Feedback from online critics caused a Japan-themed shopping area in China’s Liaoning province to shut down less than two weeks after opening.
Alleged cultural invasion: Tang Little Kyoto, a commercial and residential complex in Dalian city offering a taste of Japanese culture, was ordered by local authorities to close on Monday, reported Nikkei.
- The 29 shops that opened during the facility’s initial phase were forced to cease operations.
- Japanese restaurants, Hokkaido and Hiroshima products retailers and an electronic store were among those affected by the suspension.
- Tang Little Kyoto operator Dalian Shuyuan Group said the Dalian municipal government cited online backlash and COVID-19 as reasons for the temporary closure.
- Weibo users dismissed the attraction as a “Japanese cultural invasion” for selling only Japanese products and for making the complex look like the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto.
- Other critics questioned the inclusion of “Tang” in the site’s name as it only incorporated Japanese elements.
- Some also highlighted that Dalian was once under Japanese occupation.
- Users who defended the complex pointed out that other Chinese cities have also attracted Japanese companies.
A massive project halted: Tang Little Kyoto, which remains under construction in a 600,000-square meter (148-acre) property at a budget of 6 billion yuan ($928.5 million), is set to be completed in 2024.
- Prior to the online backlash, the project received full support from the local government. Dalian’s mayor even attended the project’s signing ceremony in Tokyo back in 2019.
- Before construction began, Dalian Shuyuan Group vice president Zhang Yang said the influence of China’s Tang dynasty on Heian-kyo (modern-day Kyoto) makes it popular among the Chinese.
- While sales of Japanese-style villas on the site will continue, it remains unknown when the facility will be open again for business.