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Virus fight brings China, Japan closer (2)

(China Daily)    08:55, February 14, 2020

A Japanese girl wearing a traditional Chinese qipao collects donations to fight the novel coronavirus on Feb 8 during an event celebrating Lantern Festival. XINHUA

Universal love is a core concept of Confucianism, something that was evident when Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary-general and a heavyweight in Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told the media on Monday that all members of his party in the Diet, which is Japan's parliament, would each donate 5,000 yen ($45) to China.

"It's natural to help a neighboring country if something happens there," Nikai said.

On Friday, Nikai, 80, at a meeting with Kong Xuanyou, China's ambassador to Japan, said: "A friend in need is a friend indeed. Japan will stand together with China and will mobilize the entire country to provide support and assistance to help fight the epidemic."

At the same meeting, Tetsuo Saito, the secretary-general of Japan's Komeito Party, said the enhanced collaboration between Japan and China would help prevent the spread of the virus and overcome it soon.

Long Xingchun, a professor at the School of Foreign Languages at China West Normal University in Nanchong, Sichuan province, said, "While facing the epidemic, the world has shown it is a community with a shared future."

Long said he appreciated the fact that apart from sending medical materials, Japan used ancient poetry, the cultural connection between China and Japan, to get closer to the Chinese public and to strengthen its friendship with China.

Hirotake Ran, a professor of East Asian studies at Musashino University in Tokyo, said: "Cultural connections have shown their power in bringing people together in this common fight.…It makes people feel compassion and love for all, which is extremely important at a time like this."

Beyond poetry, another cultural-connection between China and Japan is calligraphy.

In a video shot at his home, Tomiichi Murayama, 96, a former Japanese prime minister, wrote "Wuhan, jiayou (stay strong)" in Chinese characters and shouted out the message in solidarity with the Chinese.

Inspired by poetry, Yukio Hatoyama, another former Japanese prime minister, wrote the message to Wuhan containing the 1,300-year-old saying himself and said in a video expressing his support: "I want to send this message to my friends who are fighting the virus in Wuhan, in Hubei province, and all over China. We are in a community with a shared future for mankind, and I hope everybody can survive these difficult times."

Rebecca Li, a cross-cultural etiquette expert in Beijing, said Japan is the closest country to China in terms of culture. While many countries have offered their support to China, Japan stands out, partly because of the cultural resonance between China and Japan.

"The Chinese feel particularly good when seeing the ancient poetry on the packages of the donations. These poems are all expressions of friendship and goodwill, making people feel that a better Sino-Japanese relationship is assured."


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(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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