Apr 26 2023


10:00 am - 11:30 am


Department of Comparative Literature

Department of Comparative Literature

The Reincarnation of Li Xianglan’s Wartime Manchurian Legend in 1950s Hong Kong


Junlin Ma, PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature, HKU


Dr. Linshan Jiang, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University


Professor Nicole Huang, Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Time: 10:00 am Hong Kong Time

Venue: F2F and On Zoom

All are welcome. Registration is required.

This seminar contextualizes and analyzes two Mandarin films in Li Xianglan’s (1920-2014) brief period in 1950s Hong Kong. A former actress, singer, and cultural icon of Manchukuo, Li Xianglan iterated in 1950s Hong Kong as both a reflection of the nostalgia for the prosperous wartime cultural production and a key feature in the narratives and self-justifications of those who came to Hong Kong from Japanese-occupied areas. I argue that her career and stardom reincarnated in 1950s Hong Kong through a deliberate process of adaptation, revision, and rewriting of her 1933-1945 Manchurian story. Through this process, Li Xianglan ensured her reinvented persona adhered to political norms while maintaining its commercial appeal among a postwar audience. Close reading selected works in 1950s Hong Kong, I examine Li Xianglan’s incarnations in and beyond characters and their reliance on the re-narration of wartime Manchukuo. Furthermore, I explore Hong Kong as a site accommodating contested creative and ideological impulses and a renewed cultural sphere sheltering the ongoing reincarnation of the Li Xianglan legend.

Junlin Ma is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese fiction and film, Sinophone studies, and cultural studies. She is currently working on transcultural figures and their literary and cinematic works in 1950s Hong Kong.

For registrants who select Zoom, we will send you the link prior to the event. For registrants who select Face-to-Face (F2F), we will write to you prior to the event with the venue location. There is a limited quota for F2F and we apologise if we are unable to accommodate all requests.

Enquiries: Georgina Challen –

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