Dogs and Japanese not admitted

« previous post | next post »

Sign in the window of a snack shop in Houhai district of Beijing called Beijing Snacks (Bǎinián lǔ zhě 百年卤者 [Century Braiser]):

The sign reads:

Běndiàn bù jiēdài Rìběnrén Fēilǜbīnrén Yuènánrén hé gǒu
This shop does not receive the Japanese, the Philippines, the Vietnamese, and dog.

I find it extremely interesting and encouraging (in terms of orthography) that the characters on the sign that constitute proper nouns are grouped together and set off with spaces. Moreover, there is an attempt to have the translation positioned in such a manner that the English words are paired with the corresponding Chinese words, as though they were running glosses or annotations.

See "Beijing restaurant bans Pinoys and dogs" and "No Dogs, But Also No Japanese, Filipinos, Or Vietnamese Allowed?."

This sign calls to mind the widespread legend that Huangpu Park (at the northern end of the Bund in Shanghai) used to have at its entrance a sign that read "No dogs or Chinese allowed" — popularized in the Bruce Lee film "Fist of Fury" — but which is fictitious in that form.

[A tip of the hat to Geoff Wade]


  1. Hans Adler said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 2:58 am

    Just a quick reminder that such attitudes also exist in the west: ("Denmark jails 'racist' pizza man").

  2. Victor Mair said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that this sign should be viewed in the context of a war that is brewing between China and these and other countries whose territories are impacted by China's hugely expansive claims.

  3. Jeff Carney said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    ". . . this sign should be viewed in the context of a war that is brewing between China and these and other countries . . ."

    It was only a matter of time before dogs got politically organized. Damn!

  4. CuConnacht said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Just a quick reminder that the man in Hans Adler's link was sent to jail.

  5. Nelida K. said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

    Tip of the hat to @Jeff Carney: you absolutely made my day (or night, rather). Good one!

  6. kcc said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

    It's 百年卤煮 not 百年卤者

  7. Gianni said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

    Here the spaces are actually EMPHASIS. In Chinese, spaces, as written forms of pauses, are always used as emphatic sign. It is noteworthy that the most notable spaces in this pic are not spaces between proper nouns but between 本 店 不 接 待. This is called 一字一句 as a Chinese idiom, indicating a firm stress.

  8. michael farris said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 2:58 am

    "China's hugely expansive claims"

    That's not a surprise, but….. the Phillipines?

  9. Soris said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 7:10 am

    Michael: yes. The dispute here concerns the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by all the listed countries apart from Japan, and also by a few others which apparently have not yet offended this shopkeeper sufficiently to become targets of his racism.

  10. Victor Mair said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 7:47 am

    China also claims rights to territories other than the Spratly Islands which are close to the Philippines.

  11. Victor Mair said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 7:50 am

    @Jeff Carney and Nelida K.

    Might be a private joke for you two, but I don't think you understand what the shopkeeper is saying.

  12. Victor Mair said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    @ Gianni and kcc, for those who do not read Chinese:

    lǔzhǔ 卤煮 ("braised [snacks]")

    yīzìyījù 一字一句 ("one character, one sentence / phrase", i.e., "one character = one sentence / phrase" or "one character at a time")

  13. Nathan said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    I was immediately reminded of "No Spiders or Visigoths Allowed".

  14. leoboiko said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    I recall some old Norakuro Japanese war-era comics where the Japanese where fluffy dogs and the Chinese cowardly pigs.

  15. J.W. Brewer said,

    March 3, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    This sort of connection is not restricted to East Asia, as e.g. John Lydon p/k/a Johnny Rotten titled his autobiography "No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs," alluding to the notion (which may well also be an urban myth) that signs so proclaiming were a common sight in the bad old days in London. (He himself grew up in an Irish-immigrant family in a poor part of London where many/most of the residents were either of Irish or Jamaican origin.) Based on the wikipedia article linked about the old Huangpu Park, it sounds like the sign could also have been equally plausibly paraphrased "No Bicycles or Chinese Allowed," but that might not have had quite the same ring or enabled the same sort of snowclone extension by today's nationalists/chauvinists.

  16. Alan Chin said,

    March 5, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    In no way excusing the racism of the contemporary sign, but I imagine that it's definitely echoing the Age of Imperialism and the reputed Shanghai sign. Another place which supposedly had such a sign prohibiting Chinese people and dogs was Shamin Island in Guangzhou.

  17. Gianni said,

    March 6, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

    Is racism and nationalism the same thing? This is obviously nationalism but not racism.

  18. Caio McCaioson Ibn Caio said,

    March 6, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

    After having lived in China for five years, I don't understand why so many apologists try to explain away the basic and simple fact that there is no taboo against racism in China, and that violent racial hatred is a day-to-day part of mainland Chinese life. They learn it in schools, they see it on TV. They practice it whenever they are in the presence of someone who is not Chinese, be it a resident minority, a visible minority, or another East Asian from a neighbouring country. .

    Here's a litmus test I liked to give foreigners who would go on and on about how it's "just their culture":

    Any time you see someone in China do something to an ethnic minority, ask yourself, "Would that be allowed to happen in my home country."

    So if I put up a sign saying "No Chinese or dogs." In Canada, would anyone – Chinese or otherwise – consider me to be anything but a racist scumbag?

    If I saw an East Asian walking down the street in Canada, and screamed, "HEY FOREIGNER F*CK YOUR MOTHER!! HAHAHA CHINKS DON'T UNDERSTAND ENGLISH!!! HAHAHAHA". Would anyone consider that not-racist? And yet every day for five years people screamed the equivalent of that at me, and I had to grit my teeth.

    If I had a Chinese coemployee, and I refuse to use his name for five years straight, instead just calling him "foreigner" or "stupid foreigner", and condescendingly showed him how to use lightswitches because "I know in your country you monkeys don't have such advanced technology", and gave him long lectures about how people of different nationalities were "culturally, intellectually, morally and genetically inferior", would anyone consider me anything but a racist?

    And yet, when those kinds of day-to-day behaviours are extremely commonplace in China, I'm supposed to accept it as "non-racist" because it's just not racist when a Chinese person does it and there are mitigating circumstances whenever a Chinese person does anything ethically abhorrent. What kind of insane dream logic is that?

RSS feed for comments on this post