The young woman, dressed in a white kimono decorated with images of red flowers and green leaves, said she was waiting in line for a snack at a lively food strip on Huaihai Street on Wednesday evening. Popular for her Japanese bars and restaurants, when she and her photographer are suddenly surrounded by the police.
The woman, who goes by the handle “Is Shadow Not Self,” posted details of the encounter on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo on Sunday, where the associated hashtag was viewed more than 90 million times before being censored on Monday. .
According to her post, police objected to her kimono, which she paired with a long blonde wig as a cosplay of the main character from the Japanese manga series “Summer Time Rendering.”
But as Chinese nationalism under Xi Jinping becomes more aggressive and intolerant, fans of Japanese culture — once popular among China’s youth — have faced increasing criticism and suspicion.
‘Are you Chinese?’
“If you came here wearing hanfu, I wouldn’t say this. But you are wearing kimono, as Chinese. You are Chinese! Are you?” The police officer shouts to her in reply.
Then the woman calmly asked why she was being shouted at.
“On suspicion of inciting strife and trouble,” police said, referring to the catch-all charge often used against dissidents, journalists, human rights lawyers and activists.
The woman was then apprehended and taken away by several police officers in the chaos of the video, which had been viewed more than 8 million times by Monday afternoon.
The woman said in the Weibo post that she was interrogated In the police station About five hours until 1 a.m., during which her phone was searched, her photos were deleted, and her kimono was confiscated. She said she was also “educated” and had been warned by police not to talk about her experience on the Internet.
CNN could not independently verify the woman’s post and video, although the two shopfronts seen in the video matched shops on Huaihai Street. fCNN tried to contact police at Shishan Station on Huaihai Road, but a staff member who answered the phone said he did not. “Know many situations.”
The woman did not respond to CNN’s attempts to reach her via Weibo.
Criticism of Kimono
In an earlier post on Quezon, another Chinese social media platform, the woman said The police asked her to write a 500-word letter of self-criticism.
“I feel like I have no reputation right now,” she said in the Quezon Post on Friday. “The police said what I did was wrong. I feel powerless… I like Japanese culture, European culture, and I also like traditional Chinese culture. I like multiculturalism, I like watching anime, is it wrong that I like something?”
“I have always been very patriotic — or rather, I used to be very patriotic and trusting of the police until now … I can only say that I am very disappointed, it turns out, that I have never had freedom of dress or speech. What I want is.”
A screenshot of her Qzone post was shared on Weibo and went viral over the weekend, prompting the woman to post her events on Weibo.
“If this is what you want to hear, I can also tell you: sorry, I shouldn’t have disrespected public sentiment by walking the streets in Japanese clothes, it’s wrong and dangerous behavior. I’m sorry for that. It hurt our national feelings,” she wrote on Weibo. .
However, some criticized her for wearing traditional Japanese clothing. “Why does a good Chinese wear a kimono? Think about what your grandparents did,” said one user.
Still, many expressed support for the anime fan, saying she did nothing wrong, especially not wearing a kimono on a sensitive day or in an important place commemorating the Sino-Japanese War (which has gotten other kimono wearers in trouble in the past).
“I watched the video and your show. You didn’t hurt my feelings or sentiments as a Chinese. I hope you don’t blame yourself and wish you stay safe,” said the top comment with 25,000 upvotes.
“I suggest the police shut down all Japanese restaurants or I’ll call the police to break up fights and trouble,” another supporter quipped.
Some accused the police of abuse of power, while others lamented the lack of rule of law and expressed concern about growing narrow nationalist sentiments.
“The cultural witch hunt is no longer confined to the online world. Sigh, this is the first taste of the bitter pill of inciting nationalism,” said one comment.
CNN’s Sean Deng and the Beijing Bureau contributed to reporting.