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Tang Little Kyoto

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Tang Little China (盛唐·小京都) is a Japan-styled holiday resort developed by the Dalian Shuyuan Group in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian. It comprises shopping, cultural and residential districts and recreates the sights and sounds of ancient Kyoto. Construction was started in 2019 and covers an area of a staggering 630,000 square metres. The head architect was Yuichi Itakura of Ishii Architects, with Prof. Masashi Yamazaki of Ritsumeikan University acting as an architectural adviser.

The first section of the complex was opened on 21 August. The opening triggered severe criticism from swarms of infuriated online denizens who argued it was insensitive to build the complex in a city occupied by the Japanese in WW2. Municipal authorities suspended all operations on 30 August:

The government pointed to the criticism on the internet as well as COVID-19 fears by having people gathering in crowded spaces, the representative said. For the 29 shops that are part of phase one - including Panasonic's electronics store, retailers of Hokkaido and Hiroshima products, as well as various Japanese restaurants - the suspension comes as a major blow. Sales of Japanese-style villas will continue.

The video is quite interesting. The developers keep stressing that Kyoto was actually a copy of the Tang dynasty's former capital. Hence Tang Little Kyoto was actually a replica of a historic Chinese city. I guess it’s one way to pitch sales to Chinese citizens.
I wonder who they are marketing it too. It seems a little tone deaf at the national scale but since there is a lot of Japanese business there, it could make sense if they are focused on the Japanese expats in addition to Japan-friendly locals. Depends how much blowback they get from the non-locals.
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It seems that China's 'Little Kyoto' will reopen at the end of October.

Although most of the buildings are Japanese-style in appearance, the word "Tang" was added to the name to reflect the interpretation that Kyoto was strongly influenced by the culture of the Tang Dynasty in China. It is believed that the developers used the term "Tang" because they were concerned about criticism in China, but even so, when it partially opened in late August, it was condemned on social media, partly because the timing of the opening was close to the 90th anniversary of the Sept. 18, 1931 Liutiaohu incident at the beginning of the Manchurian Incident preceding the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. But there are also many who have questioned the criticism, asking what the problem is, and Chinese media reports are increasingly showing understanding of the position of developers, shopping arcades, and their employees, saying that it is the Chinese who are losing their jobs due to the closure.

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