The Chengdu Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party Committee in Chengdu, Sechuan Province, China, recently carried an opinion piece calling for vigilance and claiming that a “hidden political agenda” on the part of Japan is behind the popular character Doraemon, who has even been used as an “ambassador for anime culture” by the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
It seems that the background for this is a sense of crisis over being behind Japan and America in the “soft power” stakes that include anime and movies; however, there have been floods of criticism over this claim, which finds fault with Doraemon, a character loved by many nations including China.
The opinion piece introduced the fact that Doraemon was working as a cultural ambassador for Japan, and that he had been designated as a special ambassador for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid.
On that basis, the article claimed that “The Abe administration is hiding Japan’s history of invasion, and inviting a tense situation internationally”, going on to say that “If Doraemon is supposed to symbolize Japan in the eyes of good people, then the Abe administration is the true face of Japan”. The piece called for people to stop feeling an undue affection for Doraemon.
Still, the article lacked logic given that it did not state specifically what the “political motive” was supposed to mean, nor did it make clear any link between Doraemon and the “political motive”.
The piece, dated September 25 2014, has also been carried on political news websites. Following its publication, there was an influx of critical comments online saying things such as “The writer of this article must be sick in the head”. A Beijing journalist suggested that “Taking a hostile view on everything that is foreign is just the flipside of an inferiority complex regarding the culture and systems of one’s own country”.