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[The  integration  of  Chinese  and   American  Cultures  in  Kung  Fu   Panda]       [Writing  Sample  1]     Ruimeng  Yang   [20 October 2013]  

 


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Ruimeng Yang 20 October 2013

The Integration of Chinese and American Cultures in Kung Fu Panda

I. INTRODUCTION TO KUNG FU PANDA Kung Fu Panda has become a popular phrase in recent years. Back in 2008, Kung Fu Panda achieved an unprecedented success across the world. It attracted the attention of global audiences by its extensive use of Chinese elements. The director John Stevenson himself is a fan of Chinese culture and kung fu and he said Kung Fu Panda is a love letter dedicated to China. However, beneath the obvious Chinese appearance, there embedded the profound American values which remain as the eternal theme of all Hollywood movies. The story is about a lovely panda named Po. Growing up in a noodle shop run by his father, Po is supposed to inherit the shop and to be a cook like all his ancestors. However, his real passion is for kung fu. As a kung fu fanatic, he dreams of fighting next to his idols the Furious Five – Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Mantis, and Viper – five kung fu masters trained by Master Shifu to guard their home – the Valley of Peace. One day, Po became Dragon Warrior because of a mistake. After this, he has responsibility protect peace of Valley of Peace even kung fu.

 


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II. TRADITIONAL CHINESEN IN KUNG FU PANDA A. Chinese Characterization The originality of the characterization in Kung Fu Panda is one of the key factors that make the film so special and attractive. The story is set in the ancient China. In this fictitious Valley of Peace, citizens are various kinds of animals with distinctive personalized features. At first glance they are all of Chinese traits, wearing traditional Chinese costume; eating Chinese food; living in traditional Chinese houses…. In this section, the author only focuses on a general analysis of the major characters according to their Chinese features as more detailed explanations and illustrations are distributed across the paper. The Furious Five is a team of skilled kung fu warriors consisting of Tigress, Crane, Viper, Monkey, and Mantis. The director is ingenious in creating these characters as they are in correspondence with the Tiger, Crane, Snake, Monkey, and Praying Mantis styles of Chinese martial arts. Dramatically, Po’s father Mr. Ping is a duck. Like most traditional Chinese parents, he is conservative, hoping that his son will continue to operate the noodle shop which is passed down by their ancestors. He does not understand Po’s passion for kung fu and believes his son will follow in his footsteps to become a cook. Traditional Chinese symbols 1.Kung Fu Chinese kung fu (or martial arts), with a history of several millennia, has form a

 


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splendid part of the Chinese culture and is a part of the nation’s spirit. Not only Chinese people love their kung fu, many foreigners are also crazy about it. During its long history, kung fu was banned and suppressed by some rulers. In spite of that, it has thrived in both home and abroad instead of dying out which demonstrates the strong attraction and vitality of Chinese kung fu. The present kung fu of different schools and styles embodies the wisdom and culture of all the ethnic groups in China throughout history. The fight scenes are elaborate and amazing. The characters are capable of all kinds of incredible kung fu feats: leaping to the roof; climbing along walls; soaring from one building to another; engaging in aerial combat and so on. You can tell that the filmmakers must know classic Chinese kung fu films like the palm of their hands for many gestures and motions can find their archetype in the films of Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, etc. For example, when a fight starts, Po shouts “Hai-ya!” which is a typical sound made by Bruce Lee during a fight; the impressive scene that Po and Shifu fight for dumplings using chopsticks as their weapon can be found in many Jackie Chan’s films; the final duel between Po and Tai Lung is an exact imitation of Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu, in which characters rush into the sky beyond one’s vision, or hit the ground so hard that crack the ground and leave a huge hole on it. The scenes that the characters are leaping to the roof, soaring from one building to another, engaging each other in aerial combat, and waving bamboos during the fight also remind me of a famous Oscar winning film Crouching Tiger and

 


