Paul Foster’s new book: Jin Yong’s Martial Arts Fiction and the Kungfu Industrial Complex

Martial Arts Fiction
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Jin Yong’s Martial Arts Fiction and the Kungfu Industrial Complex is an analysis of the role of Jin Yong’s stories and characters in the construction of the “kungfu industrial complex”—a complicated, multi-dimensional cultural/business matrix related to the production and consumption of martial arts fiction, film, and legacy. The author first explicates the “kungfu cultural literacy” that makes Jin Yong’s characters and stories intelligible and compelling to a wide audience and then argues that academic resistance to integrating his pop fiction into the canon of Chinese literature is overcome via the national character discourse. The author subsequently explores the role of actors, directors, and crews as they repeatedly adapted the novels for film and television and provided afterlives for Jin Yong’s characters, stories, and tropes, both kicking off actors’ careers and driving the globalization of kungfu action. Archetypical characters, multidimensional production and consumption of cultural capital and star power meet in a final analysis of the “Kung Fu Hustle Hustle,” which balances critical reality and a hopeful vision for China’s future.

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