Japanese magazine publishes list of "notorious China lovers"

Japanese magazine publishes list of "notorious China lovers"

Noriko Sakai was once said to be the reincarnation of a beautiful Chinese dancer.

Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun has published a list of the country's "China admirers" in its latest edition, a range of figures from the entertainment, political, economic and cultural arenas. Singer and actress Noriko Sakai and former deputy prime minister Katsuya Okada make the list.

Being dubbed a "China lover" may not be so good for one's image in Japan at present, however, with rightwing politics in the ascendant and resentment between the two countries remaining high over the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Katsuya Okada was named the top China admirer for his criticism in 2005 of the visit of then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which he called an attempt to "gloss over a history of invasion" and showed "contempt for Sino-Japanese relations." Visits by the country's leaders to the shrine are controversial since it honors officers executed by Allied tribunals for war crimes among the soldiers who died for Japan, according to the Sing Tao Daily in Hong Kong.

Noriko Sakai meanwhile is considered a fan of China for a number of reasons. Women's magazine Jose Jisin in 1992 published a fortune teller's article which said that Sakai was the reincarnation of an extraordinarily beautiful dancer in China some 280 years ago. She also went to China for an anti-drug campaign in 2011 — a month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11 that year, which did not go unnoticed as the country recovered from the disaster. "I wanted to offer some help to China," said the actress, whose entertainment career suffered a massive blow when she was convicted for drug abuse in 2009. Shukan Bunshun dubbed her "the fallen angel beloved by China's ruling party."

Another entertainer named by the magazine is singer songwriter Tanimura Shinji, who said to Emperor Akihito in person at a garden party held by the Japanese royal family in 2006 that it would be a good thing for both countries if the emperor could visit China. In 2010, the singer performed at the opening ceremony of the World Expo in Shanghai.

Uniqlo founder and CEO Yanai Tadashi was also criticized for remarks during anti-Japanese demonstrations in China in September last year related to the nationalization of the disputed islands. Tadashi said it would only accelerate Japan's decline if the country were to cut its ties with China.

The Japanese magazine also placed on the list Son Masayoshi, CEO of mobile phone operator Softbank and the second richest man in the country. Son, who is of Korean descent, said in an interview with the newspaper Asahi Shinbum in 2000 that he was a man who had inherited Chinese blood and culture; he has also said that the "China market is more important than the Japanese market," according to Sing Tao Daily.