In a refreshingly mellow demonstration held on 23 September in Lushan County, Henan 3 people donned Japanese style costumes and silently knelt in front of the Spring Temple Buddha.
Kneeling side by side the two men and one woman held up a banner reading “Daiyou Islands [Chinese name for Senkaku Islands] belong to China.” with a picture of one of the disputed islands and a ridiculously enormous Chinese flag flying above it.
And you know, in spite of all this I’m not entirely sure they are supporting China.
According to Chinese media, the demonstrators were apologizing for Japan’s recent nationalization of the islands on behalf of the Japanese people. The trio themselves reportedly said they did this to stimulate dialog over this issue.
The event took place in an echo wall with a beautiful view of the largest statue in the world, and a natural tourist spot. From passersby there were large cries of support, peppered in with occasional voices of dissent.
This seems like a pretty cut and dry protest. But when so much absurdity is around I can’t help but think these performance artists are possibly trying to be ironic.
Let’s start with the “Japanese” costumes. As most Japanese netizens pointed out, they looked more Korean than Japanese. Perhaps the trio realized this too so they stuck some Japanese flags on their back so poorly designed it looks like they cut their backs shaving with a giant razor then put an equally giant piece of tissue to soak up the blood.
They are also wearing “Japanese” masks, as you can see in the photo below. It’s difficult to fully see the woman’s mask but I’d swear it was a Gene Simmons Kiss mask with a red dot.
But okay, it’s hard to make a good costume on a budget. Let’s turn our attention to the venue.
The three performers claimed to be devout Buddhists from nearby Zhengzhou City and chose the sceic location so they could make the “apology” in front of Buddha. I’m a little rusty on my Buddhism, but I don’t think Buddha obtained spiritual enlightenment by asserting a nation’s ownership of land.
Maybe – just maybe – that’s their message. Two countries with large Buddhist populations and customs locked in an escalating argument over property ownership seems really unenlightened, doesn’t it?
Then again, maybe I’m just over thinking it.