After enraging the Chinese nation with books denying the Nanjing Massacre and “comfort women,” a Japanese hotelier has manged to piss off Chinese netizens even further by gloating about all the fame that the books have brought to his hotel chain.
Last week, Chinese social media exploded into uproar over a video from two New York University students exposing the controversial reading material on offer at APA hotels, a major Japanese hotel chain based in Tokyo. Published in Japanese with an English translation, but not a Chinese one, one of the students read selections aloud from Theoretical Modern History II — The Real History of Japan for Chinese netizens to hear:
But China has toned down its claims that 300,000 people were slaughtered at Nanking and that the Senkaku Islands are Chinese territory, perhaps because it becomes increasingly clear that these are falsehoods the more these issues are discussed.
The book was written by APA CEO Toshio Motoya under the pen name Seiji Fuji. Elsewhere in the book, he writes that the massacre was “fabricated by the Chinese side and did not actually happen” and denies that Japanese soldiers forced Chinese and Korean women to become their sex slaves.
Rather than back down from the resulting backlash from China, the hotel chain has refused to remove the controversial books from its rooms “just because of criticism from people with different views,” calling the books “fact-based true interpretations of modern history” which are not aimed at “criticizing any specific state or nation.”
At a Japanese right-wing event last Thursday, Motoya was no less apologetic. A video from the event of Motoya speaking about the controversy has gone viral on Weibo.
“We are world famous now,” Motoya said. “Lots of my friends have told me that I’ve become a big deal in news all across the United States, the Philippines, Hawaii and New York.”
“After this event, we received more than 10,000 letters from across Japan to encourage us. Loads of parliament members also called me to show their support. Because of the expectations of these people, I will not withdraw the book despite the criticism.”
The Japanese hotelier went on to add that in a few months this whole squabble will be forgotten, but the name “APA” will remain in people’s minds, helping them to recoup any losses.
After watching the footage, outraged Chinese netizens have said that they will never forget what the hotel chain stands for and have called for an all-out boycott of APA. In recent years, more and more Chinese tourists have been visiting Japan, providing an important boost to the country’s economy. Last year, some 6.3 million Chinese tourists visited Japan, and China is Japan’s largest source of foreign tourism.
Still, despite these threats, Motoya said during an earlier interview that he was not worried, claiming that a mere 5% of his hotel chain’s customers came from China.
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