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Hidden Dragon in which the fighting scenes are really marvelous and classical. 2.Drago In Chinese mythologies, dragons are credited with miraculous power, which enables them to govern rainfalls and control floods. The ancient Chinese worshiped the dragon as they believed that it was the incarnation of their ancestor. Still now, the Chinese often proudly call themselves “the descendents of the dragon.” Dragon used to be a symbol of the Chinese emperor, thus the emperor’s bed was called “the dragon bed”, the throne was called “the dragon seat”, and his dress was called “the dragon robe”. In this sense, the dragon stands for power and status. In China, dragons are deeply rooted with a commendatory sense and positive connotations. This can be demonstrated by many Chinese idioms related to dragons. To most Chinese, they symbolize authority, auspiciousness, talent, and preciousness, as well as the Chinese nation. In Kung Fu Panda, the Dragon Warrior and the Dragon Scroll serve as two main clues of the film. The Dragon Warrior is supposed to be someone who has a high level of mastery in kung fu and is destined to defeat the villain Tai Lung. The Dragon Scroll is said to hold the secret to limitless power, only with which can the Dragon Warrior succeed. “Dragon” is used here to imply and emphasize the importance and sacredness of the two. Besides, the images of dragon appear many times in the film. Dragon patterns are on the Sword of Heroes and the back of Oogway’s robe; pairs of golden dragon statues crouching outside the Jade Palace; dragon paintings on the

 


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ceiling of the palace; dragon carvings on beams and pillars; dragon heads on the roof of a temple, etc. The dragon is not only a kind of decoration, but it has already penetrated into many aspects of the life in the Valley of Peace. Dragons in the film are not merely decoration. In fact, the dragon culture and spirit has been deeply rooted in people’s heart. 3.Tai Chi Diagram

Tai Chi diagram

is a well-known Chinese symbol. Tai Chi is

commonly translated as “the Supreme Ultimate”. The term “Tai Chi” first appeared in The Book of Changes, also known as I Ching, which is the greatest foundation of Chinese philosophy. According to the book, Tai Chi refers to the originator of everything. Later in the Northern Song Dynasty, a neo-Confucian philosopher named Zhou Dunyi (1017–1073) created the original Tai Chi diagram in his book Explanation of the Diagram of Tai Chi. As you see, the classic Tai Chi diagram consists of a circle which is divided into two equal and symmetrical halves – one white and the other black – by a reversed S-shaped curved line. Within each half there is a smaller circle of the opposite color. In terms of Taoist cosmology, the circle represents the eternal wholeness, while the black and white parts within it represent Yin and Yang respectively. It looks as if Yang is rising on the left and Yin is descending on the right, showing an endless movement. Each part contains a circle of the opposite color indicates that Yin exists in Yang and Yang exists in Yin. There is no separate Yin without Yang or Yang without Yin. The two forces are  


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interconnected and interdependent. They are in a continuous transformation and their interaction is fundamental to the creation of all things. 3.Traditional Chinese Philosophy and Beliefs The director’s employment of Chinese elements in the film is not just stay on the surface, but he also gives a full interpretation of the underlying connotations of Chinese culture. With the ancient Chinese philosophy and beliefs tactfully woven into the story, the film thus seems much more profound and far-reaching. 4.Taoism In Kung Fu Panda, Shi fu is often seen playing Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Chuan is viewed as the manifestation of the principles of Yin and Yang applied to the human body. It is a kind of kung fu that emphasizes the soft overcoming the hard. Most of its movements are based on circles, just in conformity with the principles demonstrated in the Tai Chi diagram. Today, a growing number of people have recognized the benefit of Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi is becoming the most widely practiced kung fu in the world. Besides Yin and Yang, other beliefs and teachings of Taoism are also reflected in the film, some supplementary analyses are presented in this part. Naturalness and non-action are two major themes of Taoist philosophy (Ye Lang&Zhu Liangzhi, 2010). Naturalness refers to a state of being what it is, an attitude of complying with nature and its law. Taoism emphasizes that all things in the universe have their own way of existence and development: fish live in the water; birds fly in the sky; the sun rises and sets; flowers bloom and fall… All these

 


