I'm setting up the apartment and acquiring the little odds and ends we need, so I let him know that all of our coffee mugs in Zibo will be "Hello, Kitty" coffee mugs. "Hello, Kitty" is a Japanese creation and she's maintained high popularity with several generations of little girls. I get one free coffee mug with every box of instant coffee I buy at the local mall. Coffee is most readily available in little individual pre-mixed packs of coffee, whitener and sugar. The coffee I get with my "Hello Kitty" mug has just coffee and creamer with no sugar and it's not bad at all, really.
The nation that once ruled Korea and parts of China "with a brutal hand" went within the span of 50 years from committing horrific atrocities, to being the world's chief purveyor of cute. I've always found that dichotomy fascinating and a bit unsettling.
China-Japan relations are very frosty right now. It reminds me of when Americans didn't want to say "French fries" when France refused to help topple Saddam Hussein.
According... to Hengdian World Studios [in a 17 day period of filming] a total of 10,846 “Japanese devils” have been “killed” in productions....
Even though many Chinese citizens have good reason to harbor resentment against Japan, the depiction of heroic Chinese soldiers defending the motherland from the Japanese devils has roused as much derision as anger, because of the "over-the-top" style of the dramas.
Clearly the TV stations know that they're on safe ground with the government when they produce this kind of show. Part of this hostility to Japan at the highest levels has to do with a territorial dispute over a small island. But as we know, governments believe that their citizens can be distracted from criticizing their own leaders if they are given someone else to hate.
If the "Hello Kitty" merchandise disappears from the stores, then I'll know something really serious is happening. So I'll be sure to keep collecting so I'll have plenty for when Ross gets here.