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Could none of the producers remember back to 1998?

With Shanghai Disneyland opening last week, the first Disney resort in mainland China is getting a lot of attention from the Japanese media. But while that’s largely a reflection of Japan’s love of cuteness in general and the Disney brand in particular, it seems some Japanese media outlets are scrutinizing the new park for flaws to pick at, lest the Shanghai operation steal any more of Tokyo Disney Resort’s Asian thunder.

Case in point: on June 19, broadcaster Fuji TV’s Mr. Sunday light news program ran a special report on Shanghai Disneyland, coming just three days after the park opened to the general public. During the segment, the Fuji TV presenters made the following statement:

In one of the parades, there is a float featuring non-Disney characters reminiscent of those in [Chinese historical literary classic] The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This is possibly an attempt to appeal to the enormous potential customer base in China.”

The characters in question seem to be the ones seen at the 11:15 mark in this video of the Mickey’s Storybook Express parade, shot inside the Shanghai park.

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To be fair, there’s no denying that the Chinese-themed float has been given a place of special prominence in the festivities. However, none of the costumed performers are dressed as Guan Yu, Cao Cao, Lu Bu, or any of the other Three Kingdoms folk heroes. As a matter of fact, the only character whose name we can be sure of is the one riding the horse…

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…because that’s Mulan, as in the heroine of the Disney movie of the same name.

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Granted, Mulan is in disguise, with her hair done up in a bun and dressed in the armor she uses to pose as a man in the film in which she stars. She’s still very much a Disney character, though, and as one who debuted in theaters in 1998, it’s not like she’s so old as to be slipping into the mists of antiquity that obscure peoples’ memories of Oswald the Rabbit or Clarabelle Cow.

Disney fans quickly called out the program on social media for the flub, with comments including:

“Umm…that’s Mulan.”

“So a Disney film set in China is featured in a parade held in a Disneyland in China. Sounds fine to me.”

“I’m not even that big of a Disney fan, and even I knew right away that that’s Mulan.”

“OK, turn in your broadcaster’s license.”

The viewer backlash was so swift that the program’s producers noticed it before the episode ended, which prompted the following on-air amendment:

“During the video report on Tokyo Disneyland, we stated that some of the characters were not from Disney properties. However, they are actually Disney characters that have been modified to appear more Chinese.”

Of course, that’s not true either. You know, maybe it’s a good thing that Mr. Sunday’s next episode won’t air until next week, because it looks like it might take the program that long to get its facts straight.

Source: Nari Nari, Hachima Kiko, Hamster Sokuho
Images: YouTube/Inside the Magic

Unlike Mulan, Casey really isn’t a Disney character, but you can follow him on Twitter anyway.