- Meredith Oyen
Cantopop, Cantonese-language popular music, and Mandopop, Mandarin-language popular music, are the products of encounters and exchanges between Chinese, Japanese, and American music traditions. Both can be heard in Chinese communities and businesses in the United States today.
Mandopop dates back to the 1920s in the dance halls of jazz-age Shanghai. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the industry moved to Hong Kong, but by the 1960s, the growth of the Mandarin language movement in Taiwan helped Taipei become the new capital of Mandopop. The American military presence in Taiwan in the 1950s and 60s introduced new genres of American popular music to local artists, including rock and R&B.
While Mandopop moved to Taipei, Cantopop emerged in Hong Kong in the 1970s as a localized response to popular American, Japanese, and Mandarin-language music. As the date for the British handover of the colony to China neared, increasing numbers of Hong Kong residents immigrated to Canada and the United States, bringing along their musical practices and tastes. The growth of the Hong Kong film industry and the internationalization of its audience also contributed to the spread of both Mandopop and Cantopop to North America and around the world....