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Japanese in spirit

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Jīng Rì | 精日

Desirive label for someone perceived to be overly pro-Japan. It is more politicized than Qīn Rì (亲日, pro-Japan) or Hā Rì (哈日, Japanophile), and has been used by the Chinese authorities in criminal charges.

Similar terms include American in spirit (jīng Měi 精美), Taliban in spirit (jīng Tǎ 精塔), and Zhao in spirit (jīng Zhào 精赵).

The term first appeared in 2014 on Baike, a wikipedia-like service by Chinese platform Baidu. Although the exact origin of jing Ri is unclear, ithas gained popularity among nationalistic social media users, And has been weaponized by the Chinese authorities in criminal investigations. In July 2019, police from seven cities announced on the same day that they had detained social media users who posted content deemed “anti-China” and “Japanese in spirit.” It was unclear what prompted the apparently coordinated action.

In May 2018, nationalistic Weibo users dubbed Chinese entrepreneur Luo Yonghao for his past comments on Japan. In response, Luo said that he didn’t believe there was any problem with being a Japanese in spirit, although he didn’t consider himself one. Official media outlet Beijing Daily bashed Luo’s comment as “ridiculous.” The newspaper wrote:

Jing Ri is short for “Japanese in spirit.” These people look up to Japan to the point of hating the Chinese people and the Chinese race. They even feel ashamed for being Chinese. They not only see Japan as a “utopia” but also do their best to whitewash the countless crimes committed by Japanese militarists. [Chinese]

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