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'Golden horde' of Chinese shoppers descend on Japan

78 Comments

The exodus of tourists from China during the lunar new year holiday began from Feb 19. This year the number of visitors from the Middle Kingdom is expected to set new records.

"In addition to the depreciation of the Japanese yen, the range of consumer items eligible for duty free sales has been expanded to consumables such as foodstuffs and cosmetics," a journalist based in Beijing tells Shukan Bunshun (Feb 26). "What's more, from January the restrictions for issuing of tourist visas to Japan have been relaxed. These are likely to set off a 'visit Japan' boom in China.

"The local media in China is predicting a huge increase over last year, perhaps as much as doubling," he adds.

Caravans of sightseeing buses have reportedly been parked along the street called Sakai-suji in the southern part of Osaka. On any given day, at least five buses are parked there, some even double- or triple-parked, interfering with the flow of traffic. Most of the buses are leased for shopping tours by Chinese tourists to Osaka's famous Shinsaibashi covered shopping street.

A local taxi driver says the congestion problem is compounded by shoppers who disregard the buses' preset departure times, resulting in more buses piling up.

Most of the shoppers are steered to small, Chinese-owned duty free shops, stacked to their ceilings with electric rice cookers, electric shavers, watches and cosmetics. After visiting several similar shops the tourists are allowed time for their own free activities, which often descend into disordered forays into local shops.

Are these kinds of frenzies, the magazine asks, really contributing to Japan's economic well being?

A writer familiar with China says that the typical travel pattern from China is a package tour of five nights and six days to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, which sells for the equivalent of 150,000 to 170,000 Japanese yen. ("But some super-cheap deals can be had for around 40,000 yen.")

"The guides receive kickbacks for taking customers to certain shops," he adds.

Apparently the items currently in high demand at the stores are bidet-type toilets.

"According to Chinese, the items produced in their own country aren't reliable. While TOTO-brand toilets are sold in China, perhaps out of concerns that they might be counterfeits, people prefer to buy them in Japan.

"Another popular item is TOTO's Portable Washlet," he says.

The deluge of Chinese visitors to Hokkaido from the end of 2014 has led to considerable crush on facilities at Sapporo's Chitose Airport.

"Although Feb 13 was a weekday, the international terminal was mobbed with departing Chinese," an airport employee tells the magazine. "They were pushing baggage carts piled high with rice cookers and various food items. The hand-carry baggage security inspectors were so overwhelmed, one flight to Shanghai was delayed more than one hour."

Non fiction author Keiko Kawazoe tells Shukan Bunshun most of the purchases carried back to China are either resold, or given to people as bribes.

"'Sightseeing,' in the mind of Japanese, is to go someplace and enjoy beautiful scenery and tasty food," Kawazoe says. "But for Chinese, the main purpose is just to buy as much as they can carry back, which they will resell or pass along to people as bribes. Watching them always eating at the same Chinese restaurant in Kyoto, irrespective of their length of stay, suggests to me that the only reason they come here is to shop."

Kawazoe noted that one store in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture which specializes in sales of famous "Nambu Tekki" (hand-crafted iron kettles), as a proactive move before a Chinese tour group arrives, goes so far as to take down its best items of merchandise from the shelves and conceal them, fearing they will either be shoplifted or left smudged with customer fingerprints.

Kawazoe thinks that such customers need to be instructed in the rules for proper shopping, and served warning by sales staff if they fail to follow proper protocol.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

78 Comments
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The paranoia and xenophobia is alive and well.

8 ( +24 / -16 )

When we had our trip to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza and dined in the mall's food court, the place was packed with Chinese tourists. My brother and I were saddened by the fact that despite instructions written were literally distributed everywhere pleading "Please return all your dishes from the stores where you bought them" with translations in Chinese, the Chinese tourists just ignored them and left all their used dishes on the dining tables including rubbish on the floors. You can clearly distinguish whether the dining tables were used by either Japanese or Chinese. :(

21 ( +28 / -7 )

I had a student a few years back visit Hawaii for a three night/four day package deal. Upon returning home, i asked her did she enjoy the beaches, she never stepped foot on them. She went to shop and go to an esthetic salon. As for eating, the hotel she stayed at had a Japanese restaurant and it was part of the package deal, so she ate their most of the time. Not much of a difference with their Chinese cousins, is there now!

23 ( +32 / -9 )

You'd soon feel it hit your coffers, if they all stopped coming. What a horrid article.

17 ( +26 / -9 )

Non fiction author Keiko Kawazoe...

She's an author of non-fiction, it must be true!

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Wealthy societies always love to see themselves as so civilized and they quickly forget their past and even their present.

