You don’t have to look far to see why Chinese grow up learning to hate Japan. Take the forthcoming children’s movie, “Little Soldier Zhang,” which Beijing-based director Sun Lijun says he made having “learned a lot from Disney.” The film chronicles the adventures in the 1930s of Little Zhang, a cute 12-year-old boy feeling his way through an unfriendly world. But the resemblance to Pinocchio ends there. After Japanese invaders shoot Little Zhang’s grandmother in the back, the boy seeks revenge by joining an underground Red Army detachment. He moves among heroic Chinese patriots, sniveling collaborators and sadistic Japanese. The finale comes with Little Zhang helping blow up a trainload of Japanese soldiers and receiving a cherished reward: a pistol with which to kill more Japanese. “I thought about including one sympathetic Japanese character, but this is an anti-Japan war movie and I don’t want to confuse anyone,” says Sun, who will premier his film on International Children’s Day.
UPDATE: China Daily has posted an edited version of this article with the title “Chinese don’t love to hate Japanese; Due repentance urged.”
See also “Why Japan Keeps Provoking China” from Time.