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Japanese animation is much-loved around the world. China is no exception, and anime has a massive following in the country. Many young people in China are enamored with anime for its creative story lines and artistic animation. It has the ability to uplift, motivate and entertain us, and allows us to momentarily escape reality, and for many foreigners, it does more than just that. It can shape our lives.

Here is one heartwarming story from China of a life-changing encounter with anime.

As part of the 10th Annual Japanese Essay contest in China various stories were submitted for a compilation titled “To Call a Place ‘Home’”. In the below essay, a Chinese university student was moved by the anime Natsume’s Book of Friends and through it learnt the value of friendship and saw hope in the world.

In the series, the character Natsume is an orphan with a tough childhood who has the ability to see spirits and inherits a notebook from his grandmother. Nyanko (Natsume’s companion spirit who appears as a cat) watches over Natsume as he deals with evil spirits, tries to do good in the world, and challenges us all to do the same.

The essay from the Chinese fan reads:

“I have many people who I love. The guys are all very cool and brave men and I’ve become really good friends with them. The girls are all pretty and lovely. Some are clever and wiser than me have become particularly close friends of mine. With companions such as Nyanko and Totoro (both anime characters), my life is therefore enriched and I don’t feel alone.

University entrance exams in China are extremely tough, especially so in the centre of the city of  Jiangsu where I lived a grey and bleak high school life. Because my commute to school was so far away from home, I had to rent an apartment. Without a TV or mobile phone, I was disconnected from the world. Everyday from morning to night, I did nothing but study in earnest. My parents were divorced, and I was away from my friends. I didn’t know anyone around and felt afraid and lonely.  However, in the darkest of nights, a new dawn would surely greet me. The arrival of Nyanko and Natsume into my life appeared like a ray of light before me. Japanese anime changed me. It gave me newfound hope and courage.

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After passing the university entrance exam I came across the anime series Natsume’s Book of Friends and soon fell in love with it. I was completely obsessed with the anime world of Takashi Natsume. “We met too late”, “Such a shame”, “If only we had met earlier”, I lamented.

Unlike Takashi I was not able to see ghosts and spirits, but I totally understood how he felt. Most people are like him, each in our world, with someone like Nyanko looking over them. I no longer felt alone.

After coming across Japanese anime that was so impressive and powerful, I really wanted to become like one of the main protagonists depicted in them. I wanted to be the brave, kind hero. My heart began to burst with love, and a desire to be surrounded by harmony. Whatever hardships and difficulties I came across, I wanted to be one of those people who never gives up.

I think the people who love Japanese anime are often spiritual and lonely souls. The world of anime makes us aware of our place in the world. It can empower us and help us strive to do our best. Japanese anime is quite different from Chinese animation in its power to motivate us. Of course, our worlds are our own that only we ourselves can understand. However, regardless of whether we call it “Home”, everyone becomes an important companion or friend. And that’s why I fell in love with Japanese anime.”

What anime series or movie has enriched your life? Tell us in the comments.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Record China via Jin
Top image: Amazon Japan (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert image: Natsume’s Book of Friends official website