20 ( +30 / -10 )

One has to ask and wonder out of all this influx of Chinese how many will leave and how many will stay involuntarily? There are many Chinese these days around Tokyo and try to pass off as Japanese. I counted 5 our 1 Japanese in several areas of Tokyo just recently. China did have a plan to populate many cities around the world as a means of inner expansion. Is this what they meant and using tourism to accomplish their goals?

-18 ( +11 / -29 )

Like MarkX said, doesn't sound much different than Japanese in Waikiki. Instead of complaining about people who are contributing to your economy, how about trying to figure out how to fix the problems? There is a record number of tourists, of course that means that something needs to change to accommodate them.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Japan is welcoming Chinese tourists. This article does not represent Japanese sentiments.

-15 ( +13 / -29 )

tinawatanabe Feb. 16, 2015 - 05:50PM JST

I've never claimed my opinion represent the Japanese.

tinawatanabe Feb. 22, 2015 - 09:05AM JST

This article does not represent Japanese sentiments.

15 ( +21 / -8 )

Bear in mind, the Chinese aren't trying to be rude. It's their culture and how they gotta survive in their country. They have to fight more for what they want. Their economic Boom was a laws be damned Wild West expansion, in Japan everything is tightly maintained and measured out in small doses.

The tourist and the local have to understand each other. We didn't grow up under the same conditions.

17 ( +26 / -9 )

Leave it to people to put a negative spin on a positive story. Who cares what Chinese do with their shopping? It's revenue in a poor Japanese economy. It should be embraced with both arms. Plus, the Chinese experience of interacting with Japanese, which is generally positive, will improve sentiment in China at the grassroots level.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

blvtzpak

I'm flattered you pay so much attention to me, but the two sentences mean different things. Gokuro sama.

-20 ( +9 / -29 )

Plus, the Chinese experience of interacting with Japanese, which is generally positive, will improve sentiment in China at the grassroots level.

I believe you. I've seen many instances of Japanese people going out of their way to be helpful to tourists, yes even Chinese ones! Okay, so they do a lot of moaning about "that lot" in private (oh boy do they moan!), but at least they keep their thoughts to themselves around the tourists.

I do feel that lack of spoken English or other languages is a hurdle, though.

12 ( +13 / -2 )

I wonder how the lining up and waiting for things like taxi's, busses or trains is going on. I am sure that would be alone an interesting article. Even McDonald's would feel the rush! Waiting to get on rides at Disneyland also would be interesting to observe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the shoppers are steered to small, Chinese-owned duty free shops, stacked to their ceilings with electric rice cookers, electric shavers, watches and cosmetics

Wonder where they copied that idea from?

16 ( +17 / -2 )

I just thumbed up tinawatanabe, which is a first. Japan does welcome Chinese tourists, particularly the money they bring. Most Japanese are quite happy to see them come here, and probably even happier to see them at arm's distance. But yeah, they mainly come here to shop, not to appreciate Japan's unique culture.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Bear in mind, the Chinese aren't trying to be rude.

Neither am I when I push them out of the way. Just maintaining the local custom.

You're right - they look surprised then move to the end of the queue.

I'm adding to their overseas experience.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Why complain?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There was something on some crappy morning TV program yesterday about Chinese tourists and it ended with the usual "ranking", this time of the top three things Chinese liked about Japan and the top three things they didn't like. They peeled back the stickers on their boards until finally it got to the no.1 thing they didn't like and it was...... "なし"!!

Err, so isn't the no.2 thing the no.1 thing then....??

6 ( +9 / -3 )

"...which often descend into disordered forays into local shops."

Sorry, last I checked 'free time' meant just that -- not some 'organized' and militarized shopping schedule.

“‘Sightseeing,’ in the mind of Japanese, is to go someplace and enjoy beautiful scenery and tasty food,”

BS! 'sightseeing' for many Japanese is joining a package tour where they remain inside a Japanese bubble, getting off a large bus just long enough to take pictures of a place and even wait to eat their food until after pictures of it are taken, then rush home and THEN 'enjoy' the sightseeing through the pictures. Japanese tours are so packed and regimented I don't know how people can see them but anything as an element of stress, unless the people like to be told how to do everything and how to enjoy it.

tinawatanabe: blvtzpk is pointing out the fact that you ALWAYS come on here and say "the Japanese this, and the Japanese that" and then when criticized for your generalizations claim that you do not speak for Japanese when you always try to. Proof of that is in his quoting of you where you, yet again, say "Japanese are this way..." and speak on behalf of all Japanese people.

"Japan is welcoming Chinese tourists. This article does not represent Japanese sentiments."

