Throughout China, shops and restaurants selling anything that can even remotely be associated with Japan were sure to hang Chinese flags in their windows, and many placed little hand drawn signs clearly in public view that said something to the effect of: “Diaoyu Islands are Chinese.” While owners of Japanese-make automobiles were sure to stick [...]
Throughout China, shops and restaurants selling anything that can even remotely be associated with Japan were sure to hang Chinese flags in their windows, and many placed little hand drawn signs clearly in public view that said something to the effect of:
“Diaoyu Islands are Chinese.”
While owners of Japanese-make automobiles were sure to stick massive red and yellow stickers all over their automobiles that read:
“Diaoyu Islands belong to China. This car is Japanese but this heart is Chinese.”
On the one hand, these shows of patriotism are not out of place in a country that has been swept away in a wave of nationalistic fervor; on the other hand, these expressions were made to prevent angry, anti-Japanese mobs from vandalizing their possessions.
In this climate, anything that can be construed as being pro-Japanese is in danger of being smashed.
Like this Honda was last weekend:
These preventative measures seem to have worked: I did not see one Japanese restaurant, store, or car that had pro-China demarcations on it attacked or otherwise sabotaged in the protests that engulfed China this week.
For a society that often professes animosity against Japan, there are certainly a lot of Japanese themed restaurants, Japanese cars, and shops selling products from Japanese manufacturers. In Taizhou, a small city three hours from Shanghai that doesn’t boast much of a Japanese community — if one at all — there are probably ten Japanese restaurants alone — not to mention Japanese motorcycle and car dealerships and electronic stores selling Japanese products. Certainly, the animosity that the Chinese often profess for Japan stays out of the dining sphere, driving, and electronics spheres.
It is clear that China and Japan are economically, culturally, and politically bound to one another — whether they like it or not. They are the world’s number two and three economies, and are major trading partners that are heavily invested in each other. The Diaoyu Island fiasco is more akin to two siblings squabbling over a toy — with one wanting it just because the other has it — than anything else. There are two contradictory avenues of sentiment at play here in China. The first, is emotional: Japan is the enemy, they committed incalculable atrocities in China during WW2. The second, is practical: Japan is a major economic partner and, ultimately, a friend of China.
Just so the Chinese profess a love for the motherland, the make of their car and whether they like eating sobe or sushi seems to be irrelevant. Japan and China are so tied together at this point that they could not pull themselves apart — even if they tried. So when the Western press starts chanting “War, war, war,” keep in mind that the Diaoyu conflict is little more than a family feud played out on an international scale: both sides may throw punches, but neither will go as far as to inflict grievous bodily harm.
It’s all a political pissing match complete with an accompanying media sideshow. Go home, there’s truly nothing to see here.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
September 22, 2012, 2:04 am
All photos of Japanese restaurants you listed are fake.
You should report the phenomenon that the Chinese themselves discard their proud Chinese food and serve their hating Japanese cuisine even in own land.
Btw, can you be still mocking even if your country’s land is about to be stolen?
September 22, 2012, 12:26 pm
Hi, Wade. Your article is introduced by Searchina, Japanese news site run by Chinese businessmen, with titled ‘squabbling over a toy amongst Japan and China.’ So, many Japanese have read it. I would like to thank you for your interesting photos. I think Ken wanted to say that the photos are fake Japanese restaurants and flags are its evidence. In my opinion, ‘squabbling over a toy’ amongst countries is very usual all over the world, I am sorry to have to say that, including your country. So, some sensitive person may feel insulted by the title by Searchina picked from those words, though you have no intention to do so. It is sad but people tend to be excited by everything now.
September 22, 2012, 1:03 pm
His ‘Fake’ might mean pretended Japanese business, or modified-Japanese-cuisine run by Chinese businessmen in other words. Of cause these restaurants are not fake in fact, even though modified definitely by them.
September 23, 2012, 6:35 pm
I only expose the disgraceful behavior that terrorism of China is ignominious
September 23, 2012, 10:06 pm
>the Diaoyu Island fiasco is more akin to two siblings squabbling over a toy — with one wanting it just because the other has it — than anything else.
What did Japan do about the Senkakus?
These islands apparently belong to Japan.
It was only China who’s formed crazy mob.
Don’t speak as if Japan is the same level as the crazy riots in China.
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