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The majority of Japanese travellers to China are fine. I would stick to the well-trod tourist sites, because even though it is a bit hokey it won’t be as hokey if its your first time (and the major tourist sites are major sites for a reason). Try to learn a little bit of Chinese language as that may smooth it out a bit. If I were a Japanese tourist in China, I would use common sense, avoid arguments about the war or Diaoyu/Senkaku, seriously its not worth getting beaten up or killed over that. Stick to ineffusive praise of Ancient China, Confucius, talk about Sangokushi a lot, and generally Japanese in China will have to use a fair bit of Tatemae to survive. But the well-trod tourist sites should be fine.
Some people in China like Japanese culture and anime and all that, so there’s that. If you want to make friends in China ahead of time, maybe trawl some Chinese anime fan club or something, at least you’ll have some friendly company.
In the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the Japanese delegation pondered that they shouldn’t fly the Japanese flag out of fearing the worst. But the Chinese response was to “fly the hinomaru, its fine, its the expo, we know you’re travellers here and you won’t cause trouble, etc”.
Keep in mind that China is more conservative than Japan when it comes to sex and stuff, so tread very very carefully on that score.
On the whole, yes. Even though Chinese people resent the past from Japan, violence isn’t common at all in China. I don’t think there are any examples of random Japanese people being attacked, and if so, it will be very rare.
In fact, deep down, the Chinese quite admire the Japanese, even though they don’t like them. The Chinese who go to Japan admire the manners. Also, in China, many people do have a hierarchical way of looking at the world.
That hierarchical way of looking at the world means they admire the US, as the most powerful country in the world, even though they sometimes hate US foreign policy. It also means they respect Japan, as a more advanced economy.
In comparison, most Chinese don’t dislike India, Cambodia or Vietnam, like they dislike Japan. But they certainly don’t respect these countries in the way they respect Japan.
I had a Japanese girlfriend who visited me in China, when I lived there. I was worried that people would bring up history, especially when drinking. I took her out and I could see many Chinese people were admiring her manners and generally behavior. Nobody said anything negative to her.
I would say though that was in the Shanghai-Jiangsu area, which is less nationalist than some parts of China, and also Japanese women are less likely than Japanese men to be met with hostility.
Generally, it’s safe for all tourists.
I take that you’re a Japanese. There’re several rules you must bear in mind:
Don’t display/wave rising sun flag. A lot of Chinese people will take offence. It’s equivalent to the German Nazi flag used extensively before and during WW2.
Try to learn some Chinese language (Mandarin) and communicate with the locals.
Show your appreciation/interest in their culture. Same like tip no.2, Chinese people will appreciate it.
Don’t bring topics about Diaoyu/Senkaku island.
Most importantly, in case you’re visiting Nanjing, as it was one of the places in China faced the most horrible moments in the upper 1930s: Nanjing Massacre which took place on December 13th 1937. The Japanese military made the massive killings of Chinese civilians (men, women, children, elderly, unarmed Chinese soldiers etc.). Do show some high respect and sympathy especially at the memorial war museum. Even if you have not thoroughly taught in Japanese school
Enjoy your time!
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