A man went out into the street blindfolded and asked people in China to prove to him that Chinese people don’t all hate Japan, despite all the images on TV of protests against Japan, bickering in politics, and the South China Sea conflict, which puts China at odds with numerous other Asian countries for claims to the territory.
He wants to find out if that matters when two individuals, one of Japanese descent and one of Chinese descent, meet.
As Rocket News 24 reports, his name is Koichi Kuwabara. His YouTube channel states his aim in these free hug experiments with a political twist:
“I’m not chasing fame and fortune, I’m chasing peace of mind and heart.”
At first he is ignored. People pass by and look at him as if he is an oddity. Some snap photos, but keep walking and leave him hanging with his hands up in hug position. He doesn’t give up, and soon hugs start to come, flowing like melting glacier ice.
More and more people open up to the idea. The hugs are like an act of protest, proof that not everyone buys into who the government deems are your enemies.
Chinese and Japanese people hugging each other on the street is an explosive statement. China has continually sought to use Japan’s involvement in World War II, and what that meant for China, as a constant source of fuel for hatred, and for keeping Japan’s military capability hampered on the world stage.
China often lobbies that Japan should stay in the state that it was put in just after World War II and remained in for many years, with a military that was not permitted to act in world matters great or small.
The Chinese government has also led Chinese citizens to march in protest of Japan in recent times, still based on reasons related to World War II, and Japanese citizens in China sometimes have been subject to attacks due to their nationality.
The Chinese government wants people to think that Japan has not and will never change, and that people should not trust them.
The reasons China spreads these things are many, but can be traced to the need to control the citizens of China by feeding them propaganda. It serves as a way to distract from the rampant corruption and power struggles within Chinese politics.
By teaching people to hate Japan, China can draw attention away from the abuses its own government commits locally everyday toward its own Chinese citizens. That is why the recent anti-corruption movement in China has led to the arrest of so many former high level politicians.
All of the hefty political bickering seems to go right out the window when you see young Kuwabara use love as a means to overcome the propaganda. Even though this is just one individual offering himself out for a hug, the message he sends is powerful.
It is one method different groups of people can use to overcome what has divided them for decades. They can also prove to the government that they are not affected by propaganda and are not here to be used as tools in international power politics.
The experiment is also taken to South Korea, a country also somewhat still mad about what Japan used to do up to and before World War II. The Korean people were subjected to certain atrocities under Japanese rule.
It is still an issue of concern in society. Korea would mainly like Japan to acknowledge wrongdoing.
The South Korean people are even more eager to share hugs. It could be because people are eager to overcome the conflicts of the past and move forward. In South Korea, one person even gives him a hot coffee and some pocket money.
Hugs are even applauded by bystanders. People are happy, eager, and willing to come together.