Japanese writer: China's image twisted by US, Japan




A Japanese writer worries China's image is being twisted by some forces in the United States and Japan, preventing the world from knowing the true China.


Japanese writer and entrepreneur Wanaka Kiyoshi speaks at a seminar held in Beijing at the 26th Beijing International Book Fair, Aug. 23, 2019.

Wanaka Kiyoshi, a writer and entrepreneur who has been visiting China since 1991, says each time he can feel the potential and vitality of the country. He wrote a book entitled "China Saves Japan"; now he has a new book that analyzes China's economic growth based on his own experiences during the past 30 years, as part of the Writing on China by Foreigners project.

"I particularly stressed one reason for China's progress, and that is the peaceful development approach adopted by Chinese government as the base for the country to grow," he said at a seminar held on Aug. 23 during the 26th Beijing International Book Fair.

However, his ideas encountered hard disbelief in Japan. "Three decades ago, the denial of China's reform and opening up started to emerge in several Japanese media and among intellectuals. Since the beginning of the 21st century, anti-China books foreseeing its collapse are all over the bookstores, becoming a big problem in Japanese society, " he said.

The writer pointed out the United States and Japan have similar approaches in regard to their handling of information about China. "In regard to the China-U.S. trade friction, the information I read from the American side is full of hypocrisy and lies," he said.

Wanaka is also concerned about the Hong Kong protests occurring in recent months. "If it is possible, I would love the Hong Kong protesters to read my book. As I wrote, there are certain forces in Japan and the United States wanting to undermine China's peaceful development. I hope the young people in Hong Kong to calm down and not to help the forces seeking to damage their nation."

The author added: "In the past 30 years, what I felt in China are many development elements with the beauty and strength that Japan lacks. This is also the reason why Japan has kept declining in the past 20 years."

The distorted information about China has contributed to as many as 83% Japanese people holding a negative view on China in a recent poll, the writer said. Hence, he plans to continue to write about China to counter the wrong information and messages, the Writing on China by Foreigners project bolstering his courage.

Mark Levine, an American sociology scholar and country music singer, speaks at a seminar held at the 26th Beijing International Book Fair, Aug. 23, 2019. [Photo courtesy of CCTSS.org]

Mark Levine, a sociology scholar and country music singer from the United States, echoed the sentiment, saying he felt the current situation was more severe because how China is being portrayed in foreign information and news stories is far different from the real China.

"An American professor moved to China and talked to me about the country. He said he always read of problems and negative news about China in the New York Times; now, he is in China and has found Chinese people actually live a happy life, enjoying good food, taking walks and shopping. He said it felt like living in two different worlds."

Levine wrote a book called "Stories from My Chinese Journey" in 2013 and published it in 2014 to tell readers about the places he had visited and the people he had met, as well as disclosing what he learned from Chinese philosophy. He also participated in the Writing on China by Foreigners project and planned to publish an upgraded version of "Stories from My Chinese Journey" with more stories from past five years, as the book's copyright had been returned to him.

The Writing on China by Foreigners project was launched worldwide by the Chinese Culture Translation and Studies Support Network (CCTSS.org) of the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), in June 2016 under the guidance of the previous State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China.

It aims to find, fund and publish outstanding works on China by foreigners, including China experts, authors, translators, professors, journalists, publishers, scholars and other noted public figures, aiming to promote cultural communication between China and other countries. The project has completed three phases in the past and has just started a fourth phase.


A seminar is held at the 26th Beijing International Book Fair, Aug. 23, 2019 with attendance of Japanese writer and entrepreneur Wanaka Kiyoshi, American sociology scholar and country music singer Mark Levine, Romanian writer Marina Alm??an and representatives from publishers.