Minami Funakoshi senior contributor

Chinese Web Users React to Japanese Election Results With Anger, Disappointment

Japanese Prime Minister-elect Shinzo Abe also held the post in 2006-2007. (Wikimedia Commons)

On Sunday, Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) returned to power, winning 294 of the 480 seats in the lower house of the nation’s parliament, which is empowered to choose the nation’s Prime Minister. Ex-prime minister Shinzo Abe, who held the position in 2006-2007, will thus lead the country once again as its seventh prime minister in six years.

Anger, disappointment saturate Chinese Web

The news of Abe’s inauguration has triggered over 166,000 comments in the past twenty-four hours on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform in China. Many of them emphasise Abe’s “hard-line” policy toward China: “Abe… declared that once in office, [he] will increase the number of staff, equipment, and budget of the Self Defence Force, strengthen maritime security, and elevate the status of the Self Defence Force to [a full-scale national military],” tweeted @搜狐视频.

In response to such comments, Chinese web users expressed anger, disappointment, and nationalism. One web user, @承霖在奋斗的路上, denounced Abe as a jianren, a harsh Chinese term which roughly translates as “cheap slut.”

“Although the election result basically had no sense of suspense, I was still hoping for an unexpected result…but in the end, you came back,” @syy愿鲁且愚 sighed in dismay. Yet another web user @正诚直实 roared, “A test for the [Chinese] government’s determination to protect its country and punish severely the Japanese pirates for their aggressive attitude for the sake of 300,000 innocent departed spirits [referring to Japan forces’ massacre of civilians in the Chinese city of Nanjing during World War 2]. Homeland, you have 1.3 billion patriotic soldiers behind your back.”

Clouds on the horizon

The LDP’s election victory represents a sharp turn to the right that could further strain Japan’s relationship with China, a relationship which has suffered from renewed tensions in recent months as the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands heats up. In a television interview on Sunday, Abe declared, “We must strengthen our alliance with the U.S. and also improve relations with China, with a strong determination that is no change in the fact the Senkaku islands are our territory.” He continued, “China is challenging the fact that (the islands) are Japan’s inherent territory. Our objective is to stop the challenge.

Abe’s rhetoric has not always been so strident. In an article in the September issue of Bungeishunju, a renowned Japanese monthly magazine, titled “Toward the New Nation” that outlines his political standpoint, Abe dismissed Japan’s waging war against China as an “unrealistic worry” and emphasized the need for China and Japan to maintain a favorable economic and strategic relationship. In response to a video broadcast on state-run China Central Television that reported on Abe’s stance toward Sino-Japanese relations, Weibo user @神来我走 commented, “We should strike them.”

Such belligerent calls for war against Japan shook the Web this August and September when the Japanese government announced its decision to purchase the disputed islands from the Japanese family that held the title deed. Some Chinese web users went as far as to debate the plausibility of a Third World War incited by the island controversy.

What seemed to be a mostly hypothetical argument just a few months ago, however, is becoming growingly immediate. As both China and Japan escalate their claims over the islands through air and naval patrols and Chinese web users call out to the nation to prepare for an “inevitable” war, the prospect of conflict looms large.

“My friends and relatives are stocking up on candles and food,” a Chinese citizen, who wished to remain anonymous, told Tea Leaf Nation. “They believe a war will erupt between China and Japan” this Friday, the Mayan “Doomsday.”

It is, of course, overwhelmingly likely that humanity will survive the weekend. But the prospects for Sino-Japanese relations—and thus the stability of Asia—will remain grim.

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Minami Funakoshi

After spending her childhood in India, Malaysia, and Japan, Minami moved to the U.S. to attend Yale University. Currently, she is studying abroad in Beijing and Taipei to improve her Chinese. She will work as an editorial intern at the Wall Street Journal Hong Kong Office through the Robert L. Bartley Fellowship Program.
  • Archie

    The Chinese lust for Japanese blood is sickening. Violence solves nothing, why is war the only good option for so many people out there?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.engel.tsukuba Alan Engel

    To call Abe’s victory a sharp turn to the right is an overstatement. It was more a rejection of an incompetent DPJ than an affirmation of Abe’s right wing. The silver lining is that ultranationalist Ishihara is out of the running, probably permanently. That Abe’s LDP and Komeito won more than 320 seats means that they do not need Ishihara for anything. And Ishihara is already needlessly alienating Abe and the LDP. While Abe may be a nationalist, he is far less inflammatory than Ishihara.

  • nqk123

    For some reason, I have a very strong feeling that China have others motive. I waiting to see China’s true intentions.

  • DW

    “The Chinese lust for Japanese blood is sickening”? really? you don’t see where this blood lust is coming from? agree with the rest of your statement that it solves nothing. but surely the blood balance there weigh heavy on china’s side

    • Tyranipocrit

      we know exactly where it comes from-but time to move on. It didn’t happen you or your parents and very very very few of your grandparents. Most japanese know nothing about it. get over it. Ancient history has nothing to do with today. NOTHING. Do you think the jews go around hating the germans. No. The nazia dont represent all the german people anymore than bush represents all of america. We hate bush–educated people anyways. Japan hating is as irrational and hateful and stupid as dommsaday cults buying candles. Down syndrome comes to mind.

      • Archie

        Move on. Its hard to move on when your education system, television and government propaganda continually,portrays Japan as such an evil place full of sick people that you would be crazy if you didn’t want to kill them.

  • guest

    Why is this news? The Chinese are going to be pissed with the Japanese no matter who wins.

  • tangxue

    I’m Chinese, and I have no problem with conservative governments everywhere. Being right wing need not equate hateful provocation.

    By Western standards, all of China’s government is far-right. Yet we do just fine. Love from foreign liberals is completely worthless. Most of the time they’re just people rebelling against the establishment by siding with their country’s rivals. Plus, that sort of thinking spreads. The relationship between China and other East Asian countries should be similar to that of China and Russia. Mutual respect amongst nationalists, not leftists sucking up to foreigners for brownie points.