Residents of the Japanese city, Kyoto, began noticing posters promoting patriotism around the city. The posters have drawn confusion and concern among the people as they were welcomed by some while others were concerned about rising right-wing nationalism.
The poster shows a girl smiling in front of a Japanese flag. It reads, "I'm glad to be Japanese. Raise the Hinomaru with pride in your heart."
However, there is a twist as the model featured in the poster is actually Chinese. The image used in the poster is a modified version of a Getty Images photo. The details on the website show that the picture was originally produced in China.
??????????????????????pic.twitter.com/JAEKCmre6G— CYPHER (@hanenohaetashra) April 27, 2017
The Beijing-based company which produced the original image refused to comment on the “sensitive” issue but they confirmed that the model was Chinese and that the picture was taken in 2009. The discovery of the image originating from China has amused people in not only Japan but also in China.
The posters were produced and distributed in 2011 by Jinja Honcho, the national association of Shinto shrines, as reported by Huffington Post Japan. According to a spokesman, they wanted to "promote raising the national flag on national holidays, to educate the public about the importance of those national holidays".
The posters came back in the news after someone pointed out that the model was Chinese and not Japanese .
However, Jinja Honcho says was "not a problem", as the poster "does not specifically state that the featured person is a Japanese person".
Soon after the revelation, #YourPatriotismWasMadeInChinabecame popular on Twitter in Japan.
A person said, “This reminds of me of all those MAGA (Make America Great Again) Trump hats made in China. China is supporting all sorts of patriots around the world!"
While another said, “This really gets you thinking. What does it mean to be Japanese, anyway?" said another.”
According to news portal SoraNews24, some Twitter users called the message on the poster “pathetic” and “frightening.”
One Twitter user said the "self-styled anti-bigotry critics" who defended it were ignoring the feelings of Japanese people with foreign roots and another said foreign visitors might also be made to feel unwelcome, saying: "It's a very disturbing message that the posters are transmitting."
#YourPatriotismWasMadeInChina Of all the Japanese you could choose you choose a Chinese, really.— J.Tam (@tam_jacky) May 12, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters