A Japanese-themed shopping street has been built in China’s Guangdong province to appeal to young Chinese people hankering to travel overseas.
The street, which sits on a 100-metre stretch of road in Foshan city, has been named Ichiban Street and was designed by a local property developer to look like Tokyo’s famous shopping streets, complete with a cherry blossom tree, according to the South China Morning Post.
The street has been adorned with Japanese lanterns, neon signs written in Japanese and Japanese style street signs, traffic lights and road markings.
— アント@中国 (@antant1018) September 20, 2020
The street has attracted hoards of young Chinese people, and local businesses owners said it has been great for business.
“All the shops on this street have been rented out in just two months,” Zhong Guangsheng, who invested 500,000 yuan ($103,345) to open a cafe named Flower Farmer on the road, told the South China Morning Post.
“And the rental price for the second and third floors is soaring because it’s becoming so popular.”
Japanese “Ichiban Street” recreated at new shopping mall in Foshan, China. pic.twitter.com/aDzFuCqo4M
— Tweety 💛 (@Tweety_2047) September 27, 2020
However, Chinese authorities have swooped in to temporarily close the street, reportedly over rumoured copyright complaints and nationalism.
“Landlords weren’t aware of copyright protections at first and just copycatted signs from well-known Japanese brands,” Guangsheng said.
“In the past couple of days, they have actually been busy rectifying the signs, after seeing a growing number of tourists come, including foreigners.”
Authorities have covered up two large signs with the word Ichibangi on them, which is a Japanese word used to describe a shopping street.
Guards have been seen patrolling the street, stopping visitors from taking photos. One guard told the South China Morning Post that the street needed to be “corrected” and renamed without the word ‘Ichibangai’.
Featured image post: Twitter/@antant1018