Beijing has accused the CIA of waging a clandestine war on masculinity in east Asian cultures by fueling the trend for effeminate or “sissy” celebrities that has filtered down and influenced young men in society.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of the nation’s leading research institutions, studied China’s popular entertainment industry and its demand for feminized, delicate male stars, derided in China as “xiao xian rou” which means “little fresh meat”.
A CASS report accuses the CIA of launching its campaign to “brainwash” and “emasculate” Asian men in Japan in 1962 with the foundation of the Johnny & Associates talent agency.
It claims the agency’s legendary founder, Johnny Kitagawa, was “loyal to the Americans rather than the Japanese” and colluded with the CIA to use “entertainment to brainwash the Japanese people . . . to weaken the male temperament of Japanese society”.
Since then, masculinity in Japan has completely changed. According to reports, soshokukei danshi (which means “grass eaters” or “herbivorous boys“) have come to dominate mainstream Japanese life.
The term refers to men who are not interested in dating, sex, or marriage. Herbivorous males have decided to live a life without a partner or even a romantic relationship as a way of turning their back on traditionally masculine ways.
Reports from Japan claim 60 percent of Japanese men between 20 and 34 display at least some “herbivorous tendencies” with most of these young men stating they have little or no interest in sex. Japanese authorities say the trend is contributing to rapidly declining birth rates in the nation.
According to the Chinese report, titled “Do you know how hard the CIA is working”, the “weakened male temperament” has spread from Japan to other parts of east Asia, including South Korea and China.
Beijing’s experts compared China’s entertainment industry, which “advocates feminine male artists”, to Hollywood, where “male stars are not like this, most of them are tough guys”.
The biggest celebrities in mainland China often are imported from the K-Pop industry in South Korea. Their style has influenced a generation of young fans in China who like their idols to be thin, pale, delicate and pretty.
Times reports: This has irked Beijing, which connects national strength with male muscularity. An editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency derided xiao xian rou as “sissy boys” unfit for the task of “helping our nation reach its renaissance”.
Last year, Xinhua, the state news agency, lambasted singers in a new group, New F4, as “sissy pants” and said they were “not men, but not women”.
“They look androgynous and wear make-up. They are slender and weak,” the influential opinion columnist using the pen name Xinshiping wrote.
“The impact this sick culture will have on our young generation is immeasurable.”
Claims the CIA is involved in the emasculation of Asian young men might seem fanciful to some, but the agency has created and fueled even more unlikely societal trends (feminism, modern art, hip hop, among others) to influence and shape society.
First-wave feminist icon Gloria Steinem was a lifelong CIA asset, who worked for the CIA spying on students and disrupting their meetings. She became a media darling due to her CIA connections. MS Magazine, which she edited for many years was indirectly funded by the CIA.
And as the Independent reported, the CIA created American abstract expressionist modern art as a weapon in the Cold War.
For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in the Cold War.
Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.
To counter the alleged influence of the CIA, the Chinese government has backed films such as Wolf Warrior 2 in recent years, with muscle-bound male leads who are macho and militaristic. “Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is,” the tagline for the film, which features guns, explosions and tanks, reads.
It remains to be seen whether the films will be more influential than BTS.