Japan region revises 'patronising' Chinese tourist guide

  • 26 April 2016
A cartoon from the booklet telling visitors in Chinese not to soil the toilet and to flush their toilet paper Image copyright Hokkaido Tourism Organisation
Image caption Don't make the toilet cry: The new booklet tells visitors to leave conveniences clean and to flush used paper

Tourism officials in northern Japan have revised a visitor guide designed for Chinese tourists after it was criticised as being condescending.

Originally titled Common Sense When Travelling in Hokkaido, the Chinese-language booklet featured numerous examples of bad tourist behaviour and illustrations plastered with large X marks, the Kyodo news agency reports. But a Chinese resident made a complaint, saying it implied that visitors don't already have good manners and common sense.

That prompted the Hokkaido Tourism Organisation to revise the booklet, admitting that it was "one-sided", the report says. Its new version, now called an "etiquette guide" and also available in English, has a more positive spin. Gone are the large X marks denoting bad behaviour, in favour of more nuanced explanations of Japanese customs.

Several points are still clearly aimed at Chinese visitors though, including an instruction not to open products before paying for them, a habit sometimes seen in Chinese shops. It also notes that toilet paper must be flushed - in China, used paper is deposited in a nearby bin.

Japan has seen a boom in visitors from China recently, but media coverage of tourists behaving badly - including climbing its famed cherry blossom trees - hasn't gone down well.

Images from both versions of the booklet have made their way onto Chinese social media, and most users think their countrymen do need a little guidance when abroad. "It has become the norm in our own country now, from left to right things are fiddled with and damaged without care," one user says. But it has hit a few nerves, with one person writing: "Our countrymen need to teach the Japanese people etiquette."

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