Don't deny it (again). And the fact that you try and deflect from the disgusting tone of many Japanese in this article and in life here is also quite telling of your character. People like this moron writer Keiko are racist and don't deserve the livelihood and good fortune they have -- which is supplemented by the shoppers she's insulting. All week I've heard Japanese people do nothing but complain about the swell in Chinese shoppers and in the VERY SAME breath say things like, "Chinese people better start liking Japan!" while they insult them! You, too, are doing this with your demands for praise over "welcoming" Chinese shoppers. If you were to see this, admit it, and try to change your attitude and self-entitlement you might actually get some of the praise you currently demand in return, and it would be genuine.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Before even reading the comments the first thing that popped into my mind was Honolulu. Definitely a healthy dose of hypocrisy here.

You could pretty much swap out every instance of 'Chinese' in this article and replace it with 'Japanese,' and the same for 'Osaka' and 'Honolulu.'

Most tourists from Japan to Honolulu go there on Japanese tour group packages, fly in on Japanese airlines, stay in Japanese-owned hotels and ride around town on the ubiquitous JTB buses, shop in the recommended stores buying items from the Mappuru Hawaii magazine (http://goo.gl/QNJUKn) list of suggested purchases, with a Japanese tour guide never far out of reach.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

So what if they come to shop? There's a reason why tour companies like HIS and JTB whisk Japanese tourists to Galleria abroad - yes, to force them to shop.

9 ( +9 / -1 )

I don't think I like Keiko Kawazoe very much! And Japan sorely needs this influx of tourists. But I do hope that in the future they will take time to venture beyond the main tourist spots and do more leisurely activities like skiing, hiking etc.

14 ( +15 / -2 )

So what if they come to shop?

@Pukey I fully agree. I for one am thrilled to have Japanese visitors in Honolulu when I am there. Likewise, I welcome the many visitors to Japan that are now here from China and elsewhere with open arms, whether they come here to shop, experience the culture, embark on adventure, or all of the above.

There were many out and about in my local area today, pumping money into the economy and adding vibrancy to the area. In fact, my son mentioned it about an hour ago, and I told him about this article.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Chinese Singaporeans, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese are every bit as scathing in their appraisal of their bumpkin cousins off-putting manners as the even more fastidious Japanese are. If throwing a light onto some of the uncouth practices of these arrivistes results in changes for the better, don't care a jot if these narikin marauders get Japanese danders up.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Oh my gosh! The Chinese have a little free time to actually GO ABOUT AS THEY PLEASE?! This is 'omotenashi' -- "Shou ga nai! 'Welcome'! Please hurry up and make sure you buy something. You can't possibly do it in the uniquely Japanese way, but we will help you by telling you what you should buy, and how. Then please hurry up and leave."

People like this Keiko Kawazoe live off the economy as well as contribute to it, and the Chinese are supplementing her, the people of Japan besides her, and the nation as a whole by coming here and spending money. They should not be welcomed with 'conditions' and told how to shop, and for they hypocrites on here there is NO difference between this and Japanese tours abroad, or even domestic tours where the JTB bus stops at certain rest stops with certain souvenir shops (and the companies get kickbacks for bringing them!).

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Apparently the items currently in high demand at the stores are bidet-type toilets.

nice to know that no matter what cultural differences or historical tensions, we all like to have squeaky clean bums

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Why are the Japanese complaining about what the Chinese tourists do when the Japanese tourists do the exact same? That's a rhetorical question by the way.

Obviously Japan isn't really welcoming to them, but I thought even at that, it was a positive thing that they spent money in Japan and bought Japanese things. i think it is a compliment to Japan, on top of helping the economy there. Isn't that why they want to promote people to tour there in the first place? So when I read that even that is not good enough according to the Japanese, and that they're blaming these tourists for something out of their control (like the traffic), it makes me wonder what they actually want. For sure it's not about wanting these tourists to go "sightseeing" (by Keiko Kawazoe's definition) instead of just shopping (and "reselling and bribing"-yeah bribing people with bidet toilets, that's a new one) because if that were truly to happen, I think there would be more criticisms of these tourists. Could you just imagine Chinese tourists "sightseeing" in Japan? I mean they already don't like them when they're shopping in tourist traps where there is minimal interaction with the locals.

They want the tourist money, not the tourist. "Cool Japan".

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It is an overwhelming good for "golden hordes" of Chinese to visit Japan or Korea or Europe or America or just about any other place on the globe, and all the better if they buy a lot of stuff. Let us not forget that in between buying stuff and eating they also get exposed to all sorts of sights, sounds, and influences. Let us not forget that the Chinese tourists have choices of destinations especially as more and more acquire the wherewithal to travel outside greater China.

