From Kung Fu to Hip Hop

Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture

By M. T. Kato

Subjects: Postcolonial Studies, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Music
Series: SUNY series, Explorations in Postcolonial Studies
Paperback : 9780791469927, 281 pages, February 2007
Hardcover : 9780791469910, 281 pages, February 2007

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Table of contents


Introduction: On Popular Cultural Revolution

1. Kung Fu Cultural Revolution and Japanese Imperialism

2. Burning Asia: Bruce Lee’s Kinetic Narrative of Decolonization

3. Mutiny in the Global Village: Bruce Lee Meets Jimi Hendrix

4. Enter the Dragon, Power, and Subversion in the World of Transnational Capital

5. Game of Death and Hip Hop Aesthetics: Globalization of Popular Cultural Revolution

Conclusion: From Possibility to Actualization of Another World


Explores the revolutionary potential of Bruce Lee and hip hop culture in the context of antiglobalization struggles and transnational capitalism.


From Kung Fu to Hip Hop looks at the revolutionary potential of popular culture in the sociohistorical context of globalization. Author M. T. Kato examines Bruce Lee's movies, the countercultural aesthetics of Jimi Hendrix, and the autonomy of the hip hop nation to reveal the emerging revolutionary paradigm in popular culture. The analysis is contextualized in a discussion of social movements from the popular struggle against neoimperialism in Asia, to the antiglobalization movements in the Third World, and to the global popular alliances for the reconstruction of an alternative world. Kato presents popular cultural revolution as a mirror image of decolonization struggles in an era of globalization, where progressive artistic expressions are aligned with new modes of subjectivity and collective identity.

M. T. Kato is an independent scholar and activist living in Hawaii.


"Kato's terrific book provides a rich analysis not only of Bruce Lee movies, but also of the political, economic, and cultural context in which they were produced. I learned a tremendous amount from this book—particularly the very innovative linkages made between the films and East Asian political economy." — Vijay Prashad, author of Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity

"The book is extremely timely in its focus on the political potential of popular culture for sustaining old social movements and for developing new ones that cross national boundaries in the way that film and hip hop culture have." — Nitasha Sharma, Northwestern University