A ‘Little Kyoto’ in China Was Shut Down Due to ‘Cultural Invasion’

A ‘Little Kyoto’ in China Was Shut Down by Government Due to ‘Cultural Invasion’

It's insensitive to Chinese business, they said.

While having little towns dedicated to foreign destinations isn’t unusual for most countries, it proved to be quite invasive for the Chinese locals of Dalian City, Liaoning Province. The city opened Tang Little Kyoto on 21 Aug 2021, which is said to be the largest Japan-themed complex in all of China. 

This Little Kyoto started construction in 2019. Since it’s a 6.8 million-square foot plot, it is  slated to be finished in 2024. Upon the completion of the first section, however, authorities decided it would be a good idea to open that part of the complex to the public. Unfortunately, this decision quickly backfired.

Also read: 5 Koreatowns in Southeast Asia You Need to Visit in Your Lifetime!

The local response to Little Kyoto

When the facility was initially opened, locals flocked to the complex, excited to get a taste of the ancient capital of Japan while leisure travel was still being put on hold. But after having seen the enormity of Little Kyoto, local criticism began to flood social media, specifically on Weibo. According to the complaints on the largest Chinese social media platform, locals thought it was insensitive to establish a Little Kyoto in Dalian City, more so an enormous one, for the simple reason that the facility was formerly occupied by Japanese forces during the 1930s and the 1940s.

To promote and sell Japanese-made goods and companies in the same area was described as “an invasion of China by Japanese culture.” A Weibo user called Cold-eyed even wrote, “The existence of this Kyoto shopping street is a betrayal of our local commerce in favour of Japanese businesses.”

The municipal government shuts it down

Image credit: Kanenori

Upon the outrage of many Chinese locals, the local government then instructed the real estate developers, Dalian Shuyuan Group, to suspend operations right away on 30 Aug 2021. The government cited the outcry of netizens and the fear of crowding during COVID-19 as its main reasons. 

The facility remains closed as of writing with no reopening date in sight. However, the rest of the construction of Little Kyoto is believed to be pushing through as the whole complex was a multi-million dollar deal dedicated to replicate Kyoto’s staple attractions, such as the Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slopes near Kiyomizudera Temple. Tang Little Kyoto was even designed by a Japanese architect who used traditional materials straight from Japan. 

According to Dalian Shuyuan Group, this establishment will still continue to pique the curiosity of Chinese locals as ancient Kyoto is said to be influenced by the architecture of China’s Tang Dynasty from 618 to 907. It will be interesting to see how the municipal government will deal with all parties concerned moving forward. 

Also read: A Look Into Hello Kitty Smile, an Island Resort All About Hello Kitty!

Do you have any opinions about this news? Let us know about it on our Facebook page!

Featured image credit: rmsep4 | Pixabay

About Author


TripZilla inspires travel with guides, tips and stories by our community of travellers in and around Southeast Asia.


Related Posts