I lived in Japan (mostly Kansai) for several years, and in addition to large groups, there are an increasing number of small groups, couples, singletons who are independent. Speaking to them (I have also lived in China and Taiwan), I can tell that they are, for example, quite thrilled to have gone to Kiyomizudera, and willing to drop into small shops on the Sannenzaka, and grateful that a Ganko Nijoen is happy to provide a Chinese menu for their fare.

So, yes, there are Chinese tourists who are boorish, just like a few Koreans, Americans, Aussies, Europeans, and even (OMG) Japanese. But the overwhelming number of foreign tourists jus want to enjoy themselves. That is a great thing.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I am thankful to JT for posting this article because it informs the English-speaking community in Japan about prevalent attitudes in Japan and current after-hours topics of discussion, based on what many Japanese people are reading.

This is a synopsis of an article published in Shukan Bunshun, which is fairly mainstream and considered somewhat respectable in Japan (it has no risque photos unlike nearly all other weeklies, targets middle-aged white-collar workers with reasonable incomes, features dignified 'New Yorker' style front covers, is found in many doctor's office waiting rooms, etc.). If interested, here is a good description of the weekly from the book "A Public Betrayed" about the Japanese media: http://goo.gl/7RAiux

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Jimizo

Sorry, slightly wrong link above. Here is the link specifically to the section in "A Public Betrayed" about Shukan Bunshun: http://goo.gl/YVmtHQ

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You could pretty much swap out every instance of 'Chinese' in this article and replace it with 'Japanese,' and the same for 'Osaka' and 'Honolulu.' Most tourists from Japan to Honolulu go there on Japanese tour group packages, fly in on Japanese airlines, stay in Japanese-owned hotels and ride around town on the ubiquitous JTB buses, shop in the recommended stores buying items from a list of suggested purchases, with a Japanese tour guide never far out of reach"

Couldn't agree more , I spent my University years working part time int he tourism industry in Australia focused on the Japanese and it was EXACTLY the same...Japanese tour guides would shuttle the sheep from one J -owned shop to another forbidding the tourists from visiting local supermarkets that were next door telling them they,d be ripped off ( when in fact you could buy the same kind of " omiyage" there for half the price.

" Sightseeing in the mind of Japanese is to go enjoy beautiful scenery and tasty food " Kawazoe says.

Lol...stop with the superiority complex please....the first and foremost thing on the minds of majority of the tourists I worked with was to make sure they had the right kind of omiyage for everyone back home, seeing beautiful scenery from the bus window and eating tasty " local " food from a pre determined local restaurant that paid the required commission ( 30 % for JTB was the rate ) was a side bonus. No different from the Chinese now that the shoe is on the other foot.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@hampton: they mainly come here to shop, not to appreciate Japan's unique culture.

It's not that unique when so much of Japanese culture had its origins in 8th century China. Modern Chinese tourists definitely should come to Japan to get a taste of their lost culture in Nara and Kyoto.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Sensato Thanks for the link - much appreciated and I'll check it out.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

hampton: "But yeah, they mainly come here to shop, not to appreciate Japan's unique culture."

First, if they come here to shop, who cares? It's their prerogative. Second, how is that different with Japanese trips for shopping, and please don't suggest they do not make such trips. Third, why should they 'come here to appreciate Japan's unique culture'? HOPEFULLY anyone who comes here or travels elsewhere for that matter, finds things they can appreciate and respect about the place and people in the place they are visiting. But to suggest that be a reason to go somewhere is the PROBLEM with the way Keiko Kawazoe, tinawatanabe, and many others thing -- like they should be appreciated first and foremost, that the culture be viewed as unique, and that even though they cannot possibly be Japanese they should only buy or do things the way the Japanese view outsiders as doing. This whole "You must come and like me!" (and I have no doubt there are news crews going around asking what the tourists like about the people and Japan most) is rubbish. You don't get appreciation without earning it, and you don't earn it through a sense of self-entitlement.

(from article) "Kawazoe noted that one store in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture which specializes in sales of famous “Nambu Tekki” (hand-crafted iron kettles), as a proactive move before a Chinese tour group arrives, goes so far as to take down its best items of merchandise from the shelves and conceal them, fearing they will either be shoplifted or left smudged with customer fingerprints."