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phenomena are inevitable and independent of man’s will, thus humans should try nothing to change the course of nature. In the film, Master Oogway repeatedly maintains that there are no accidents, and it is the universe that has brought the Dragon Warrior. The conversation between Oogway and Shifu under the peach tree is a classic interpretation of naturalness: Oogway: “Look at this tree, Shifu. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me. Nor make it bear fruit before it’s time.” Shifu: “But there are things we can control. I can control when the fruit will fall. I can control where to plant the seed.”Oogway: “Ah...yes, but no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange. But you will get a peach.” What Oogway says is just in accordance with the Chinese saying of “As a man sows, so he shall reap.” By saying that, Oogway intends to persuade Shifu to follow the order of nature. 5.Confucianism Confucianism was founded by Confucius, a great thinker, philosopher and educator in the Spring and Autumn Period, and then developed by Mencius and Xun zi. Confucius’ words and acts were recorded by his disciples in the Analects, which is considered as the classic work of Confucianism. Confucianism is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese culture. For thousands of years, it has exerted great influences on Chinese lifestyle and social consciousness. Confucianism emphasizes humanity, virtue and ethics which is represented in

 


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the two core concepts of Confucius’ doctrine – ren and li. Ren is literally translated as benevolence, and it is one of the basic virtues promoted by Confucius. Confucius believed that ren was the ultimate guide to human behavior and all people should act according to the principles of ren. Li can be translated into rituals, rites or etiquette in social life. Li defines how things should be done. Only by observing li, can social stability, order and harmony be achieved (ibid). Today, the Confucian teachings still hold true for humankind. The spirit of ren is manifested throughout the film. All kung fu masters in the Valley of Peace are willing to contribute or even sacrifice for the sake of the people. They are motivated by their concern for the safety of all citizens. In the meantime, the love between Po and his father, Oogway and Po, and between the Furious Five and Shifu gives a perfect explanation of the essence of ren, namely to love one’s parents, love the people, and love everything in the world. Confucius’ educational thought of “education without discrimination” is well displayed in the film. Before chosen as the Dragon Warrior, Po was nobody but a fat clumsy panda who was expected to be a cook and knew little about kung fu. Training him into a kung fu master sounds very ridiculous to others. However, Master Oogway never gives up on him and keeps encouraging him to believe himself. Shifu also accepts Po as his disciple and treats him the same way as he treats other disciples.

Ⅳ. INTERGRATION OF CHINESE AND CULTURES In this chapter, the focus is put on the analysis of and comparison between

 


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Chinese and American cultural patterns manifested in Kung Fu Panda according to those theories concerned. A. High Context and Low Context 1.American Direct Communication and Chinese Indirect Communication From our previous discussion, we know that people from low-context cultures are familiar with a very direct way of communication, while members of high-context cultures tend to use a more indirect way of communication. In the following part, the author attempts to identify the differences between Chinese and American communication styles based on Hall’s high-context and low-context theory. Meanwhile, she will try to explain how these two distinct communication styles interact and interweave with each other in the film of Kung Fu Panda. Direct communication is a communication style which involves transmitting information mainly through verbal messages that contain speakers’ true feelings or intentions. It emphasizes speakers’ ability to get their meanings across. Thus direct communication requires a clear, unambiguous and explicit description. Indirect communication, in contrast, is a communication style by which information and meanings are concealed in words as well as the context of a conversation. In indirect communication, listeners must capture the nonverbal message and use it to infer the speakers’ intentions and meanings accurately. The degree to which a culture values direct communication or indirect communication reflects many of the deep structure values of a culture. In the United

 


