Combine classic and modern
BY 花消英气 from 21st Century
Published 2022-08-08
More young Chinese people like products with Chinese traditional elements. SONG CHEN / CHINA DAILY

Every month, Zhang Lingling holds a party with her friends in a KTV room. At the party, all the people wear hanfu – a type of dress worn by the ancient Han people – and sing songs that are accompanied by traditional instruments or inspired by ancient poems.

In addition, the 23-year-old girl spends more than an hour every day playing a mobile game that features a martial arts world full of traditional cultural elements.

“I’m really interested in clothes, songs and games based on traditional culture. I’m not buying the items just because they are Chinese – they just satisfy my aesthetic needs,” she told China Daily.

Like Zhang, there are many young people who have a passion for traditional Chinese culture. A report released by Chinese short-video platform Bilibili in February shows that over 177 million of the platform’s users loved videos featuring traditional culture.

Looking for the reason behind this fascination with traditional culture, Ji Fangfang, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it’s because traditional culture is the best way for young people to distinguish their national identity.

“They want to tell the world who they are, and they are willing to spend time and money doing it. Younger people know the world well through the internet, and they need to express their uniqueness,” Ji told China Daily.

While some prefer inheriting traditional Chinese culture, others are putting twists on it to be more accessible to the young generation.

Pop culture designer Yu Yang is one of them. When he made a series of products featuring the ancient God of Fortune, the god wore fashionable Chinese shoes and a cap, and had a microphone in his hand.

“Pop culture is a universal language. I hoped more people would accept and love my work and know Chinese culture through my art pieces,” he said in an interview with China Daily.

(Translator & Editor: Li Xinzhu AND Luo Sitian)