The fact that she seems proud of this is pretty telling of the racism and double standards of this kind of thinking. Japanese people do the exact same thing as Chinese in this regard, except the shoplifting -- which is paranoia to begin with. If Japanese people were 'welcomed' to other nations with such contempt they would be up in arms (once they got home), so why can't they see that is what the are doing unless it is simply a matter of arrogance and some misguided idea that they are culturally superior?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Sensato@Sorry but "A Public Betrayed" is a hatchet job done on the Japanese magazine industry, bought and paid for by one of Japan's "new religions" that has constantly (and well deservedly) been the subject of the magazines' attacks. I would not give that book any credibility whatsoever.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Wow, just wow, this article so condescending and superior minded, looking down on the Chinese tourists that are feeding Japan's economy. I look at the author of the article, and yeap, it's a Japanese writer... big surprise..not. So the Chinese are shopping in Japan to replace their inferior goods and use the superior Japanese goods to use them as bribes in China? Cool story! But try not to let this get into your pride/hate filled head. Japan is not even a top ten destination for Chinese tourists, compared to other some Asian countries. Japan doesn't even get that many Chinese tourists compared to others.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Why are people complaining that the Chinese only come here to shop. Even if that is their main purpose, this country should feel grateful that someone is buying all this merchandise and helping the economy. People have various reasons for touring a country. It could be to enjoy cultural landmarks, eat the food, shop, etc. As long as they're not hurting anyone, they shouldn't be judged for what they choose to do on their vacation. This article is horribly xenophobic.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What does "golden horde" mean anyway?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Big-spending large numbers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

(This, but I remember it because of Norman Spinrad's The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde, a 1970 SF collection.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Horde

The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate, established in the 13th century, which comprised the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

lol.. horde? What horde? I looked up the number of Chinese visitors to Japan, and it was only 2.4 million in 2014. Now compare that to Hong Kong and Macau who get 50 million Chinese annually. In South Korea, 6.3 million Chinese visited, and South Korea's expecting 10 million Chinese by next year. Remember, Hong Kong and Macau are tiny city states, while Japan is three times larger than South Korea. And yet here's Japan, unable to handle a few Chinese stragglers without mainstream media making crackpot shots filled with venom and contempt.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

@turbotsat: thank you for that, I learned a lot! Goodness, the Mongols were a fearsome bunch. Perhaps the title of the article is meant admiringly.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

NHK showed one uber-rich Chinese woman shopping for a house in downtown Tokyo. She found a nice 500 square meter house costing hundreds of millions of yen that she seemed to like.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Actually it was nice to see a whole new set of Chinese shoppers, they seemed much younger and fashionable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Based on what information does she claim that Japanese products are either resold or used as bribes?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Returned from Tokyo & Kyoto in Jan. My biggest complaint was that most of the Chinese visitors were just plain rude & disrespectful. It seems they brought all their bad habits with them, especially at the shrines/temples. I'm sure they don't yell at their family members when they visit their religious monuments in China. Very disturbing for others who wanted to enjoy the serene landscape, respectfully. They cut in front of you, always seem to be yelling (not talking) at their bratty children, and a parent even had their child urinate in a bin (trash??). And yes, I witnessed, the hoard shopping. Buy not 1 or 2, but taking most of the mdse off the shelf. Someone should publish a manual on the do's and don'ts when traveling abroad. I know I read it for Americans traveling to Jpn & Europe. Most Nihonjin feel the same way. Call it a cultural thing? I call it just plain common sense & courtesy. This was the only thing that ruined my trip to Jpn.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@smith: my gosh! The Chinese have a little free time to actually GO ABOUT AS THEY PLEASE?! This is 'omotenashi' -- "Shou ga nai! 'Welcome'! Please hurry up and make sure you buy something. You can't possibly do it in the uniquely Japanese way, but we will help you by telling you what you should buy, and how. Then please hurry up and leave."

You might want to complain to the Chinese travel agencies which sell such tours although they are doing only what they are supposed to do: sell tours which are in demand. Like it or not, the evil Japanese are not the ones telling the Chinese tourists where to go and what to do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

LOL!! The Japanese in this article are so un-sophisticated they cant see themselves in the mirror that is Chinese tourists haha!!

Perhaps these people should look back when the first "hordes" of Japanese were un-leashed onto the outside world for pete's sake! Have these people bothered to figure what JTB has done & DOES now for many many decades LOL!!!

Ok lots of Chinese tourists can be a bit brash(or very LOL!) I live in Narita & my wife works at AEON which has a parking lot with up to 10+ buses at any given time, the stories I hear & a few I see are pretty funny & some are a bit nasty, but eventually the Chinese will settle down & there wont be so much drama, for now just enjoy the show!

AND THE CA$$$$H flowing in DOH!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Lots of negative vibe ( anti-chinese ) in this here article. Especially how Kawazoe mentions shopkeepers hide their merchandise for fear of it being shoplifted.

China has got bank. A new "middle class" in finally emerging from within china. Japanese ought to be thankful that money is being pumped into their economy. Who cares what they do with the purchased merchandise when they return to china.