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States, a country of low-context culture, people call for a direct way of speaking. Americans are expected to make frank, precise, and straightforward expressions so as to avoid vagueness and ambiguity. If that means saying “no”, they will say “no” without hesitation (Samovar and Porter 2009: 176). The dominant American temper is to get straight to the point which expresses itself in such common injunctions as “Say what you mean,” “Don’t beat around the bush,” and “Get down to business.” In addition, Americans’ tendency to value precision can be demonstrated by their preference to employ such categorical words as “absolutely”,“certainty”, and “positively” (R. Okabe 1983: 34). In comparison with Americans’ direct style of communication, the Chinese, living in a high-context culture, afford much room for the cultivation of ambiguity. In most cases, the Chinese limit themselves to implicit, subdued and ambiguous verbal expressions. They often use qualifiers such as “maybe”, “perhaps”, “probably”, and “somewhat” so as not to leave an impression of assertiveness (ibid: 34). They may view the direct and blunt American way of speaking as impolite and disrespectful which may result in embarrassment and injured feelings. The virtue of indirectness was appreciated by Buddha when he advised his disciples to avoid “harsh speech”. And the negative consequence of directness is reflected in a Chinese proverb which states, “Once an arrow leaves the bow it cannot be retrieved.” (Samovar and Porter 2009: 176) In the film, Po is so crazy about kung fu that he has a dream in which he

 


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becomes a kung fu master and fights next to the Furious Five to punish the evil. However, when his father asks him “What were you dreaming about?” He hesitates to tell because he knows too well that his father strongly expects him to be a cook and take over the noodle shop which has been passed down from their ancestors. In order not to let his father down, Po has to lie to his father that he was dreaming about noodles. His father can’t believe his ears and asks, “Noodles? You were really dreaming about noodles?” Po answers with a feeling of guilt, “Uh.... Yeah, what else would I be dreaming about?” In this way, Po pleases his father by telling a white lie. In general, speakers from low-context cultures are encouraged to separate the issue from the person, sometimes however, at the cost of personal relationships. By contrast, speakers from high-context cultures hold a holistic attitude toward communication. They tend to see the person and the issue as a whole which means if you attack the issue, you are assumed to be attacking the person which may create tension in interpersonal relationships. Such perceived consequences, in the view of high-context cultural members, can be avoided through indirect language. Unlike low-context communication which emphasizes the importance of promoting speakers’ individuality, high-context communication features a holistic approach to speech. Verbal messages are only part of the total communication context and primarily serve to facilitate face-saving and help enhance social harmony. Listeners are expected to possess the sensitivity to subtle and implicit contextual cues and to be able to read between the lines or decode messages from a holistic perspective.

 


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2. Nonverbal Communication The importance of verbal messages in interpersonal communication appears to be universally acknowledged. It is especially true in low-context cultures such as the United States where clear and explicit expressions are highly valued. That’s why Americans are often perceived as eloquent and talkative. In low-context cultures, people learn the meaning of others’ behaviors from the verbal messages that are plainly coded. For example, Americans depend more on verbal communication than on nonverbal behavior to transmit messages. They think it is important to be able to “speak up” and “say what’s on their mind.” Therefore, people who have a moderately large vocabulary and outstanding speech skills are highly admired. This can also be illustrated in the fact that most successful people in the United States turn out to be excellent orators. Despite the importance of verbal communication, we should never underestimate the power of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is another indispensable part of the overall communication process. People from high-context cultures like Chinese are particularly affected by the context provided by non-verbal communication. Thus, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, movements, and other subtle indicators are likely to be perceived by people from high-context cultures. Oogway is a master of indirect language and nonverbal communication. When Shifu arrives at the Sacred Hall of Warriors at the call of Master Oogway, he has a conversation with Oogway like this:

 


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“Master Oogway, you summoned me? Is something wrong?” asked by Shifu. “Why must something be wrong for me to want to see my old friend?” Oogway slowly climbs down from his stick and says peacefully. “So, nothing is wrong?” Shifu is rather confused. “Well, I didn't say that.” Oogway significantly answers. Instead of providing a direct answer, Oogway gives Shifu a meaningful look and moves towards the lighted candles which form a large circle and tries to blow them with his mouth. He tries several times but fails. Shifu, however, is suddenly inspired by Oogway’s behavior. With a wave of his hand, Shifu extinguishes all the candles. He realizes that something terrible must have happened. As the room gets dark, Oogway tells about his vision that Tai Lung will escape from the jail. Shifu is quite shocked and asks Oogway the way to stop Tai Lung. Again, Oogway doesn’t answer directly. He stirs the water in a pool with his stick, and says, “Your mind is like this water my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.” The water then reflects the Dragon Scroll on the ceiling which makes Shifu understand the key to defeat Tai Lung. In a high-context culture such as that of China, meanings are internalized and there is a large emphasis on nonverbal messages or messages with fewer words. It is common for speakers from high-context cultures to use understatement, or provide the least amount of information that allows listeners to infer their meaning and intensions, and use pauses and silence. Since the American style of interaction

