Adaptations and receptions: Proof of the Man in Japan and China | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710



Proof of the Man (人間の証明) is a 1977 Japanese film adapted from Morimura Seiichi’s detective novel of the same name. The film was dubbed and released in China as part of an extensive Sino-Japanese cultural exchange programme following the end of Cultural Revolution. The dubbed version gained immense popularity among the Chinese audience. The melodramatic plot of filial affection, the beautiful dubbed voice and the emotional theme song proved humane and healing for a traumatized audience of the post-Mao era. But a closer analysis reveals that the social critique embedded in the filmic text of Proof of the Man was rewritten and reinterpreted in the Chinese dubbing and viewing process. Both the translators and reviewers often dismissed, whitewashed or oversimplified racial tensions in the film. Very few noted that racial discrimination within Japan – an important subtext of the film – is a main cause of the filicide tragedy. I argue that it was not just ignorance of Japanese history that prevented Chinese reviewers from acknowledging the existence of racism in Japan, and that their belief that equated racial discrimination with class oppression and white supremacy was self-serving.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): China; film; Japan; race; reception; translation
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