Competing Visions of Japan on the Huanqiu BBS

Huanqiu Shibao’s BBS world isn’t necessarily representative of the upper crust of netizen opinion, but, since, as China Digital Times reminds us, the internet is becoming increasingly Chinese, it behooves us to get any glimpse into the yawning nooks and immense creaking crannies of 爱国网民活动.

Today’s foray brings two threads into competition: a long missive on the Japanese assassination of Korean Queen Min in 1894 and then a photo essay on Japanese university students caught up in Maoist fervor in the late 1960s.

It’s an interesting commentary on the often unspoken affinities between China and both Koreas when the Queen Min story prompts one netizen to immediately jump to Nanking, while another notes “什么时候日本能给中国诚恳的道个歉?还死不承认,和麻生太郎一样不要脸!”  Drawing back to Japan’s imperial crimes means that ranks among continental Northeast Asian states can be closed, if even for a few minutes.  At least as long as no one brings up the issue of wartime collaboration.

明成皇后 -- Korea's enigmatic Queen Min

When it comes to Japanese students going pro-Mao, the netizen response is a wonderful collage of opinion.  Many take the photos as an opportunity to remember the greatness of Mao Zedong, while others note the naivite of students in China at the same time, warning against repeating the disasters (覆辙) of the Cultural Revolution.  And then there are others who are simply thrilled to see how many Chinese characters they can recognize in Japan.  It is as if Japan remains a revelation, still, to many Chinese.

Japanese Students Raise the Red Flag -- "Long Live Chairman Mao Thought!"

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