Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

John Nelson

Second Advisor

Wei Yang Menkus


Since the 1950’s the Chinese Animation industry has been trying to create a unique national style for China. The national style of the 1950’s and early 1960’s was one of freedom, fantasy, and creativity. With the success of “Heroic Little Sisters of the Grassland”/草原英雄小姐妹(1965), the government administration, namely Jiang Qing of the “Gang of Four”, demanded that all animation should follow specific guidelines based on Social Realism guidelines. This in turn, ushered in a new national style of animation during the Cultural Revolution(1966-1976). During this ten-year period government policies imposed strict restrictions on animators and cause a drain of creative talents—setting the industry decades behind internationally. When the Mao Era ended in the late 1970s the Chinese animation industry enjoyed a brief period of domestic growth. But new challenges occurred when China opened its doors to the world in 1985, which allowed Japanese animation to come in like a storm. For the next two decades, Chinese media was flooded with Japanese anime, and Chinese animation struggled for a place on tv until the early 2000’s. This research asks the question of what factors have prevented Chinese animation from succeeding both internationally and globally. It also looks at how these factors have contributed both negatively and positively to the animation industry. The main factors attributing to China’s struggle from the 1940s until today are as follows: government policies, national style, and the influence of foreign animation in China.