East Asian Westerns at/as the Limits of the Western Genre Criticism




The East Asian Westerns of the twenty-first century have been studied extensively by scholars of East Asian cinema, yet have been largely missing from the conversations animating the Western genre studies, despite the field’s recent transnational turn. This absence might be linked to their unique formal feature: their de-coupling of the genre’s most recognizable tropes and props from their presumed location in the American West. By indigenizing the Western, films such as Miike Takashi’s Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) or Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) have served to consolidate national cinemas in East Asia and refashioned our understanding of globalization by highlighting regional, intra-Asian trajectories of influence. Despite their hasty dismissal by some Western film critics, they may still reinvigorate the theoretical conversations at the heart of Western studies as well as pose productive questions about their influence on the practice and reception of the U.S. iterations of the genre. In their deft citations drawing on the global Western vernacular, East Asian Westerns expose the centrality of the American West as the unsurpassable limit of the Western genre studies, while simultaneously revealing the appreciatively transnational tenor of the contemporary practice of the genre in the United States.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 Czasopisma Naukowe w Sieci (CNS). This article first appeared in Studia Filmoznawcze 38 (2017): 17-30.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.