We here at RocketNews24 occasionally get hit with accusations of having an anti-China or anti-Korea slant. And while we don’t think a story about a young Chinese man getting a seatless bicycle wedged in his butt is inherently anti-Chinese, we can see how it might be interpreted that way. We can also see how we get labeled as anti-other-Asian-countries since we largely get our information from Japanese sources, and it would be naive to say there aren’t anti-Chinese and anti-Korean forces at play within the Japanese media. You couldn’t hope for a better example than the following story that was said to have been posted by a Chinese person on a message board. The anecdote has a lot to say about how Chinese children are raised to view Japan. However, the reaction to the story itself is more revealing about what it’s like on the other side.

This story was reportedly posted on 8 January, 2014.

My cousin came to visit along with her husband, who is Japanese, and her husband’s relative’s young son. The boy was in first grade and named Toshio. Here he was in a strange country surrounded by people who spoke a language he couldn’t understand, and yet in his very best broken Chinese he bowed deeply and gave us a polite greeting. It was an adorable sight and we already really liked this little bit of Toshio.

However, my cousin’s oldest sister’s child, a grade-three student named Pengpeng, didn’t take to him. From the very beginning he glared at Toshio and while brandishing his fist shouted, “Down with puny Japan!” Toshio and all of the adults were shocked by this. Pengpeng’s father scolded him and the child replied, “Isn’t he the enemy of China? But my teacher said. Papa doesn’t love China!”

The father asked him, “That’s what your history teacher said. Now, we should get along with Japan. Besides, Toshio is our guest.”

“So then why do they tell us every day to boycott Japanese goods because Japan took our land? And in school they showed us a cartoon that said to overthrow Japanese imperialism,” Pengpeng replied.

Luckily, Toshio couldn’t understand what anyone was saying in that conversation. He was a good child though. He did things on his own, he would hand everyone chopsticks at mealtimes and say “itadakimasu” when food was brought to him. On the other hand, Pengpeng would just grab his own chopsticks. His room is dirty and he doesn’t do anything on his own. He just hoards the food he likes during meal time, especially because all the adults lovingly let him.

I found myself sincerely thinking, “I wish Pengpeng were more like Toshio.” Sure enough, bit by bit, Pengpeng began to warm up to Toshio and the two began to spend more time together. I would sometimes catch them teaching Chinese and Japanese to each other, relieved I thought, “They’re both just children after all.”

Yesterday evening, my cousin and her husband were out shopping while the rest of us were watching TV. Pengpeng, with a proud look on his face, brought in Toshio and said, “Toshio has something to say to everyone.”

Blushing a little and smiling shyly Toshio said in halting Chinese, “I am Japanese and deserve to die. I apologize to the Chinese people.”

Everyone was frozen stiff at what they heard. Pengpeng’s father immediately took him into the bathroom and slapping sounds could be heard. We later learned that Pengpeng had told Toshio to memorize those words without explaining them. He simply told him that the phrase “would make everyone happy.”

It’s really strange for such a small child to hate Japan so much. But here in front of a Japanese child we could see the loathing and hostility that the children of China are holding. I think patriotic education in China should have a more peaceful objective.

Right, so that was simply a story posted on a message board. I have no idea if it’s true, and even if it is, it’s still only the isolated case of little Pengpeng. That young lad may have other issues leading him to buy into anti-Japanese rhetoric more than regular children for all we know.

Honestly, the anecdote seems to ring like one of those politician speeches where they quote an “average joe” who just happened to write them a letter about one of their pet platforms. The letter was probably real, but the mention of it is loaded with an agenda making it come across as more of a tool rather than honest public sentiment even if it actually is.

However, the post has been effective with the public. Within 24 hours of publishing the above story on Yahoo! Japan News it received 120,000 Facebook likes, nearly 8,000 tweets, and 2,000 comments. Although many of them feel this was as one commenter said, “obviously fiction and disgusting,” others are calling for South Korea and China to “review their overall education of children, their minds are distorted.” By the way, the first comment received 60 “thumbs up” whereas the latter got 35,746 of them.

With that kind of response you can bet anti-Chinese and anti-South Korean sentiment will continue to permeate the Japanese media for some time to come, just as anti-Japanese sentiment exists there. It’s a screwed up situation from every angle. We’ll try to balance it out, but overtones will manage to seep in every once in a while.

That being said, when a woman is eating crud off her foot in Asia (sometimes outside), regardless what country its in, you better believe we’re going to post it because it’s funny… and slightly arousing. Now enough of this nonsense. There are more vegetables in the shape of Hello Kitty somewhere out there and we have to find them.

Update: Multiple versions, each with slightly differing details, of this story have been appearing online this week, suggesting that the case of little Pengpeng and Toshio may indeed be a fake as we suspected. Regardless, the responses of these internet users, we feel, are the true stars in this somewhat uncomfortable tale, and provide an interesting insight into the thinking of at least a small part of Japan’s online community and their perception of China, so have decided to continue running this article in its current form. Stay sharp, boys and girls: the internet’s a strange and mysterious place!

Source: Yahoo! News Japan (Japanese)