A brief look into Sino-Indonesia, Japan and S Korea cultural exchanges
Updated: 2018-05-09
(CGTN)

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[File photo]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is paying a visit to Indonesia as this year marks the 68th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Indonesia.

The people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries has been thriving through the years and has deepened the understanding between them.

Live and thriving

Statistics show that 2.06 million Chinese citizens paid to visit the island country in the past year, an increase of 275 percent from 2013. China has now become the largest source of overseas tourists to Indonesia.

The most popular destination is no doubt Bali. Every year, hundreds of thousands of newly-wed Chinese couples choose to spend their honeymoon there. And in recent years, the Spring Festival has become a new hot season for the small island.

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March 5, 2015: People watch the celebration of Cap Go Meh Festival in Singkawang, Kalimantan, Indonesia.[Photo/Xinhua]

Many Indonesians have long been celebrating the Cap Go Meh Festival to welcome the Chinese New Year. It’s one of the largest festivals in the country. Hundreds of thousands gather to watch the parade that blends Indonesian and Chinese cultures.

There are approximately 10 million Chinese-Indonesians living in the country, accounting for five percent of the total population.

On the other side, China currently receives more than 14,000 Indonesian students and has become Indonesia’s second most popular overseas education destination.

Giant pandas Cai Tao and Hu Chun have made their homes in Indonesia, building another bridge of friendship between the peoples.

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Sept. 27, 2016: A photo exhibition during "Experience China" in Jakarta.[Photo/Xinhua]

Close neighbors

During his trip, Premier Li will also attend the 7th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting in Japan.

Ever since the normalization of Sino-Japan relations in 1972, the cultural exchanges have seen ups and downs but the people from the two countries are getting to know each other better.

The number of Chinese travelers in Japan in 2017 rose by 15 percent to over 7 million, with China leading all other nations in travel spending within the country. The Chinese travelers’ focus is also shifting from so-called “explosive buying sprees” to experiencing local culture.

"They are interested in traditional things or events happening on a particular day and place. They are interested in Japanese culture in the way that Europeans are," said Kei Nakajima, who wrote a book on China inbound tourism called "Why Wealthy Chinese Love Japan's Traditional Established Businesses – 54 Tips on China Inbound Tourism."

Japan received a record number of Chinese students in 2017, surpassing 100,000 for the first time, data from the Japan Student Services Organization showed. China has become Japan’s biggest source of international students.

Yamashita Tomohiro, a Japanese student living in Shanghai, is using his online popularity to promote the bilateral understanding of the two peoples.

He came to Shanghai without knowing any Chinese but now he runs an online comedy show with more than 3.5 million followers across various social platforms. Yamashita said he was surprised by the enthusiasm from young Chinese people about Japanese culture. "Many young Chinese have much deeper understandings of Japanese comics and anime than I do."

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Taekwondo class at the Korean Cultural Center in Beijing.[Photo provided to CGTN]

Animations, comics, games and novels (ACGN) are shared interests between Chinese and Japanese youngsters. Japanese manga has a profound fan base in China.

Now with the technology, video-sharing websites like Chinese-language Bilibili and Japanese-language Niconico provide the fans with new platforms to communicate and exchange views directly.

Another important platform for the cultural exchanges between China and Japan is film festivals. Since 2006, Shanghai and Tokyo have held the Japanese Film Festival and Chinese Film Festival respectively. The festivals, usually run for one week and provide audiences with an opportunity to see films that are not open in local theaters.

The two sides are also working on co-productions.

The diplomatic ties between China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) was not established until 1992. However, good relations have taken off since then.

26 years on, China is South Korea's largest trading partner and main source of tourists, while South Korea is China's fourth-largest trading partner.

Korean culture is not only famous but also influential in China. From K-pop, to martial arts, to food, the connection between China and South Korea runs deep.

Generations of Chinese have woven Korean elements into the nation’s cultural fabric, cultivating interest that goes well beyond Gangnam Style, Pororo and kimchi.

Experts say China's fascination with its neighbor was largely fueled by the "Hallyu" movement in the 1990s, when Korean TV shows and pop culture gained popularity among many Asian countries.

The trend has been growing for nearly three decades and is still well-received by Chinese audiences.

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