• Kyodo

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A Kyoto-themed shopping complex in China’s northeastern port city of Dalian suspended operations late last week amid growing criticism on the internet that Japan has been engaging in a “cultural invasion,” state-run media reported.

The Global Times, a daily tabloid of the ruling Communist Party, said that there was controversy over Tang Little Kyoto, a shopping complex modeled on Japan’s ancient capital, as Dalian was “previously colonized and deeply traumatized by the Japanese invasion.” The complex was just opened in late August and had become a popular tourist spot.

Japanese culture has grown more popular in China in recent years. Many Chinese, however, are thought to harbor generally negative feelings about Japan as a result of anti-Japanese education from the Communist-led government, foreign affairs experts said.

“Could it be another form of cultural invasion? We should raise the alarm,” the newspaper quoted a social media user as saying.

In September 2020, a Japanese-style shopping street modeled on Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district opened in China’s southern province of Guangdong, but it was forced to be reformed under increasing criticism.

The shopping complex in Dalian, costing about 6 billion yuan ($927 million), was developed by a local real estate agency in the city, according to the Global Times.

The newspaper quoted the operator of the “Little Kyoto” venue as saying that trial operations had ended and it will tackle problems that emerged in the process.

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