Bruce Lee Became a Global Celebrity by Embodying 400 Years of Western-Chinese Cultural Trade

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By Scott Rank, PhD and Scott Rank. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
An Asian and Asian American icon of unimaginable stature and influence, Bruce Lee revolutionized the martial arts by combining influences drawn from around the world. Uncommonly determined, physically gifted, and artistically brilliant, Lee rose to fame as part of a wave of transpacific globalization that bridged the nearly seven thousand miles between Hong Kong and California.
Today’s guest, Daryl Joji Maeda (author of the new Bruce Lee biography Like Water) unpacks Lee’s global impact, linking his legendary status as a martial artist, actor, and director to his continual traversals across the newly interconnected Asia and America.
Movements and migrations across the Pacific Ocean structured the cultures Bruce Lee inherited, the milieu he occupied, the martial art he developed, the films he made, and the world he left behind. It includes the gold rush in California and the British occupation of Hong Kong, Lee was both a product of his time and a harbinger of a more connected future.
Nearly half a century after his tragic death, Bruce Lee remains an inspiring symbol of innovation and determination, with an enduring legacy as the first Asian American global superstar.

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