Japanese boy band selected as China-Japan goodwill ambassadors

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2019/12/27 4:24:04

Japanese boy band Arashi Photo: Official Weibo account of Arashi

Japan's Foreign Ministry has tapped boy band Arashi to serve as goodwill ambassadors to promote cultural and sports exchanges with China next year. The signing group will promote cultural exchanges and bilateral relations that are in the process of improving.

Japan's Foreign Ministry explained that Arashi was selected based on their popularity in both countries, according to a report from The Paper.

The Chinese Embassy in Tokyo congratulated Arashi on Twitter in Japanese on Thursday, and revealed their expectations that the group will navigate cultural exchanges between two countries.

Arashi announced the appointment on the group's Sina Weibo account on Wednesday, and also talked about their first activity scheduled in China for next year - a spring concert in Beijing. The boy band opened an account on Sina Weibo in November.

Chinese netizens were excited about the appointment and the group's upcoming concert in Beijing. "Finally you can come with spring! I am so looking forward to meeting you in Beijing next year!" a Chinese fan commented on Weibo.

"Beijing welcomes you! Arashi perfectly explains what idols mean to this society. I am so proud of them," read another comment.

Peiyu, a Chinese student in Hokkaido, confirmed the group's popularity in both countries. "I had known the group from Chinese social media before coming to Japan and they have had lots of fans at that time. In Japan, I see their national popularity again," she told the Global Times on Thursday.

Peiyu said that it had been 20 years since the group made their debut. "Arashi will perform at the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Does this not prove how popular they are?"

"Appointing idol groups as goodwill ambassador of cultural exchanges can be considered as a friendly signal from two countries' authorities, which means that there will be more cultural cooperation and exchanges between China and Japan," Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based culture critic, told the Global Times.

Shi added that the advantages of Arashi, such as their national popularity and fan appeal are recognized by authorities and can help promote cultural exchanges.

Amid the upcoming year of cultural and sports exchanges between China and Japan, a variety of activities have already taken place in both countries. 

A Chinese tourism and culture promotion event was held on December 3 in Tokyo to introduce China's hot tourist destinations to Japanese visitors, Xinhua reported.

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