Japan perfects the art of channelling their distaste for Chinese tourists in a tasteful fashion

The Japanese art of insulting without insulting.

By Joshua Lee | January 3, 2017

Chinese Tourists — a species of travellers so infamous that they should come with their own trigger warning.

And as you might recall, they’ve also incurred the wrath of Japan.

Through a) climbing and kicking cherry blossom trees:

That's a Chinese person. In a tree. Source.
That’s a Chinese person. In a tree. Source.

b) Trashing airports and physically attacking airport security because heavy snowfall forced many flight cancellations:

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that after subjecting the Chinese tourists to various unprintable insults on social media, the Japanese are deciding to kill with their trademark good manners, complete with a side of snark. According to the SCMP, a communications and media lecturer at the Hokkaido Bunko University said,

“The feeling is that people who have travelled to Japan previously have learned about our manners and customs and they are changing their behaviour to fit in with that….And it is possible that they are taking that back to China with them as well, sort of like a Japanese cultural export.”

Not so common sense

Similarly, in 2015, the Hokkaido Tourism Organisation published a traveller’s etiquette guide aimed at Chinese tourists titled Hokkaido Ryoko Joshiki or “Common Sense when Travelling Hokkaido”. It had a very comprehensive list of unacceptable tourist behaviours, such as ripping open product packaging before buying (indicated with big “X” marks)

However, the organisation had to revise it when a local resident complained that it implied all Chinese people lacked common sense. The revised version (now, a blander “The Traveller’s Etiquette Guide to Hokkaido”) has no more giant “X” marks (aww), and generally avoids implying that Chinese tourists are rude or have no ability to understand cultural differences.

Click here for English version.

The revised version, however, managed to retain some snarky gems — like this reminder that the nirvana of not belching in public is actually quite attainable:

“Japanese etiquette is based on avoiding causing discomfort or nuisance to others. Accordingly, Japanese will avoid bodily functions such as belching or flatulence in public entirely, or perform bodily functions as discreetly as possible. Of course, these functions are a necessary part of human life, but please be modest and discreet when visiting Japan.”

And this little plea to not startle the Japanese in their natural habitat:

“[The] Japanese are easily surprised by loud or intense conversations nearby. It may be helpful to lower your voice slightly when in a Japanese social setting.”

A worldwide education

Hokkaido is not the only locale which has an etiquette guide for Chinese tourists. Thailand also came up with a handbook on proper behaviour for the same target audience, including instructions not to touch museum paintings. Even back home, Beijing has issued a list of nine cardinal sins which will damn Chinese transgressors to the travel “blacklist”. This includes destruction of cultural relics, and perpetuating “low-taste or superstitious” ideas.

Even with these measures in place, though, Chinese travellers still end up in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Guess only one thing’s for sure: these stories won’t be the last we are hearing. Although you do have to hand it to the Japs for this one.


Top photo adapted from Youtube.

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