Travelling With Hanfu: A Social Media Analysis of Contemporary Chinese Travelling for Artistic Photographs
Travelling with Hanfu is a new form of travel that has become popular among young people in contemporary China in recent years. Such travellers dress up in Hanfu (the traditional costume of the Han people) to visit tourist destinations and attractions, and take photos. Some travellers prepare their own Hanfu accessories, makeup and hairstyles, and ask friends or family members to help with the photography. Some tourists choose to rent Hanfu from a Hanfu experience shop near their destination and ask the shop to help them with accessories, makeup and hairstyles, even hiring professional photographers to take photos of them in Hanfu. Those who travel with Hanfu post their travel photos and experiences on the internet to share. With the spread of such information, the practice of travelling with Hanfu has been followed and emulated by more and more netizens, and this new tourism phenomenon has not only developed within China, but also extended to non-Chinese regions.
In this interpretive study, qualitative research on the internet and other unobtrusive data collection methods were used to obtain 15 relevant blog and online forum posts, of which three related to Hanfu travel experiences out of China. The data analysis used a narrative inquiry approach, a method involving thematic analysis to examine the data. In the process of analysing data from domestic and overseas destinations, the main themes and concepts were revealed, including the motivation of Hanfu travel and the associated photography process. The results reveal the key significance of the tourism experience of travelling in Hanfu, and reveal the network culture, film and television culture, historical culture, and national cultural values expressed in these tourism activities, reflecting the different choices of tourism destinations based on different motivations and cultural values. Although the research has some limitations, such as the small sample size and a lack of male expression, still, the results provide a comprehensive understanding of Hanfu tourism, and help to look from the tourists’ perspective, to understand this new form of tourism. The development of related tourism products in the future is discussed.