A little Japanese child came to our home, and embarrassed our entire family
Please patiently read until the end, because what I have to say is definitely not one of those comparisons between the living and learning capabilities of Chinese and Japanese children you often see online.
Recently my second cousin who married in Japan and her Japanese husband returned to her side of the family on a visit, bringing with them a little Japanese child, apparently the child of her Japanese husband’s relative who was very interested in China and so came along with them. My second cousin, her husband, and the Japanese child all stayed at my cousin’s home, because my cousin’s son is about the same age as the Japanese child, and they could be playmates.
The Japanese kid’s name was Jun Fu, who had just begun first grade, and looked rather gentle and delicate. With his glasses, he looks rather like the main character Nobi from Doraemon. He speaks a little bit of Chinese but with it being his first time in a strange country and meeting this many strangers whose speech he doesn’t understand, he was a little nervous. Still, seeing our amiable smiles, Jun Fu very politely bowed to each and every one of us, greeting us with very stiff Chinese.
Truly, we all adored this little Japanese kid, so we were all very nice to him.
However, my cousin’s son Peng Peng, who is currently in third grade, was full of hostility towards Jun Fu. Peng Peng knew early on that Jun Fu was Japanese, so when he met him, the very first thing he did was raise his little fist, and the first thing he said was: “Down with Little Japan!”
Jun Fu didn’t understand “Down with Little Japan”, but he was confused to see Peng Peng raise his fist. Of course, Peng Peng didn’t hit him either, only intending to scare him a bit, and Jun Fu was scared so much the color of his face changed.
My cousin hurriedly pulled Peng Peng to a side, rebuking him that this is a guest and he must not be impolite! Unexpectedly, Peng Peng began crying, saying the teacher said, “Japanese people are Chinese people’s enemy, you are all unpatriotic!”
I also explained to him that what the teacher is referring to is history, but now Japan is currently improving relations with China, and that the Japanese kid who has come to our home is kind-hearted and our friend.
Peng Peng became even angrier, saying: “Then why just recently daddy and mommy were talking about how Japan stole China’s land and we should boycott Japanese goods everyday? Our teacher at school recently had us watch an educational cartoon, which was all about us bringing down Japanese imperialism!”
That day, Peng Peng continuously glared at Jun Fu with enmity.
Jun Fu however truly was a kind-hearted, well-behaved child. Later when I went over to my cousin’s home, I heard my cousin say that Jun Fu always keeps his things nice and tidy in his suitcase, never needs prodding to wash his face and brush his teeth, and even knows to wash his underwear and socks on his own everyday. Because he was embarrassed to have my cousin help him hang it up to dry, he carefully hung them on the towel rack n the balcony. When it came to meals, Jun Fu would look at those older in the house. Seeing his elders pick up their chopsticks, he would then look to my second-cousin, waiting for her to say something in Japanese, probably that it was time to eat, before he would pick up his own bowl and chopsticks.
Chinese parents really do like comparing their children to other people’s children, this cannot be denied. My cousin said she really wished Peng Peng was as thoughtful and easy to take care of as Jun Fu, having grown accustomed to picking up various kinds of garbage that Peng Peng leaves behind, cleaning and tidying up after him, doing this and that for him, with Peng Peng taking the best portions of food for himself as if that is how things are supposed to be, while they too give Peng Peng the best portions, spoiling him. But seeing how well-behaved, considerate, and polite Jun Fu was, even letting elders go first when eating, my cousin couldn’t help but say to Peng Peng from time to time: “Look at how that little brother so and so.”
Really, the way Japanese families and schools educate their children is just so different from the way China does. I really wonder if it is because of [differences in] overall social norms.
Little by little, this thoroughly exasperated Peng Peng.
The second day Jun Fu was here, Jun Fu friendly shared took his remote control car out and gave it to Peng Peng to play with. [Seeing this, I thought to myself,] Perhaps sharing was a part of the education they [Japanese children] receive. But on the third day, my cousin saw parts of the remote control car scattered all over Peng Peng’s room. She asked what happened, and Peng Peng viciously relied: “Boycott Japanese goods!”
