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“The Legend of the Three Kingdoms”, Bridging Japan and China. Report from the “Red Cliff” press conference

“The Legend of the Three Kingdoms”, Bridging Japan and China.Report from the “Red Cliff” press conference

In a corner of Yakuin, Fukuoka city lies a studio/restaurant called “Family”. It is a cultural crossroads for Shinchuan and Cantonese traditional cooking, Chinese interior artifacts, tea and the Legend of the Three Kingdoms. The Owner is Mr. Jiang, who hails from Guangxi Zhuangzu Province Guilin City. On talking with Jiang we found a new role for the Three Kingdoms- it has become a bridge between Japan and China.
“Ever since I was young I read novels and saw movies about the Legend of the Three Kingdoms but “Red Cliff” is the best. This was Jiang’s impression after watching the special preview screening of Red Cliff. It was a big budget production on a spectacular scale, but in addition the depiction of the characters and their emotions were easy to follow. “Many feel that the Legend of the Three Kingdoms is about a battle for supremacy, but is more than just that – it is a human drama packed with emotion and inspiration”, says Jiang. The theme of Red Cliff is “bravery, friendship and love”. It seems to have lived up to Jiang’s expectations.

Japan and China, both crazy about the Legend of the Three Kingdom’s manga

Commenting on the Three Kingdoms, Jiang was quite surprised that China’s history had been accepted so well in Japan, pointing the many forms of media such as manga and games that tell the story. When he was young Jiang remembers there was a pocket sized picture book which introduced the Legend of the Three Kingdoms. There seem to be many Japanese who get hooked on it from manga. Another thing that Japan and China have in common is the popularity of Zhuge Liang and Zhao Yun. It seems Japanese have the same taste in characters who are intellectual and brave. Furthermore, Guan Yu, who is well known throughout Japan as a general is so popular in China, he has god-like status. It is not an exaggeration to say that those historical characters who lived though the period of civil war are thought of as heroes. The different types of heroes make the Three Kingdoms so interesting.

≪The Legend of the Three Kingdoms background knowledge 2≫
Not only Chinese, but Japanese are also familiar with the Three Kingdoms story through various media such as novels, manga, video games, puppet plays etc. But the Three Kingdoms legend is divided into two types: 1) the official history, and 2)history mixed with fiction. We are more familiar with the latter.
This is the Chinese Three Kingdoms picture book for beginners

After 10 years in Japan I have over 60 “Sangokushi”(Three Kingdoms) Friends

Though Japan and China are both in the Asian region, the two countries have many differences. As one is a continent and the other an island country, China has many different ethnic groups with different values, and Japanese values would not necessarily suit China. But according to Jiang, “When it comes to the Legend of the Three Kingdoms, China and Japan are on the same page”. The romantic story, wisdom and lessons of history, and the colorful characters…. When people come to Family the conversation often turns to the Three Kingdoms. I have over sixty friends who like to discuss the topic, including many women. “The Three Kingdoms is a topic that crosses borders of country and race”. When Japanese hear that Jiang is from China they often ask “Do you know much about the Three Kingdoms?”
It is amazing that the acts and deeds of people who lived over 2000 years ago keep attracting people with all different cultural backgrounds.

≪The Legend of the Three Kingdoms background knowledge 3≫
Did you know that the Japanese expressions “three visits”「三顧の礼」 ”fish and water” 「水魚の交わり」, “the last resort”「苦肉の策」”handsome youth”「眉目秀麗」 “whipping yourself into action”「老体に鞭打つ」 all originate from the Legend of the Three Kingdoms? The Three Kingdoms saw the rise and fall of China, from 180 to 280AD. It just goes to show how popular it is in Japan where phrases that were born 2000 years ago are still in use in modern times.

(Article assisted by)
Chinese Restaurant “Family”
Address: 2-6-22 Yakuin Chuo Ku Fukuoka City
Ph: 092-725-8667
Business hours: 11:30~(last order)15:00/18:00~(last order)22:00

Report from the “Red Cliff” press conference by director John Woo and actress Lin Chi-ling. The large press and fan contingent showed the high expectations of the movie.

Question for John Woo. Did you know of the popularity of the Legend of the Three Kingdoms in Japan?

I did know that it was a well known story in Japan. I also knew that the characters Zhuge Liang and Zhao Yun were popular here, and I had that in mind when I was depicting them.

Born in Hong Kong, world renowned film director. Directed the record breaking hit movie “A Better Tomorrow” in 1986. He then moved to USA and has had a string of hit movies including Broken Arrow, Face Off and MI-2.

Question for Lin Chi-ling: Which male character is the most attractive?

Zhou Yu is seen as a cold-hearted soldier. However, in John Woo’s movie he is a major character who is given hero status. He is cool, sensitive and a smart soldier. From a woman’s perspective I think he has everything that women find attractive in a man.

Taiwanese model. Voted the most beautiful woman in Taiwan in her thirties for two consecutive years. She has appeared in many TV commercials in Chinese speaking countries including for the luxury Swiss watch LONGINES. She has been the Taiwanese “Visit Japan Campaign” Ambassador since 2004. Red Cliff is her first appearance in a feature film, something that has been long awaited by fans.

redcliffRed Cliff Part 1

Release date: 1/11/2008
Director: John Woo
Cast: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Lin Chi-ling

It is the year 208AD. Cao Cao leads an 800,000 strong army to attack his enemies in an attempt to conquer the country. However, he meets resistance from Zhuge Liang of the Lui Bei army and Zhou Yu of the Sun Quan army. The two join forces to take on the massive force of Cao Cao.

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