That's the headline of an article in today's shanghaiist.
What is the greatest Japanese export to China? Language!
As anti-Japanese protests and riots swirl across China (over some tiny, rocky, contested islands in the middle of the sea between Taiwan and Okinawa), Xu Wenguang, program director of CCTV 1, made this remarkable statement:
To all those people calling for the boycott of Japanese products and those using this opportunity to attack the property of your own countrymen. You need to know that the biggest Japanese export to China isn't cars, or television sets or manga. It's language. About 70% of social science terms used in Chinese today came from Japanese — 'society', 'economics', 'philosophy', 'environment', 'arts', 'medicine', 'law', 'rights', and yes, even 'protest'. If you love this country, then strive to help this country gain respect from others instead of using cheap means of displaying your intolerance.
`Hūyù dǐzhì Rì huò, shènzhì jiè jī dǎzá tóngbāo cáiwù de rén, xū zhīdào, Rìběn chūkǒu dào Zhōngguó zuìduō de bùshì qìchē, diànshì, hé dòngmàn, ér shì cíhuì. Xiàndài Hànyǔ 70%de shèkē cíhuì láizì Rìyǔ, pìrú: shèhuì , jīngjì, zhéxué, huánjìng, yìshù, yīxué, fǎlǜ, rénquán…bāokuò “kàngyì”. Ài zìjǐ de guójiā, jiù nǔlì ràng zhège guójiā yíngdé biérén de zūnzhòng yǔ jìngwèi, ér bùshì yòng liánjià de fènnù zhèngmíng zìjǐ de piānxiá.'
「呼吁抵制日货,甚至借机打砸同胞财物的人,需知道,日本出口到中国最多的不是汽车、电视和动漫,而是词汇。现代汉语70%的社科词汇来自日语, 譬如：社会、经济、哲学、环境、艺术、医学、法律、人权…包括“抗议”。爱自己的国家,就努力让这个国家赢得别人的尊重与敬畏,而不是用廉价的愤 怒证明自己的偏狭。」
In my Language Log posts and elsewhere, I've often pointed out the Japanese origins of many key words in modern Chinese intellectual, cultural, and scientific discourse. See, for example, "Two Papers on Sinolinguistics: 1. A Hypothesis Concerning the Origin of the Term fanqie ('Countertomy'); 2. East Asian Round-Trip Words," Sino-Platonic Papers, 34 (October, 1992).
Xu Wenguang deserves our respect, not only for encouraging his fellow countrymen to adopt a more civilized approach when expressing their grievances, but for recognizing that intangible things of tremendous importance can be imported as well as tangible ones, and that the greatest of these just might be language.
[A tip of the hat to Neil Schmid]