To What Extent Can Nationalism Account for Resistance to Foreign Culture? a Comparative Study on the Penetration of the English Premier League in China and Japan

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Season HO, Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Hong Kong
The Barclay’s Premier League (BPL) is deemed the most far-reaching football league in the world. Its culture and fandom have successfully penetrated into a lot of countries outside of Europe such as Asian countries. Same as other similar cases such as Hollywood films, in the process of  exportation of BPL, associated lifestyle, cultural values and social norms are also exported and hybridized with local culture. Addressing to a central concern in globalization studies, exportation of BPL has encountered resistance from local culture, the level of which depends on many social and cultural factors. 
This paper will explain the differences of BPL's level of penetration in Asia from the perspective of nationalism by using China and Japan as comparative cases.  The current study will offer an overview of influences of foreign cultures in China and Japan and the BPL's development in both societies. By comparing the fandom towards their local league--Chinese Super League in China and J-League in Japan, people's loyalty towards the national team, and the fandom culture towards the Premier League in both cases, it was found that the strong base of Japanese nationalism is consequent to the low level of penetration of the BPL in Japan and facilitates to building loyalty to the J-League and Japanese national team. Yet, for China, people’s selective and situational nationalism has rendered Premier League well-penetrated into the Chinese society and turned out to affect negatively the building of fandom culture toward local football league and the national team. It has also been observed that the popular BPL has changed tremendously the lifestyle of people in China.
One important implication of the current study is that nationalism is an essential determinant to the resistance of local culture to foreign culture. Arguably, it is the history and nature of nationalism that determine the level of foreign culture to penetrate into the local culture. Other implications on aspects such as fandom culture and localization of BPL culture will also be discussed.