It cracks me up when (here in japan) chinese are looked down on. In southern CA, where i come, Chinese are well-educated, mannered, drive luxury cars and really financially successful.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Two years ago I visited the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province. It's not quite regarded with the same reverence as the Vatican, but one would react with some respect and awe to a religious shrine that's influenced Chinese thinking for the past 2,500 years. I have to admit I was shocked to see the natives strolling about the temple flinging cigarette butts and expectorating fruit skins and seeds on the paving stones as they conducted their sightseeing. No one attempted to dissuade them of the practice and as far as I could tell no signs were present to implore them to refrain from littering. (I was briefly tempted to do as the Romans do, but decided to abstain.) But some of them came up and offered me some of their fruit, so I must say I found them engaging and friendly --- just not fastidious. I guess you can't have everything.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I can say that even the Chinese government admits there is a MAJOR perception issue of tourists from the country. That's why they recently started a major promotional campaign to advise Chinese citizens who are going on tourist trips to foreign countries to act in a more civilized and responsible manner.

I do think once the Chinese figure out how to avoid something like the old Ugly American tourist stereotype, they will be far more welcome around the world as tourists. And that will be a huge boon for even Japan, where shopkeepers in the omiyage business could do huge amount of business selling to Chinese tourists down the road.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

With all due respect to Japan Today, this was a pathetic article. It was an "agenda piece", one where the writer (and the editor, likely) started out with a premise and then went and wrote an article to fit that premise.

It is no secret that Chinese tourism to Japan has been increasing in recent years. It is also no secret that there may be times when these tourists are not aware of local customs and/or may behave differently from the way Japanese do when they travel domestically (as opposed to when they travel internationally, for that is another matter).

That said, it is also no secret that this has been a boon to Japan, that the consumption tax increase last year impacted the economy, and that drop in the value of the yen has made travel to Japan ever more affordable.

The write could have chosen to written a piece about the positive effects of this trend on the Japanese economy, on the increase in spending and the increase in visitors. Sure, they could have mentioned the issues that come with that, but those could have also been put into perspective, not dissimilar to the travel habits of any country that is newly wealthy and experiencing overseas tourism in large numbers for the first time.

But, no, this had to be a piece that went for the negative, that evoked, frankly, racist images and portrayed Japan as an arrogant, begrudging recipient of these tourists.

While there may be some business owners out there that have had bad experiences and some Japanese that are apprehensive about this influx of tourists, I am certain that they are in the minority. My guess is that the vast majority of Japanese business owners and individuals that deal with these tourists are grateful for the business, recognise that there are some challenges that may come with it, and hope that the business continues in the future and that the local customs that are unfamiliar may become familiar over time. And undoubtedly willing to provide quotes to that effect if asked.

Now, wouldn't an article written with that premise been far more constructive?! And probably far more reflective of the reality?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@zones

Well said. If they don't want the business, fine...back to worse economic times, then.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

pretty proud of my jtodayers for standing up to xenophobia in japanese media if not racism.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@JaneM

You might want to complain to the Chinese travel agencies which sell such tours although they are doing only what they are supposed to do: sell tours which are in demand. Like it or not, the evil Japanese are not the ones telling the Chinese tourists where to go and what to do

I think one thing happening here is that Chinese tourists in Japan are getting bashed for their behaviour because they're in these big tour groups (I was in the big BicLo store in Shinjuku today and to be honest it was absolute carnage with all the Chinese tour groups in there!). But it's the same with big tour groups everywhere, whatever their origin.

While there are in fact more Korean tourists visiting Japan than Chinese, they travel independently - without any need for a visa - as individuals, couples, and small groups, so they aren't so obvious. On the other hand, the Japanese government only allows visas for Chinese if they pre-book their entire trip through accredited travel agencies, hence the tour groups. So, while it doesn't make them evil(!), Japan's visa rules are to an extent telling the Chinese where to go; or rather, that they have to go there on an organised tour.

If and when the visa rules are relaxed, the numbers of tour buses disgorging huge loads of tourists in the same place at the same time should go down, replaced by a more even and manageable stream, which seems a good idea to me and will hopefully result in the xenophobic nonsense in this article being replaced with an appreciation for the business. Of course it wouldn't mean they (visitors from China) won't all still go to largely the same places; but again, we see that with tourists everywhere. e.g. the Japanese visitors to Seoul who almost always stay in Myeongdong and go shopping at Namdaemun market and ignore the rest of the city, because that's what H.I.S. sold them, and the European backpackers in SE Asia who all go to the same guesthouses and restaurants because that's what their Lonely Planet guides recommended. So I reckon the main issue here, if it is really an issue, is with mass tour groups rather than with Chinese tourists

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"Buying not 1 or two, but almost clearing merchandise from the shelf."

Well, that is good for the Japanese merchant right?

"A mother had their child urinate in a trash bin."

So that is any worse than the salary men all over Japan urinating and puking on the train platforms nightly.