 


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highlights the use of exaggeration and animation, Americans are not comfortable with pauses and silences which they believe would cut short the conversation and disappoint people engaged. For Chinese and other people from a high-context culture, however, silence is not just the void in conversation, but a communicative behavior which may indicate truthfulness, discretion, disapproval, embarrassment, and defiance (Gudykunst and Kim 2007: 71). For example, after the unbearable training, Po is all black and blue. But out of his optimistic personality, he says with a smile, “I know Master Shifu is trying to inspire me and all. But if I didn’t know him better I’ll say he’s trying to get rid of me.” Then he looks at Viper and Mantis, expecting a positive response. However, Instead of affirming Po’s thought, Viper and Mantis exchange a glance. After a moment of silence, they say nothing but just give Po an awkward smile. This behavior discourages Po for he realizes that contrary to what he thought, Shifu really wants to make him quit by torturous training. More often than not, the Chinese value silence and see it as a virtue. They believe that silence often transmits more information than words, and that people who speak a little are more trustworthy than those who speak a lot, as demonstrated by a well-known saying that states “speech is silver, but silence is gold.” B. Hierarchy and Egalitarianism 1.American Egalitarian Culture and Chinese Hierarchical Culture As we have identified earlier, power distance is a potential source of hierarchy. Hierarchical and egalitarian tendencies exist in all cultures, but one tends to

 


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predominate. Using a broad classification scale, low power-distance cultures can generally be categorized as egalitarian, with little concern for social differences; high power-distance cultures can be categorized as hierarchical, where significant emphasis is placed on status and rank. Egalitarianism is characterized by informal interaction between subordinates and superiors, minimizing the expectation or need for deference and formality. In an egalitarian culture, a person’s status is usually acquired through individual effort, rather than ascribed by birth, appointment, or age (Samovar & Porter 2009: 235). This facilitates the belief that everyone has the opportunity to improve their social status. The United States is regarded as a highly egalitarian culture. The country was founded on the principle that “all men are created equal.” Equality can be observed in every aspect of its society from government to social relationships. Most Americans believe that all people should be given an equal opportunity to succeed and they place little emphasis on social status and power. This may partly results from the U.S. frontier heritage, when early immigrants were forced to rely on hard work to survive and get rich. In the face of the wild landscape and hash conditions, the rigid social formality and protocols prevalent in Europe at that time proved to be useless and were soon abandoned. Moreover, people resented the privileged aristocracy and being deprived of equal rights. That’s why they added “equality” and “procedural justice” into the U.S. Constitution. The value of equality then began to take shape and continues to this day. In the United States, you can often see authority questioned or

 


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challenged, be it in a classroom, a staff meeting, or a presidential press conference. Another manifestation of an egalitarian society is the use of first names rather than titles. Besides, individuals are assigned to positions of increased responsibility based on their ability, rather than age or longevity with the organization. The hierarchical tradition of China is influenced by Confucian philosophy. Confucianism provides a rigid, hierarchical social structure and defines the formal relations between seniors and juniors. The general deference to people in authority and to people of higher positions is an example of hierarchy. For example, teachers and elders receive the utmost respect, and what they say are beyond dispute and cannot be questioned. The hierarchy nature of Chinese society also expresses itself in the extensive use of formal language and titles to identify people and their positions in the social structure. 2.Switchover between Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in the Film In the film, the Chinese culture of hierarchy is vividly displayed. Master Oogway is the eldest figure in the valley, and the creator of kung fu. He has been treated with great honor and high reverence by all villages, and regarded as the symbol of authority. His lofty status can be indicated by the fact that he is the only one who has the right to decide who can be the Dragon Warrior, and no one is supposed to doubt his decision. Even Shifu, the master of the Furious Five, shows his greatest respect for Oogway. In the beginning of the film, Shifu rushes to the Jade Palace as soon as he is told that Oogway wants to see him. He was out of breath when

