Anti-Japanese mooncakes

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Now even innocent mooncakes are enlisted in the campaign against Japan:

Tònghèn xiǎo Rìběn 痛恨小日本 ("Detest Little Japan!")

Dǎdǎo xiǎo Rìběn 打倒小日本 ("Down with Little Japan!")

Yǎo sǐ xiǎo Rìběn 咬死小日本 ("Bite Little Japan to Death!")

Gǎn zǒu xiǎo Rìběn 赶走小日本 ("Expel Little Japan!")

The emphasis on "Little Japan" is similar to the use of the pejorative term "Japs". This notion is reinforced by the smallness of the mooncakes. Also, the strange incitement to "Bite Little Japan to Death!" may have been inspired by the morbid thought that, with each bite of a mooncake, patriotic Chinese should imagine that they are biting "Little Japan(ese)".


  1. L said,

    September 21, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    What an idiotic thing, messing with ordinary food for such purposes.

    I'll stick with good old American Freedom Fries, and then maybe some Freedom Onion Soup…

  2. Victor Mair said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 5:54 am


    Bearing in mind that the concept of freedom is rather different from the vicious ideas expressed on these mooncakes.

  3. J.W. Brewer said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    Would the not-uncommon (esp I think pre-WW2, although my perceptions on that could be skewed) Japanese usage of "Dai Nippon" as a semi-synonym for the country (usually glossed in English as Greater Japan rather than merely Big Japan, I think) be sufficiently well known in China that this could be an ironic reference/reversal to/of it?

  4. L said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    @Victor – and not editorializing on the people who coined those terms, except to say that their notion of linear thinking owes much to a Freedom curve.

  5. joanne salton said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    I think that "little" refers to the size of the island and the supposed inferiority to huge China, doesn't it (?), despite the "dwarf pirates" type insults that exist, so I don't know if it is all that similar to "Jap". (Perhaps in the manner J.W.Brewer suggested).

    Anyway, all in all, "Jap", which was criticized on a recent thread, really seems to me to be the least offensive offensive insult imaginable. I can't imagine or remember any Japanese person minding the term.

  6. L said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    @Joanne – Perhaps on the British side of the pond, but stateside "Jap" is a definite slur.

    (Whereas JAP is entirely different. But ya gotta suffer to sing the blues.)

  7. Jonathan Gress-Wright said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

    "Freedom fries" is certainly jingoistic, but at least we didn't come up with "Bite Little France to Death fries".

  8. L said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    True. Nor even "Bite Little France to Death Toast" which would have been easier to write on, at least.

    I'm not excusing or condoning the hate-pastries in China, far from it.

  9. joanne salton said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    L – I'm aware of the vitriol possible in "Jap" – in the end though it is just an abbreviation, no different from "Brit".

  10. Gumaro said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    Joanne: That's a false parallel. "Brit" and "Jap" are VERY different terms. Just because they're both truncated forms of their respective demonyms doesn't make them equal. Many of my Japanese friends would (rightfully) take umbrage if you were to refer to them as "Jap." You don't get to decide what's offensive to other people.

  11. Peter said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    The "little" is definitely pejorative. I have heard "小日本", "小台湾", and "死老美". Not neutral references. Also, another example of "小" as a bad thing: "小人".

  12. joanne salton said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Jap means quite the same in the UK as the US – I can't think of another example though where a mere obvious abbreviation, with no manner of a twist at all, is regarded as some sort of deadly insult. It is the curious and unusual nature of this that led to the term being used unwittingly on the other thread in the first place.

  13. M (was L) said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    @Joanne – Well this here Heeb can think of one. Maybe some friendly Pakistani can tell you about another.

    That said, I think there's difference based on context and usage, and on that too-overlooked period. "Jap." (or "Heb.") as a shorthand to designate the language, is fine in my book.

  14. joanne salton said,

    September 28, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    M was L – I must admit I thought of "Paki" after I posted that – Heeb is uncommon in the UK. I suppose I should admit to being wrong, but I have seen this kind of situation occur with "Jap" before – it is after all useful term on occasion, more so than "Paki" I think.

    Actually what then struck me about this sort of diminutive is this – the effect seems to intensify the general feelings of the one group for the other, and work as dimunitives do between individuals – friendly only when aimed at perceived friends, otherwise aggressive. For the "Brits" "Aussie" is rather friendly, and "Paki" is sadly the most hostile of these. "Brit" said by an American is a sort of grudging half-approving term, I feel.

  15. Rocky said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 5:49 am

    Every one need to have a basic knowledge of Moon Cake….

    It is a weapon to distroy the Great Mongolian Emperior inside China in Ancient time, even to-day Vietnamese still celebrate and eat Moon Cake to remember the event ( Vietnam is still a part of China in that time not Independent yet ) .

    There is a paper written that " kill all Mongolian at 9 SEP night Sharp " and every chinese family have at least one box of these Moon Cake, after chinese read the paper, then prepare knife, and any kind of weapon, and go to kill all Mongolian at night….. Result 10 SEP , Mongolian Emperior Collaspse within 24 hours. Now the Moon Cake start to tell all chinese what to prepare to do.

  16. JPN said,

    October 17, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    joanne, you are wrong to use "JAP" as "UK" or "US". you can try calling 'JAP' to Japanese when possible

    abbreviation to Japan is "JPN".

  17. Bathrobe said,

    July 12, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    I can't think of another example though where a mere obvious abbreviation, with no manner of a twist at all, is regarded as some sort of deadly insult
    You forgot Nips.

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