Japan, China launch 'cartoon' diplomacy | world | Hindustan Times
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Japan, China launch 'cartoon' diplomacy

Putting aside their diplomatic rivalry, Japan and China agreed today to hold joint animation and TV drama festivals to promote grassroots cultural exchange.

world Updated: May 31, 2010 13:19 IST

Putting aside their diplomatic rivalry, Japan and China agreed on Monday to hold joint animation and TV drama festivals to promote grassroots cultural exchange.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday for a three-day visit, reached the accord in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama, a Japanese foreign ministry official said.

As a first step, each country will hold a festival or a special week next year to introduce the other's screen offerings, such as animation and TV drama series, the official said.

"We accepted the Chinese proposal because it's a good offer," the official said. "It will be a good opportunity for both of us to promote our cultural exchange."

As part of his own effort to boost cultural understanding, Wen said he had enjoyed watching Japan's award-winning film "Departures", which had been recommended to him by Hatoyama.

The film, "Okuribito" in Japanese, depicting the esoteric practices of an undertaker who works to preserve a person's dignity after death, was named Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Japanese cartoons, known as "anime", have won a progressively larger audience around the world, including in China. A previous administration in Tokyo set up an annual prize for foreign comics to promote "manga" -- as they are known in Japan -- as an international art.