The recent influx of Chinese immigrants to Japan isn’t limited to businessmen. Chinese intellectuals are also increasingly attracted to Tokyo’s cultural depth.

“Things look similar to what happened a century ago,” said Jia Jia, a Chinese writer now living in Japan, referring to the time when progressive Chinese intellectuals such as Liang Qichao and Lu Xun spent time in Japan absorbing Western ideas. “The difference is that today, the ruling party in China has more extensive interfering capability outside its territory.”

With an increasing number of intellectuals moving to Japan, Jia envisions that the Chinese community might build a Chinese school in Japan using materials not from mainland China, or launch its own independent online media, apps and publishers, away from Chinese state propaganda.