China Focus: Chinese pray for safety of Japanese cartoonists
BEIJING, Mar 15, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
Famed Japanese cartoonist Aoyama
Gosho has imagined many forms of death in his series Detective
Conan, but after Friday's massive earthquake struck off the
northeast coast of Japan, leaving more than 2,400 people dead and
tens of thousands more missing, the mystery over whether he is
safe has raised concern amongst his Chinese fans.
"I hope he is OK," said 29-year-old Liu Jia from Beijing.
"Please, be safe and sound. He hasn't told us the ending of Conan
Lists of Japanese celebrities with safety concerns were
circulated on the Internet Monday. According to the lists, Yuko
Shimizu, designer of Hello Kitty, was among the suspected dead,
while Aoyama Gosho was deemed missing.
Although these lists have not been confirmed by Japanese
authorities, the news was published on the Chinese Internet
portals, like Sohu.com, as well as in a mobile newspaper received
by many mobile users.
"This is not official news and I'd rather believe it's not
true," said 31-year-old Xu Duo in Beijing. She is a fan of Hello
Kitty and even her computer keyboard, mouse and MSN signature bear
the image of this little cat.
"Hello Kitty and Conan were like my friends who had accompanied
me for more than a decade," said Xu.
"I was totally shocked after hearing the news," said a netizen
nicknamed Weixiaoshao, who founded a Conan fan group in 2006 on
Douban.com, a Chinese website for film and book reviews. The group
now has over 20,500 members.
"I checked on the official website of Gosho but there was still
no information from him," he said.
In the Detective Conan series, the hero, a middle school
student with a girlfriend, drank a magical potion and reverted
back to childhood.
"We want to see him grow up again and reunite with his
girlfriend," he said.
Liu Jia admitted that the Japanese cartoon was a way for her to
learn about Japanese culture. "From the cartoons, I learnt that
Japanese were hard-bitten. The cartoon was a bridge for me to get
close to Japan in some way."
Last September and October, Xiaokang magazine, published by the
same press as Qiushi, a flagship magazine of the Communist Party
of China, conducted a survey among people aged 15 to 35 across
According to the survey, 67.75 percent admitted that at the
mention of "Japan" or "Japanese," they first thought of the
historical relations between China and Japan. In another question,
only 9.1 percent of the respondents expressed fondness toward
Experts see cultural exchange as a way to improve the
relationship between the neighboring countries.
"After China and Japan established diplomatic ties, the
cultural exchange had given a boost to the two nations'
relationship," said Liu Jiangyong, a professor in the studies of
Sino-Japanese relationship with the Institute of International
Studies of the Tsinghua University.
At that time, Professor Liu noted, many Japanese teleplays were
welcomed by Chinese audiences and those born in the 1980s and
1990s grew up reading Japanese novels and watching Japanese
Cui Rong, who was born in 1986, loved one Japanese cartoon so
much that he chose to work in the Qicaiyangguang Cartoon Art
Center with the Anhui Publication Group.
"The Japanese cartoon carried inspiration which went beyond
borders," he said. "The cartoonists were like acquaintances to
whom you would pay constant attention without considering the two
countries' diplomatic relations and national sentiments."
Columnist Li Kaisheng said that, to some extent, the quake
could help improve relations between China and Japan. "The spirit
of helping and caring for each other in hard times would
undoubtedly draw feelings of closeness between Chinese and
Japanese," he said.
An online poll on ifeng.com showed that about 80 percent of the
70,000 netizens to respond said that China should give timely help
to Japan after the quake.
"I feel really sad for the Japanese people," said netizen
Weixiaoshao. "I hope they could be adamant and optimistic, as
depicted in Japanese cartoons."
As for Aoyama Gosho, he said, "Conan has a chant: 'there is
only one truth.' Before we know the Gosho's situation, any guess
would be meaningless. Let's just pray for him."
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