is not the time to design a new style – not when even the tradition is unrecognized by the Chinese people themselves. At this early stage, let the hundred flowers bloom, and styles from all of Chinese history come out, find the nominal denominator among that, and go on from there. Let the confusion and existance of diversity in our era be celebrated as a feature that marks our time!

But lest this era stay the same forever.

Due to this discussion on Chinese censorship and internal/external conflict, I will discuss more on the more constructive contributions and failed attempts at a later date.

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. charlesrupertdomeki
    Sep 26, 2008 @ 16:20:54

    The main problem with the whole Hanfu movement here is that there is too much ‘Qing-bashing’ going on and historical fact or not, it has happen long enough that it is no longer of importance to modern society. The public will feel that those of the Hanfu movement have deluded themselves into some ancient grudge that is not relevant in this day and age (and in some senses unacceptable). It is no wonder the public sees the whole thing with suspicion and thinks the whole thing sinister. Frankly, no matter how much one goes on about things that happened 400, 800, 1000+ years ago, the fact remains that no one except those advocates would care (prime example is the English Reformation, Gunpowder Plot, etc; everyone acknowledges them but they are history and things are different this day and age).

    People should not have to taken on certain ideas because of ancient grudges, they only take these ideas if they benefit society as a whole for the future. One can use old history to aid the idea but it cannot be a sole foundation of it, especially as one so weak that the whole thing will come tumbling down.

    I must admit the above speeches and exchanges at the event is bordering on Chinese Facism and one can almost draw conclusions with what the Nazis said about the Ayran race and how they thought other races where responsible for x, y and z (and a modern example would be the likes of the BNP). It is this attitude and approach which shocks people and draws them away from what potentially is a worthy cause to preserve culture, but instead now some massive nationalistic flag waving and slogan screaming ulterior motive revolution. No, after the Cult Revo and the headaches of the past century, no one wants to return to that place again, ever. Thus, this obsession with the Qing queue order maybe a valid fact, but the fallacy lies in its over-emphasis and total disregard for modernity.

    On the subject of whether it is a political question, I would say it isn’t, however, it is racial one by the tone of some of the things I’ve seen and heard. Logically, we can all dress in Hanfu and no one can stop us to do so otherwise, but to assume such dress in order to undermine the status quo in a questionable stance is pushing it a bit. Seriously, the whole movement is in danger of putting itself into disrepute by not engaging in the issues of modernity but rather retreating to old documents which are at best pass their use by dates. You cannot win the public over by angering them to a long dead cause (which died after 1911), you can only win by persuading them that Hanfu is worthwhile today, not merely because of decsions made a couple of centuries ago. And as always, dress is dictated by everyday custom and tradition, not by sumptuary or non-sumptuary laws.

    Reply

  2. ts
    Oct 07, 2008 @ 17:28:25

    I’m a great fan of Hanfu and hope for its revival throughout China.
    However, I am deeply bothered by some of the Han chauvinists contempt toward other ethnic groups, and use of inflammatory terms like ‘Qing-devils’ That is a sure-fire method of self-sabotaging the hanfu revival. Within a country that emphasizes unity of its 56 minorities, Hanfu militants need a marketing strategy without offensive hate words.

    Reply

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