"Their groups are always in the way."

You should be happy large groups are here spending money and supporting Japanese merchants. But as is typical Japanese fashion bite the hand that feeds you because they are not Japanese.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Leave it to people to put a negative spin on a positive story

Tends to happen quite a lot on JT, actually. Anyway, I very much dislike the tone of this article.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"We like their money, but not them".

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If anybody watched Sukkiri on channel 4 this morning, you would have seen this article come to life - they took a look at the huge numbers of Chinese tourists, took a quick look at what they were buying, and then boom - the rest of the piece is devoted to the troublesome behavior/"困った行動" of the Chinese tourists, without offering any constructive solutions. Really frustrating to see.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yoshitsune, I agree with your comment above but cannot see how it is relevant to mine because I was replying tho Smith's bashing the Japanese (he did not specify whether he was criticizing travel agencies or the government or the whole country) while it is indeed the travel agencies in the relevant country which are trying to make a bug. As for the size of the tours and the Japanese visas for Chinese citizens, I cannot see again how you can blame the J government for that. As long as Chinese tourists book a tour (it could be a small-group one) their visas are issued without much hustle. Obviously, the travel agencies selling the tours are trying to maximize their profits (which healthy companies try to do all the time) by organizing big-size tours so how is it Japan's fault? As long as there is demand for such tours the Chinese travel agencies will continue to sell them.

As for the ant-Chinese vibe in the above article, Indeed, it seems to be quite strong but despite such articles, I have not heard businesses in Japan complain about their Chinese clients. Guess though that such articles keep the clicks going and this very one is a good proof of this: it was published yesterday and is on the top of the most popular ones even today.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hi Jane,

Sorry, I didn't mean my post as a rebuttal or argument against yours; it was just that after reading your post I looked up the visa rules for Chinese tourists to Japan, and so I referenced your post as the starting point for my own rambling thoughts.

I do think that if Chinese tourists could visit Japan visa-free, as e.g. Korean tourists do, then the pattern of their visits would be similar to that of Korean tourists i.e. as individuals and small groups of friends and family members. It is true that the Japanese government doesn't set any requirement for tour group size, and it is indeed the Chinese travel agencies making them so large due to the economics of their business. But if the pre-booked tour requirement were dropped for visas, those agencies would be largely cut out and Chinese tourists would be able to visit the same way most other tourists do. I don't think it's really a matter for talking about fault and blame; I'm just suggesting that if the government relaxes the visa rules, it would change the pattern of Chinese visits for the better - that is, better for both the locals here in Japan, and also for the Chinese visitors themselves (independent travel being, in my opinion, far more rewarding than package-tour travel)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

One Japanese friend commented that the tourists are not supporting the economy of Japan because Japan is supporting China's economy and without Japan, the Chinese wouldn't have money to go abroad to spend.

Whichever conclusion you take isn't it good that Japan is suporting China's economy and the tourists are in turn buying Japanese products? Or isn't it a good thing that Japan can support its own economy by helping China's economy and then subsequently Japan itself?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Kawazoe's comments are breathtaking.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"A mother had their child urinate in a trash bin." So that is any worse than the salary men all over Japan urinating and puking on the train platforms nightly.

still doesn't justify public urination of any kind. both parties are wrong.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One Japanese friend commented that the tourists are not supporting the economy of Japan because Japan is supporting China's economy and without Japan, the Chinese wouldn't have money to go abroad to spend

Did you point out to your friend how pompous that sounds? It's a pretty daft claim to make!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well let’s face it no one on earth is going to be behaving like a Japanese, certainly not the Chinese, who are loud, lacks manners and has no experience in queuing etc etc… however having the Chinese visiting japan is a great thing interms of cultural exchange that they get to see beyond the brainwashing propaganda they would get at home from the Chinese media

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan is supporting China's economy and without Japan, the Chinese wouldn't have money to go abroad to spend.

Yeap. Heard similar stuff many times from the Japanese. Typical comment you will hear from Japanese regarding other Asians, thus also explains this editorial.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This article and the resulting letters remind me of the "toilet paper panic" that overtook Japan during the "sekiyu panic" of the early 1970s. Newspaper articles of that era described Japanese tourists descending on department stores in Hong Kong and buying out all of the toilet paper to take back to Japan as omiyage. "They are like locusts" one article quoted a department store clerk in Hong Kong. (It turned out that the shortage of toilet paper in Japan was the result of a rumor that the oil shortage would mean a shortage of toilet paper. Once that rumor got out, every housewife in Japan ran out and bought up all the toilet paper she could find. This caused the stores to be totally empty of toilet paper within 24 hours and the panic was on. A few months later, when I visited my in-laws in Obihiro, Hokkaido and opened their large shed, I found a wall of toilet paper stacked floor to ceiling. When I asked my wife, "What's this?!" she calmly responded, "When my mother heard about the impending scarcity of toilet paper in Japan, she phoned the toilet paper factory."

