No marriages on ‘Day of Shame’

Posted by Martyn.

According to Chinese numerology, September 18 should be an auspicious day for a wedding because, in standard Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the words “9-18” sound similar to ‘wishing for good fortune’. Chinese couples pondering their perfect wedding date usually seek such auspicious days as matter of course.

However, September 18 is significant for another entirely different reason that can only be found in history books – it’s also the day that historians attribute as the beginning of Japan’s military aggression which led to the full invasion of China in 1937. As a result, Chinese couples have been postponing their planned marriages on what some have called a “Day of Shame”.

September 18 isn’t an official public holiday in China but, in the 60th anniversary year of the end of World War II, the government has sanctioned commemorations, including public rallies, moments of silence, and the sounding of air raid sirens, as this AP article attests:

Chinese couples are avoiding getting married on the anniversary of a battle with Japan remembered as a national “Day of Shame,” reports said Thursday, in the latest sign of rising nationalism among the young.

Hotels in the northeastern city of Harbin report many couples have canceled wedding banquets booked for Sunday, the anniversary of the Sept. 18, 1931, attack by Japanese troops in northeastern China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“The reasons given are all the same: It’s a day of national shame,” Xinhua said, citing the manager of a hotel in Harbin’s Daoli district. It didn’t name the hotel or the manager.

Traditionally, Sept. 18 would be considered an auspicious day for a wedding according to Chinese numerology because the Chinese language version of the date, 9-18, sounds similar to a wish for good fortune.

But the date is also regarded as the start of Japanese military aggression against China that culminated in all-out invasion in 1937, and it has fallen out of favor amid rising nationalism.

Many Chinese feel Japan has never shown adequate remorse for its wartime brutality, sentiments encouraged by the Communist Party, whose wartime opposition to the invasion is part of its claim to legitimacy.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

Is this the same date the press got so upset about (last year / two years ago?) when a Japanese tour group was found to booked a whole hotel and filed it with prostitutes? I think the Chinese hotel manager got a life sentence. The press came to the conclusion that the Japanese tour was specifically booked for this day to heap more shame on China.

September 15, 2005 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

Yes, you’re bang on Tucker. The orgy supposedly began two days before (the 72nd anniversary of the start of the Japanese army’s occupation of Northeast China in 1931) on September 16 and the tour group left Zhuhai on September 18. According to the People’s Daily.

September 16, 2005 @ 2:36 am | Comment

Of course, 9/18 this year is also zhongqiu jie, and an official holiday, but that’s a coincidence of the lunar calendar.

September 16, 2005 @ 7:23 am | Comment

So does the opposite apply? I mean do Chinese people actively seek to get married on the anniversaries of China’s last invasion of Japan, India, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia, etc?

Surely it works both ways?

September 16, 2005 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Luke, what do you mean?

Don’t you know that Japan, India, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia are all PARTS of China? Don’t you know they have ALWAYS belonged to China?

Oh, sorry, I meant to say: “Japan Province of China, India Province of China, Vietnam Province of China, Tibet Province of China, Korea Province of China, Russia Province of China, Finland Province of China, Sweden Province of China……”

September 16, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

I personally can’t wait to celebrate the “liberation” of Taiwan “province!” Get me some peanuts and some tinseltoe, and turn on some rockin’ “muzak of da muthaland,” I’ll be ready to rock. I wanna get married on that day, hopefully to a tyrant…

September 19, 2005 @ 1:47 am | Comment

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