 


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he arrives, however, he soon calms himself down and never forgets to salute Oogway with a formal bow and then says humbly, “Master Oogway, you summoned me? Is something wrong?” Actually, as we can find out later, Shifu is always at Oogway’s beck and call and he never questions Oogway’s authority. Although at first Shifu does not agree with Oogway on his decision of making Po as the Dragon Warrior, he till promises Oogway that he will train Po. In fact, his deference to Oogway is not something new. Several years ago, when Shifu took Tai Lung, the disciple who he treated as his own son, to meet Oogway, hoping that Oogway would appoint Tai Lung as the Dragon Warrior, Oogway refused as he saw darkness in Tai Lung’s heart. Shifu, as much as he loved Tai Lung, tried nothing to defend him. Later when Tai Lung blames him for his weakness, Shifu says, “Obeying your master is not weakness! ... It was never my decision to make!” To Shifu, whatever Oogway says should be received as an order which he must obey. On the other hand, however, we can also observe something that is away from the hierarchical structure found in China. Although Oogway is of the highest status in the Valley of Peace, he does not appear as a serious or arrogant guy. We have mentioned just now that Shifu addresses him formally as “Master Oogway”, but surprisingly enough, Oogway calls Shifu “my old friend”. In China, this can hardly happen because in a hierarchical society, people of high status are supposed to maintain a grave and dignified bearing so as to show their authority. Oogway, however, is quite approachable. From our previous discussion, we find that this is

 


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consistent with the egalitarian culture of the United States where equality is emphasized. At the meantime, egalitarianism is best illustrated in Po. Unlike the Furious Five who revere Shifu in every possible way, Po dares to make fun of him by imitating him in a hilarious way. Also, having been stopped by Shifu from quitting, Po can no longer swallow his displeasure. He shouts, “You don’t believe that! Oh! You never believed that. From the first moment I got here, you’ve been trying to get rid of me.” He looks at Shifu right in his eyes and keeps questioning Shifu, “How are you going to change this into the Dragon Warrior? … Hah? How? How? How?” He raises his voice and Shifu seems to lose his ground. There is another scene that shows the equal relationship between Po and Shifu. In view of Po’s great progress, Shifu praises him when he says, “You have done well.” Instead of being humble like most Chinese, Po answers, “Done well? Done well! I have done awesome!” Along with that, he bumps Shifu with his big belly. The seemingly offensive behavior doesn’t anger Shifu. “The mark of a true hero is humility. But yes, you have done, awesome.” Shifu says, giving Po a jocular prod with his finger. Then they look at each other and smile. The two are more like friends rather than master and disciple. After Po defeats Tai Lung, the Furious Five, though more senior, bow to him and respectfully call him “Master”, and all citizens follow their suit. Even Shifu says “thank you” four times to Po for bringing back peace to the valley and to him. Po’s transition from nobody to a respectable hero once again proves that in an egalitarian society, everyone has the equal opportunity to improve his/her position in life.

 


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3.Chinese Formality and American Informality The concept of formality and informality is another aspect related to power distance. It sets the tone for the role relationships in different cultures. As you would suspect, the degree of formality varies a great deal between hierarchical and egalitarian societies. The manifestations of informality and formality take many forms including the way people dress, their posture, how someone is addressed, and even the type of speech used. Grounded in a strong tradition of hierarchy, China has long been considered a highly formal culture. In China, there are levels of formality attached to status as well as age differences. Formality in role relationships is reflected in a host of ways. For instance, students are taught to stand up when the teacher enters the classroom. Formal communication is demanded when juniors speak to seniors. Polite and even self-depreciatory words and phrases are often employed to indicate the hierarchical relationships. Formality is also evident in how the Chinese use forms of address to identify people and their positions in the social structure. In order to show respect, young people or people lower in the hierarchy often use titles after family names when addressing their elders or superiors. Using first names to address is only reserved for family members or close friends. In contrast to the high degree of formality found in China, the United States places a high value on informality. For hundreds of years, Americans have strived to create a classless and egalitarian society. The idea of equality is taken for granted and