From then on Jun Fu never shared his toys with Peng Peng again, and began keeping his distance from Peng Peng.
On the fourth day after Jun Fu’s arrival, Peng Peng finally changed his attitude, and became friendly with Jun Fu. It seems like children’s natures are inherently kind after all, and they’re willing to make friends. They first exchanged their names, with Peng Peng engrossed in learning Japanese pronunciation, while Jun Fu happily said “Peng Peng, “friends”, and other Chinese words. Peng Peng also took out his toy cars and gave them to Jun Fu to play. We could see that Jun Fu was very happy, so all the parents were also very much relieved.
To our great surprise, on the very last night that Jun Fu was at my cousin’s home, something happened that shocked and embarrassed our entire family.
That night, my parents, cousin and her husband, uncle and aunt, and I were all watching TV in the living room. My second cousin and her Japanese husband had gone out to do some shopping. Peng Peng brought Jun Fu out to the living room and while looking quite pleased with himself, he said Jun Fu had something to say to us.
Then Jun Fu, his cheeks blushing, hands fidgeting, smilingly and bashfully said something in his awkward Chinese:
“I’m a damn Jap! I’m sorry to all Chinese!”
Everyone was stunned.
Jun Fu saw the looks on our faces, and stood there, not knowing what to do.
My cousin finally found herself, immediately smiled, wrapped Jun Fu in her arms and rubbed his hair [as if nothing was wrong], while her husband went up and dragged Peng Peng into the bathroom where “smack” a slap was heard, the hit making even my heart tremble.
I thought, I now know what had happened.
It had to have been Peng Peng who taught Jun Fu to say those words, and Jun Fu must have thought what Peng Peng taught him to say was something we would appreciate hearing, probably like thanking us or that it was a pleasant stay in China and the like.
After Jun Fu left, my cousin’s family reflected deeply on how they raised their kid. At the same time, they were sad and worried about how such a little child could have such hate towards Japan bordering on the pathological in his bones. My second cousin said, as far as she knew, Japanese kids don’t have a very bad impression of China and would never have thought that today’s Chinese kids would have such deep-rooted hate.
Perhaps it is time for our patriotic education to be more objective. Our anti-Japanese sentiments should be softened too. Children are impressionable. Their hearts should be pure and good. When he sees his own compatriots setting fire to Japanese car dealers, smashing Japanese cars, surrounding and vandalizing JUSCO, or when the education in school involves instilling anti-Japanese hate, his patriotism has already begun becoming twisted. Furthermore, when recently there have even been people posting online about spraying themselves with Borancit [a Viagara type of product] and raping Japanese women into extinction, there is even less morality and rationality to be said.
Perhaps there will people who will read this and say, “Never forget national humiliation, this is exactly how children should be educated from when they are small!” But for some reason, in the face of a nice little Japanese kid, who wanted to befriend us so much with his cute blushing face, our Chinese children’s hatred has made us elders completely ashamed.
Comments on Douban:
I get chills in my heart every time I see incidents inciting nationalistic hatred. Past humiliation of course must not be forgotten, but the seed of hate and vengeance should also not be forever passed down. Using historical hate to go hurt innocent people is very stupid.
The largest disparity between us and developed nations, and the hardest thing to change, is education.
Those people who loot watches, electronics, looting stores clean under the banner of protesting Japan,
you go do what you want, but don’t ruin [lead astray] the children.
Children don’t have this kind of hate on their own. In the end, it’s because of environmental influences and the education from family and school.
Ding this Chinese kid, too awesome!
The Japanese kid indeed may have been been well-educated, well-raised, behaves well, but these are not the most important…
What is most important is what is right and what is wrong.
Japan’s invasion of China was wrong, and no matter how cordial Japanese children or Japanese people are, Japan’s invasion of China will still be wrong. When Japan was invading China, did Japanese people not know that its behavior towards Chinese people was wrong? It’s not that they didn’t know, it’s just that they felt there was something more important to do, such as reviving their country and allowing their own people and families to have even better lives.
Just like this Chinese kid, when he taught the Japanese kid that sentence, did he not know what he was doing was wrong? It’s not that he didn’t know, but that he felt he would rather be wrong and still make this Japanese kid pay, because that is even more important.”
