News / Asia

    China's 'Hollywood' Stokes Anti-Japanese Sentiment

    A Chinese woman drags a Japanese flag on the ground during a protest march in Beijing last September. The media plays a large role in stoking anti-Japanese sentiment.A Chinese woman drags a Japanese flag on the ground during a protest march in Beijing last September. The media plays a large role in stoking anti-Japanese sentiment.
    x
    A Chinese woman drags a Japanese flag on the ground during a protest march in Beijing last September. The media plays a large role in stoking anti-Japanese sentiment.
    A Chinese woman drags a Japanese flag on the ground during a protest march in Beijing last September. The media plays a large role in stoking anti-Japanese sentiment.
    In 2012, the Chinese film industry produced numerous movies and television dramas with anti-Japanese themes, many of them dealing with the two wars between the countries. The trend seems set to continue in 2013, with at least nine anti-Japan productions in progress.

    According to a report in the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News, Hengdian World Studio, known as China’s Hollywood, produced between 40 and 50 such shows last year alone. The newspaper estimated the number of deaths of Japanese depicted in the dramas to be one billion over the course of the entire year.

    The newspaper said the production quality of many of the productions is not sophisticated, and that some the action shown is so preposterous as to elicit laughter from the audience. In one drama, for example, Chinese are portrayed as having the power to cut Japanese in half with their bare hands.

    But while the dramas may appear fantastical or even amateurish, they do serve a very real purpose.

    According to Doug Young, a journalism professor at Fudan University in Shanghai and author of the new book The Party Line: How the Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China, fanning anti-Japanese sentiment can be very useful for the government in Beijing.

    “It’s a convenient way to rally the Chinese around the flag and deflect attention away from scandals like Bo Xilai and corruption,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to make people proud to be Chinese.”

    Young added that latent resentment toward Japan makes it easy to stir up the population.

    “The Chinese government knows it’s there, and it uses that latent distrust to its advantage when it runs into issues with Japan like the Diaoyu Islands,” he said. “In the case of Japan, it’s a very deliberate effort by the [Chinese] Propaganda Department not to stop inflammatory discussions and maybe fan the flames. They let people break the laws and do things that would never be tolerated otherwise.” he said.

    Last fall, after Japan nationalized the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are claimed by China, anti-Japanese sentiment erupted throughout China, with widespread looting and vandalism of Japanese businesses as well as calls to boycott Japanese products.

    “Whenever you need a good bad guy in the United States, you can never go wrong bringing in a Nazi,” said Young. “It’s the same way in China. You can never go wrong vilifying the Japanese, and they take advantage of that fact.”

    Additional reporting by Yi-Hua Lee of VOA's China Branch

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Mary from: America
    March 10, 2013 4:56 PM
    Mary,

    Yes. You are right.

    Best

    by: Mary from: philippines
    March 05, 2013 9:02 AM
    Thanks life, Your point of view is quite biased. What did Japanese people living now do!? What you said is just the past. You know, now they're very kind and peaceful.

    Most Americans disagree with your opinion. You Are Chinese, right? I understood from his comments. Chinese people are really brainwashed.

    by: Thanks life from: America
    March 04, 2013 11:53 AM
    Taro,

    Billions of lives already dead under the Japanese guns and weapons. Does Japan still need to produce movie to harm other people?

    by: Thanks life from: America
    March 03, 2013 8:27 AM
    Thanks for this article and the author. This is good for people to read and think.

    The relationship between Japan and China is pretty easy and simple to see. China has been on this earth for over 5,000 years. Chinese people work diligently and consistently. Historically, Qin Shihuang (the Qin Dynasty Emperor) unified China and then he got sick, therefore he sent a medical team to look for a "magical medicine" that can make him live forever. (Obviously, this is funny). When the doctors arrived on a nobody- lived island, where nowadays people call it "Japan", they decided not to come back to Qin Shihuang because Qin's cruel rule. Then, the doctors started to populate on the island.

    That was how Japanese history started.

    Time flied.

    With the following three thousands years, Japan learned and studied with and from China. For example, what Chinese people wore, what Japanese people wore right after a short time; what kind of coin Chinese people use, the same kind of coin Japanese people started using in a short time. Needless to say the language, food and other aspects of culture.

    To be frank, Japan didn't stop learning Chinese culture until Netherlands (Holland) and United States power came to Oriental lands, which means East Asia including China, Korea, Japan and other South East Asian countries. Japan was very sharp-eyed. It observed that the Western power was new and fresh, and probably stronger than Chinese culture, which Japan learned from at least two thousands years. After that, Japan turned its direction to follow Western power and started to invade other Eastern countries including its teacher, China.

    Japan did a huge job.

    In my opinion, there is no need to say how abnormal Japanese were in the past hundreds years; there is no need to say how cruel and inhuman Japanese military did to other nations, including the United States, because today United States people still remember that Japan gave United States a lesson on the Pearl Harbor. Correct?

    To conclude, God is keeping an eye on everybody. Who is clean and who is not, it is very obvious to see.

    Thank you very much for VOA.

    by: taro from: japan
    March 03, 2013 7:41 AM
    The Japanese film industry has never produced movies or dramas with anti-Chinese theme. There are not too many Japanese who don't like Chinese. Actually, in Japan, I have never seen a mass demonstration against Chine. A Chinese media stirs up a demonstration.

    by: ari from: Malaysia
    March 01, 2013 5:28 AM
    As if the American Hollywood does not not make anti japanese and anti Germany films and TV series in which the heros were always Americans and the bad guys Germans nazis and Nipponese soldiers or just plain Orientals.

    Truth is, the Americans are more guilty, much much more guilty than the Chinese of making anti Japanese and German films. Not even worth saying the "Pot calling the kettle black" but the sheer hypocrisy and lie-in-your face lowlife behaviour and BS propaganda of the US.

    by: Bombkiller007 from: USA
    March 01, 2013 5:23 AM
    Another factor for these movies that the article avoids is that these types of movies distract the people from the occupation of Tibet, Xinjiang, and parts of Mongolia. Not to mention massive human rights and crimes against humanity violations from Chinas Fascist government. As Hitler, Stalin, and every statist power knows, distracting the masses from the current issues by a "bread and circuses" cinema campaign is also good cover.

    by: dib
    March 01, 2013 3:28 AM
    To the comment above: I don't know where your information (Hengdian is managed by CCP) comes from.
    The large production of anti-Japanese movies is a result of the demand from the market. People go to cinemas because they are telling something that stuck in people's minds.

    by: Steven Ribet from: Beijing
    March 01, 2013 12:45 AM
    It's true that China's state-controlled media, including its film industry, unrelentingly stokes anti-Japanese sentiment. More interesting, however, is how Hollywood itself is stoking anti-Iran sentiment; hyping up US public opinion to support America's next war.

    More generally, US mainstream media itself is engaged in a massive effort to demonize Iran. Like the best (e.g. most effective) propaganda, it presents its coverage as unbiased, yet routinely and willfully omits facts of central importance to the current standoff.

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    February 28, 2013 9:58 PM
    I would say the Japanese government is really stupid. China and Japan used to have pretty good relationship after WWII. There was a time, Japanese films were very popular in China, and when I was young the communist party worked hard on improving the friendship between Japan and China. That was the golden time of the two countries. However, Japan is inciting conflict on those tiny little islands. Those islands has been being quiet for decades. Why cant we keep it that way until we find a solution acceptable for both sides? Japan is doing really stupid, and destined to be a loser again.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.