Summary of “Funereal Culture” Is Visible Everywhere

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A curious culture with a strange name has taken hold of a subset of China’s millennials: “丧 sàng culture.” Sàng is the Chinese character that can mean funeral, ill fortune or a feeling of depression. In this context, sàng describes a culture of lethargy and self-loathing. Blogger Liang Xin, who runs a WeChat channel called Culture Industry Commentary, discusses where the trend is visible, how it emerged and how brand managers commercialize it. He shows that sàng culture is not unique to China. Similar cultures have developed in Korea, and Western memes and cartoons project comparable messages. Liang, a member of the post-90s generation, also gives his take on what may be at the heart of sàng culture. getAbstract recommends this article to young professionals, people working in marketing and branding, and anyone interested in social trends or pop culture.

About the Author

Liang Xin writes for the WeChat channel Culture Industry Commentary, which features observations and analysis of developments in China’s culture industry.



Some gloomy adages are gaining popularity among Chinese youngsters: “When life closes one door in your life, it’ll shut the window on its way out,” “If life screws you over, don’t despair; don’t cry – because tomorrow life will continue to screw you over,” and “Working hard won’t necessarily lead to success, but not working hard…feels pretty comfortable.” These quotes are expressions of China’s “sàng culture,” (roughly funereal culture) springing from a feeling of hopelessness and exhaustion in the face of reality. At its heart is an attitude advising that when life’s harshness narrows in on you, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but throw your hands up in the air and laugh.

One representation of sàng culture in China is the “Ge You Slouch” meme, the viral image ...