Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera
Alfred Mahan, a historian, once proclaimed that whoever commands the Indian Ocean in the 21st century will have control over the world, and he also declared it to be the Asian Century. The concept of the Asian Century refers to the belief that Asia will dominate the 21st century in terms of economic growth and geopolitical influence. Asia has been the world’s fastest growing region in terms of GDP for many years, led by China and India. Some of the world’s largest and most vibrant economies, such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea, are located in Asia. These countries are home to some of the most advanced technology companies and are increasingly driving global innovation and technological advancement.
Asia is becoming increasingly important in terms of geopolitics, with China emerging as a major global power. China is currently the world’s second largest economy and is investing heavily in infrastructure, technology and military capabilities. Asia’s influence extends beyond just the global economy and politics and also extends to the world of cinema
Asian cinema has had a significant impact on the world, with many films from the region achieving critical acclaim and commercial success both domestically and internationally. In recent years, Asian cinema has increasingly gained international recognition at major international film festivals and awards ceremonies, including the Oscars. For instance, in 2021, Chloe Zhao became the first woman of Asian descent to win the Oscar for Best Director for her film Nomadland, which also won the best picture award. In addition, South Korean cinema has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years, with films such as Parasite (2019) and Minari (2020) winning multiple Oscars. These films and others like them have helped to raise the profile of Asian cinema on the global stage, showcasing the unique perspectives and talents of filmmakers from the region.
Among the latest additions to the list of awards are actor in a supporting role, actress in a leading role, actress in a supporting role, best director, best documentary, film editing, music (original song), and, most notably, best picture. The coveted title of best picture was awarded to the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which tells the story of a Chinese-American immigrant and the challenges she faces in life.
The increasing popularity of Asian cinema has had a profound impact on the global entertainment industry, highlighting the significant role of Asian soft power in shaping cultural narratives and perceptions. The growth of Asian films and TV shows has contributed to a rise in the global appeal of Asian cultures, thereby bolstering the region’s cultural influence and soft power.
The emergence of South Korean popular culture, popularly known as the Korean Wave, is a notable example of the significant influence of Asian soft power in the entertainment industry. Korean music, TV dramas and films have gained considerable popularity in various parts of the world, especially in Asia. This has facilitated the promotion of Korean values and culture, which contributes to the country’s soft power and increases its global influence.
Asian countries such as China, Japan and India have also made significant strides in the global entertainment industry. Nevertheless, the question remains whether the rapid development of Asian cinema as a soft power tool would pose a threat to Hollywood in the foreseeable future. While the growth of Asian cinema has been remarkable, it is unlikely to dethrone Hollywood’s dominance in the global entertainment industry anytime soon. Nonetheless, the rise of Asian cinema is a significant development that cannot be overlooked, as it helps promote greater appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures and values around the world.