 


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is deeply rooted in the American culture. The great majority of American people prefer to associate themselves with the middle-class group, the biggest group in American society. They believe that members of this group are equal to each other, and no one is superior to the other in terms of personality and personal value. As a result, informality prevails in American society, and it is manifested in almost all relationships, such as the relationship between general and soldier, teacher and student, parent and child, physician and patient, employer and employee, etc. Americans are not interested in using formal codes of conduct, titles, honorific, and ritualistic manners in their daily communication. Instead, they are much more comfortable with informal, idiomatic speech and slang. Regardless of their social position, most Americans, be he/she a professor, manager, director, or even presidents are often addressed by their first names. The American style of greeting and farewell is also short and informal. Students may greet their teacher with such simple words as “Hi!” “How are you?” or “What’s up?” and bid a brief farewell with “See you,” “Take care,” or “Come by some time.” The informal style can also be seen in non-verbal behaviors. For instance, it is common for Americans of all identity and status to wear jeans, sandals, or other informal attire. Instead of maintaining an upright posture, Americans prefer to lean against a door, a wall or a piece of furniture when they talk. Both formal and informal style can be observed in the film. As we have mentioned, most of the time, the relationships between Shifu and Oogway, the

 


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Furious Five and Shifu are very formal. The former usually adds the title “Master” before names when addressing the latter. Shifu and the Furious Five always observe the traditional Chinese etiquette and use formal language to show their respect. In contrary, Po always performs informally. Sometimes it can be considered extremely irreverent by traditional Chinese. He calls Oogway and Shifu by their names without adding the title of “Master”. When he finds the scroll blank, he even says “Oogway was just a crazy old turtle.” This is a dreadful disrespect for the senior. Also, Po’s language is often informal. He greets his seniors Shifu and the Furious Five with such simple words as “Hey, how’s it going?” or just “Hey, guys!” Other informal speech and slang can frequently be heard, including “Come on!” “No way!” “Oh, Man!” “wanna,” “gonna,” “awesome,” “suck,” “kidding,” to name just a few. Ⅴ. CONCLUSION Hollywood is capable of absorbing and digesting various cultures. Kung Fu Panda is said to be a love letter to China by which Hollywood is able to translate the Chinese cultural icons of the panda and martial arts into marketable success on a global scale. Meanwhile, Chinese culture travels throughout the world and triggers a burst of popularity. From this aspect, Kung Fu Panda serves as the transmitter of Chinese culture. However, as a product of Hollywood, it is inevitably branded with the American mark. Of course, not every Chinese is a fan of Kung Fu Panda. Some artists and scholars accused the film of stealing Chinese culture, feeding our people with

 


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American values, and making money out of us, so they urged the country to boycott Kung Fu Panda. Most of them even didn’t see the film before they made such judgments. Actually, if you take an object view rather than looking for an excuse to be offended, you will find the film positively promote Chinese culture. Chinese elements are delicately designed, the story is hilarious and the theme is inspiring. The DreamWorks team spent years studying Chinese culture and invited many Chinese to offer their ideas as a result of which they turned our culture into a tasty meal that was appealing to both the Chinese and the world. It also proved that Hollywood could tell a Chinese story just as well as, if not better than, the Chinese. While appreciating Hollywood’s brilliant product, many Chinese can’t help lamenting that how come our culture is labeled with Hollywood brand and why the blockbuster wasn’t made in China. The answer may partly lie in the following fact. As we just mentioned, culture awareness not only refers to the consciousness of home culture, but also that of other cultures. Thanks to globalization, different cultures are more and more closely linked, resulting in ever increasing intercultural interaction and communication. In this new era, no culture can exist without the influences of other cultures. In order to adapt ourselves to this changing world, we should realize the relationship between our and other cultures, understanding both similarities and differences in human behavior and cultural patterns. Intercultural communication focuses on the exchange of ideas, information, beliefs, customs, values and other aspects of culture, with the intention of promoting

 