But what about the adults? Believing that “national humiliation” is just something one pays lip service to, that it’s fine as long as one doesn’t forget, that Japan invading China is vile and wrong but since it happened already and is in the past and one can’t do anything about it, its still more important to not suffer personal punishment or criticism. So these adults, instead of doing anything to resist and protest Japan, they go sympathize with the Japanese child and criticize the Chinese child. This is a deviation from basic recognition of right from wrong and moral bottom lines.
In this particular case, the Chinese dad slapping his own son is doing right by the Japanese kid’s parents, and this was necessary and appropriate. But if the Chinese parents really believe their son’s actions and motivations were wrong and unreasonable, then that would be sad for China — the educated adults don’t know better than the child.
The Chinese child’s methods were indeed inappropriate, but how old is he? He still has plenty of time to grow and learn, but if he doesn’t have the most basic patriotic love and impulse, then he will only grow up to be an indifferent, heartless person who doesn’t know how to be thankful for anything — whether it be the care of his parents, the help of his friends, or maybe the protection of his country… I won’t go too far, but what would his parents think then?
Having children know the difference from right and wrong is the most basic purpose of education a child — rather than simply knowing manners, knowing to wash your own socks, and those things. A child can spend 100 years washing socks and still not learn filial piety…
As for the people who looted watches, looted electronics, and looted stores clean mentioned by the person above, I think they belong to the category of not “being sensible” while “understanding right from wrong”, which is to say “should this be done”? The Chinese child’s actions were indeed lacking, having done something to embarrass the adults, but as long as he receives good guidance — from home, school, society, as well as even more knowledge — and for example comes to understand that those looting watches were actually looting from Chinese people and nor foreigners, and for example comes to understand that there even more effective methods than looting watches, then he will naturally apply his patriotism towards more appropriate methods, but fundamentally, he is still loving his own country, knowing that the Japanese were wrong and should be punished.
As for the good things about the Japanese kid, it may be because of him being kind-hearted and amiable or having good living habits. These things are also very important, but they are on a level below “distinguishing between right and wrong” and “being sensible”. For example, a person who cannot distinguish right from wrong can wash socks every day and it still wouldn’t lower the chances of him being a serial killer. But no matter what, these living habits are a big help towards a child’s growth and maturity, and Chinese parents may indeed be lacking when it comes to raising children. This may be because the level of development in Japanese society is higher than China, or simply one thing about Japanese habits that is better, but as long as parents recognize and take action, this can completely be corrected with time, and improve the characters of Chinese children.
But, no matter what, the good habits of the Japanese child does not prove that he is better than the Chinese child. On the contrary, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, to persevere, and to endure humiliation in the pursuit of something more important that this Chinese child exhibited here, well, I think it’s very praiseworthy!
孙美丽: (responding to above)
The Japanese did indeed do a lot of wrong things back then, but it’s a grudge that is how many decades old now? War itself is ruthless! I personally also hate everything the Japanese did to our China back then, and not forgetting our national humiliation is something everyone shouts, but just how long do we plan on keeping this grudge…? Do we Chinese people have to continue this kind of grudge for generations upon generations? Just which generation will it end? The education in China makes me really shocked and ashamed…
二夏天: (also responding to 妖蝶儿)
The peace we have today that our revolutionary forebears shed their blood for fighting the invasion was not so that their descendents’ hearts would be filled with hate and their minds twisted from birth. They must’ve hoped that their descendents would have a stable and healthy environment in which to grow up in, would get the best education, so that China would become strong and powerful and never again be invaded. We should teach children a truthful history, including distinguishing right from wrong. No one who can distinguish right from wrong would believe the invasion was right. But Peng Peng’s attitudes/behavior in the story already shows that he has a distorted mentality. What was originally a healthy child has been instilled with the frightening negative ideology that “anyone who is Japanese should be killed”. Just think, if proper guidance is not carried out, Peng Peng will grow up to become one of those people assaulting, looting, vandalizing, setting fires. Do you want our Chinese children to all be like that?
Image: Stock image from internet, not related to anyone in this story.