Chinese youth in eyes of foreign bloggers on video sharing site Bilibili
Published: Jan 14, 2021 07:11 PM

Photo: screenshot of video posted by Yamashita on Bilibili

Young users of Bilibili are growing up with the video platform. They are the epitome of Chinese young people, who are fond of absorbing a variety of cultures, far and near, domestic and abroad, and make foreign bloggers on the platform marvel at how smart and creative they are.

Yamashita Tomohiro, a 35-year-old Japanese web celebrity living in China who has more than 2 million followers on Bilibili, is a senior blogger on the platform. Since he started uploading videos on Bilibili in 2013, Yamashita has witnessed the astounding growth of the platform and its users.

Yamashita's videos mainly introduce Japanese culture and life to Chinese audiences and he also visits interesting places in China, showing life from the perspective of foreigners. He told the Global Times that during his eight years on Bilibili, he has found the different genres of content on the platform have been flourishing.

In the beginning, Bilibili was a base for Chinese fans of Japanese animation. Young people with similar hobbies gathered here to share their interests. Gradually, young users accumulated wider hobbies and then different channels including life and science became prevalent on the platform.

"Users on the platform imitated Japanese works at first, but then they became more creative and have been pursuing to create their own content. Many younger users with strong creative abilities grew up on the platform," Yamashita said.

The web celebrity tries to break down the misunderstandings about Japanese culture among Chinese audiences through his videos.

Young Chinese people have given many positive impressions on Yamashita. When talking with the Global Times, he praised them for being smart and rational, usually giving brilliant feedback on his videos, and they have a strong ability to learn new things. "They learn very fast. Although those who do not leave campus often lack certain social skills, they are more confident than Japanese people and possess relatively mature thoughts."

Yamashita's views gained support from Gautam Kamath, a Canadian professor at the University of Waterloo, who just created his account on Bilibili on January 3.

Kamath is an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo's Cheriton School of Computer Science. He shared his course videos on Bilibili about specialized information of computer science to make his educational content easily accessible to the large and eager Chinese audiences, he said in a reply to the Global Times via e-mail.

Just after a few days, Kamath gained thousands of followers on the platform and the number of views on each video has surpassed 30,000. Under all videos, hundreds of young users left messages for Kamath and some of them are learning computer science in college, who thanked the professor as they can sharpen their skills through his videos.

"I am lucky to have interacted with many very smart young Chinese people during my academic career so far, including many alumni of Tsinghua and Peking University. All of these people are very smart, dedicated, creative, and hardworking. They place high value on education and knowledge, which I also consider to be very important," Kamath noted.