Examining Cultural Authenticity in Picture Books about China and Chinese Culture

Tongtong Kang, Minjin Kim
page. 65~83 / 2021 Vol.15 No.3


This study examined 20 picture books about Chinese culture published in South Korea to evaluate how accurately they capture concrete, behavioral, and symbolic culture, and the existence of bias and stereotypes. The results show misrepresentations of concrete culture, including food, transportation, costumes, characters, and the map. The Chinese culture is stereotypically represented by the traditional culture, without fully reflecting the country’s recent development and status. Regarding behavioral culture, the customs during Chinese festivals are misrepresented, with Chinese people portrayed as small-eyed and having exaggerated facial expressions. Moreover, portrayals of Chinese people in social settings reflect gender-based stereotypes, unsanitary and having uncivilized social environments. Regarding symbolic culture, gift giving is misinterpreted and Chinese people's Confucian values are stereotyped. The study’s findings of substantial misrepresentations and stereotyping underscore the need to make active efforts to maintain cultural authenticity in multicultural picture books.

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