4 Photos that Illustrate Anti-Japanese Sentiment in China

By Mitchell Blatt | Foreign Affairs

Feb 22

Anti-Japanese sentiment has risen precipitously in China ever since China and Japan got locked into a heated dispute over possession of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Chinese-Japanese relations reached a boiling point last fall when Hong Kong activists reached the islands on August 14, 2012 and raised the Chinese flag. The Japanese government later stated its goal to formally purchase the islands, which had been owned by private Japanese citizens. In September, rowdy protests broke out throughout China that sometimes got out of hand with Japanese-brand cars getting smashed and violence against those cars’ owners.

There have not been many protests since then, but there have been ongoing boycotts. Below are four photos that illustrate the ways in which anti-Japanese sentiment has manifested itself over the past year.

Please Excuse My Japanese Car

Toyota with logo cover by Chinese flag A Toyota owner put a Chinese flag over the Toyota logo on her car in fall of 2012, possibly as an act of patriotism or to let others know that she is pro-China, despite her car brand. This photo was taken in Shuanglang village, a tourist destination on the coast of the Er Hai Lake in Dali area of Yunnan in Western China in October 2012.

Shoot Japan

target range at Yunnan Ethnic Village
A target range in the Yunnan Ethnic Village in Kunming in October, 2012 had cartoonish Japanese sumo wrestlers for park visitors to shoot at with a bow.
IMG_2323_2

“Smash Japan”

A car in Beijing has "Smash [Small] Japan," written in the dust on the back window.
A car in Beijing has “Smash [Small] Japan” (“打倒小日本”), written in the dust on the back window. “小日本” translates directly into English as “Small Japan” and is a contemptuous term for Japan. This photo was taken on February 7, 2013.

Boycott Japan

A (presumably) Chinese-made jacket has a pro-boycott message written on the back:  "Pay attention!  Resist Japanese brands wisely! Avoid to buy or use them, please Support our local brands instead!"
A (presumably) Chinese-made jacket has a pro-boycott message written on the back:

“Pay attention!
Resist Japanese brands wisely!
Avoid to buy or use them, please
Support our local brands instead!”

But why did they write this message directed towards Chinese consumers in English? The waitress, for one, didn’t know what her jacket said. This photo was taken on February 22, 2013 in Shanghai.
















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About the Author

Mitchell Blatt is a travel writer, editor, and columnist who has lived and worked in China for six years. He is an author of two guidebooks, Panda Guides Hong Kong and Panda Guides China. He has been published in National Interest.org, The Korea Times, The Shanghai Daily, Roads & Kingdoms, Vagabond Journey, City Weekend, Silkwinds and The World of Chinese, among other outlets. See examples of his published articles.

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