Shanghai hot spring facility denies plagiarism charge from Japanese firm

JIJI

A hot spring facility that recently opened in a suburb of Shanghai has drawn plagiarism claims from the operator of a Japanese hot spring hotel chain.

The facility in China, Ooedo Onsen Monogatari, has nothing to do with Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Co., the Japanese company said in a statement. The operator of the Chinese facility maintains that it holds the rights to operate under the name.

The Shanghai facility is very similar in appearance to the original facility in Tokyo’s Koto Ward. Featuring Japanese-style services, the Shanghai facility has open-air baths and relaxation areas with tatami flooring.

The facility also has a section that features Kumamon, the official black bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, and a rental service for traditional Japanese bathrobes.

The Chinese facility is gaining popularity through word of mouth. Its operator has denied the plagiarism claims, saying it has a contract with the Japanese firm to use the name, and disclosing what it claims to be an official certificate from Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari of Japan.

The manager of the Shanghai facility said 14 employees visited Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo for training. The manager said he had heard there would be no problem with such an operation in China.

“We are considering countermeasures with lawyers,” an official of the Japanese firm said.

In China, Japanese-style hot spring facilities are very popular. Gokurakuyu Co., another Japanese hot spring facility operator, also operates in Shanghai.