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mutual respect and understanding. It requires us to reconstruct our traditional way of thinking. This does not mean that the cultural tradition should be abandoned in the process of globalization, but that we should as well absorb the essence of other cultures and combine traditional values with modern ideologies so as to keep the vigor and vitality of Chinese culture. Kung Fu Panda’s success in both Western and Eastern markets depends largely on its intercultural nature, namely, integrating Chinese and American cultures. It suggests that positive values such as hard work, self-belief, equality, self-realization, humanity, and love are common to all humanity. This positive value orientation is neither exclusive to Hollywood or the United States, nor to China. In fact, it is acknowledged and shared by all cultures. Also, the so called “American Dream” is actually the dream of the majority and that’s why Kung Fu Panda arouses a global resonance. Moreover, the lack of imagination and creativity has prevented Chinese films from attracting oversea audiences and even domestic audiences. In this respect, Kung Fu Panda also provides us with a good example for vigorous and unrestrained ideas permeate throughout the film, making it more enjoyable and impressive. China is now receiving considerable recognition from the rest of the world. Chinese culture, having been polished and precipitated for thousands of years, is now playing a significant role on the world stage. We should take this opportunity to establish a good image of our country, and step up efforts to spread our culture if we want to gain more influence internationally. It is believed that films can function as a

 


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form of soft power if they are made to transmit a culture and increase feelings toward that country. At the same time, in the era of globalization, films are also made to present a vivid picture of intercultural communication and help promote mutual understanding. In this sense, Kung Fu Panda definitely serves as a model for future intercultural films. To us Chinese, one of the most important things we have learned from Kung Fu Panda is that we should on the one hand carry forward the fine traditional culture of the Chinese nation and one the other hand absorb and make use of the achievements of the cultures of other countries. By interacting and integrating with diverse cultures, Chinese culture will show the world its unique splendor in a brand-new way.

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R. E.(Eds.), Intercultural Communication: A Reader. 10thed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth of Thomson Learning, Inc., 2003. [7] Chen, G. M. & Starosta, W. J. “Intercultural Communication Competence: A Synthesis,” in B. R. Burleson & A. W. Kunkel (Eds), Communication Yearbook, vol.19. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996. [8] Cullen, J. The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation.London: Oxford University Press, 2004. [9] Dodd, C. H. Dynamics of Intercultural Communication. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2006. [10] Greenberg, J. H. Language, Culture and Communication. Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1971. [11] Gu, H. The Spirit of the Chinese People. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1998. [12] Gudykunst, W. B. & Kim, Y. Y. Communication with Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication. 4thed. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2007. [13] Hall, E. T., Beyond Culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor Doubleday, 1976. [14] Hall, E. T., The Silent Language. New York: Doubleday, 1959. [15] Hall, L. D. & Roger, T. A. Anticipating China: Thinking through the Narratives of Chinese and Western Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. [16] Held, D. & McGrew, A. Globalization and Anti-Globalization. Oxford:

 


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[27] Samovar, L. A. & Porter, R. E. Communication between Cultures. 6thed. Beijing:Beijing University Press, 2000. [28] Samovar, L. A. & Porter, R. E. & Jain, N. C. Understanding Intercultural Communication. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1981. [29] Sapir, E. Culture, Language and Personality. Berkeley: University of California Press,1970. [30] Stewart, E. C. & Bennett, M. J. American Cultural Patterns: A Cross-cultural Perspective. Revised Edition.Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, Inc. 1991. [31] Thompson, J. “Mass Communication and Modern Culture: Contribution to a Critical Theory of Ideology,” Sociology, 22, 1988. [32] Tomlinson, J. Globalization and Culture, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999. [33] Triandis, H. C. Culture and Social Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994. [34]Tubbs, S. & Moss, S. Human Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. 2000. [35] Wiseman, R. L. “Intercultural Communication Competence”, in William B. Gudykunst (Ed.), Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Communication. Thousand Oaks:Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. [36] Yao, Z. L. (Eds.). American Society and Culture. Wuhan: Huazhong University of Science and Technology Press, 2010. [37] Yule, G. Pragmatics. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press,

 


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2000.

 


The integration of Chinese and American Cultures in Kung Fu Panda