Doraemon, the blue earless robotic cat from the future, super popular in most of Asia, is under attack. Sort of. A Chinese newspaper is positing that the cartoon character is nothing more than a tool for Japan to subvert Chinese culture.
Last Friday, the Chengdu Daily News published an editorial about Doraemon. In it, the writer says that one of Japan’s best cultural exports is nothing more than a “blue fatty”, and that the recent wave of exhibitions across China has a “sinister hidden meaning”.
This isn’t the first time that a Chinese publication has taken issue with a foreign product “subverting” the Chinese public, with publications like People’s Liberation Daily have taken to criticise US-made movies as American propaganda, for example.
The writer seems to be offended by the “hypocrisies” of the various Doraemon exhibitions around China. Citing the themes of the exhibitions, “respect and friendship,” as nothing more than political double speak, the writer says that all the values the cartoon cat portrays is very different from what Japan actually does. The writer at one point says that the cartoon is a veil for Japan to distract from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s actions in office.
Perhaps one of the weirdest things in the editorial is the writer’s definition of culture. The writer explains culture in a way similar to the dictionary definition, “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively,” but then goes on to say that Japan’s history makes Doraemon’s cultural significance suspect. The writer then says that everyone should be wary of Doraemon and understand the historical meaning behind it.
“Doraemon is Japan’s attempt to weaken China’s firm stance on and understanding of history.”
Most of the claims the writer points out do sorta of make sense, if you’re the paranoid type. Foreign countries have long made comments about the US’s dominance of soft power, and Doraemon’s success across Asia is definitely soft power at its best.
Chinese netizens, part of the demographic this article was meant to reach, don’t seem amused by this attack on a pillar of their childhood. One netizen even wrote: “the writer should move to North Korea, it’s the actual heavenly kingdom (a sarcastic term for how great China is).”
成都日报评论：警惕哆啦A梦蒙蔽我们的双眼[Chengdu Daily via Sina.com]