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Kudos battambang- I've heard such a claim (among others) from an old relative who once worked the US Embassy during that era. Never ceases to amaze me how similar Japanese & Chinese can be @times. . . . . . Looks like china is reaching their golden era finally. Whereas Japan has been stagnant and as a result, they now resent the Chinese more.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I wouldn't call it Japanese resentment, Wc626. I would call it fear, insecurity, racism, confirmation and re-validation that they are still superior.... all mixed into one emotion. This is what I see in this news article. The mentioning of the terrible Chinese tourist manners are just an excuse to bash them.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Two years ago I visited the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province. It's not quite regarded with the same reverence as the Vatican, but one would react with some respect and awe to a religious shrine that's influenced Chinese thinking for the past 2,500 years. I have to admit I was shocked to see the natives strolling about the temple flinging cigarette butts and expectorating fruit skins and seeds on the paving stones as they conducted their sightseeing.

So even in their own country many behave like animals? They may only be half or fewer of Chinese people. There are others that are making efforts to show some class: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150219-the-latest-chinese-status-symbol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

excellen

JapanToday and other English news are all Japan bashers, and that's how they make money.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I dunno . . . . It just seems like the Chinese catch lots of flak here in Japan. Its not right. Why aren't Chinese financially successful here like n' tha states? American dream? Japanese nighmare? Japan is for Japanese only. Shame. US taught Japan capitalism.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Tourists, whatever kind of tourism they are into, or whatever countries they are from, do not always know how to 'properly' behave in their host countries. Most of them do not mean to be rude, unruly or disrespectful. Western European countries welcome the tourists from the east for the money they spend while in private you hear people grumbling about the way the tourists behave. When in Rome do as the Romans do can not always be followed to the letter. Let's cut the Chinese tourists some slack, appreciate their custom and the fact they will take home some impressions of a Japan that is not exactly like their leaders want them to believe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I sort of agree with the article. I don't think the complaint here has anything to do with racism or xenophobia. Racist is driven by race while xenophobia by unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. In my opinion this is a normal case of two cultures that are somewhat different in some very critical aspects. The Japanese culture values harmony in most aspects of society, including personal relationship and citizen behavior. The same, in my opinion, cannot be said for the Chinese culture, and this is not to diminish it in anyway. Now, neither of these two is objectively better, they are just different. Therefore when people of different cultures are mixed together in large numbers there is an obvious cultural friction happening.

In my opinion, as I love Japan for its quite streets, orderly society and general harmony, I can agree that large groups of Chinese tourists, do create a bit of friction, that I myself do not appreciate either. My own personality, like that of many Japanese, tend to be frustrated by loud talking or unruly behavior. Therefore I personally would prefer that to be kept to a minimum. Like most good things, including Chinese spending in Japan, they can be good in small or reasonable doses, and then stop to be good when overdone.

Through the last decade I have noticed that many people from many countries seem to believe that the world would be better off if we all mixed up, toned down our cultural differences, erased our borders and merged into one single country. To me this is a bit like wanting to dilute the great and unique cultures of the world, where one day we will all behave the same, consume the same products, speak the same language, believe in the same values and, have one big religion, one big government and work for one big giant company.

For irony, I find that the same people are always fiery in defending differences on a personal basis, like in gender (male, female, gay, transgender), religion, race, etc.

So I am confused by this trend. They seem to want personal diversity to stay, but cultural diversity to go, like in a futurist world without borders, where sexes are blurred, there is only 1 culture and so on.

So to finish, if, and I say if, the general Japanese population is annoyed by the behavior of large numbers of Chinese tourist, they have the right to be so, because it brushes against their culture. The Chinese also do feel the same when other cultures generate the same friction by going against their customs.

As for the economic impact of tourism, I am very skeptical that a country as economically powerful as Japan (3rd in the world) really need this over-the-top influxes. I think Japan has done well so far and will continue to do so without Chinese tourists.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I met a lovely young family from China here on holidays around the Imperial Palace gardens last weekend. All four were pretty good at English despite never living abroad and the couple's son and daughter were well on their way to speaking Japanese despite their ages of 12 & 9.

We talked about our mutual interest in things Japanese and its many wonderful cultural and scenic attractions for about 20-30 minutes while I helped them out with some photos and a little local information.

They said that they had been in Tokyo for three days and had two more to go. I had been the first person to make any form of conversation with them. I'm not from Japan.

When I related this enjoyable experience to my Monday morning Japanese housewives English class the only response was from two students that said they hate Chinese people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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