Tag Archives: History

History Lays Landmines For Marketers

TO PARAPHRASE EDMUND BURKE, the Anglo-Irish political philosopher, those who don’t know history are doomed to be fined for it.

Chinese authorities have fined Sony’s Chinese subsidiary 1 million yuan ($155,000) for announcing a product launch event for a new camera, the A7, that was to have been held on the opening day of a trade fair in Shanghai on July 7, Japan’s Nikkei reports.

The date marks the anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937, generally considered to be the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

There was an immediate backlash in China when the date was first announced. The new camera’s reported marketing tagline ‘Capture More of Your World’ probably did not help. Sony apologised suitably profusely and cancelled its event.

Nonetheless, authorities have gone ahead with imposing the fine, the maximum allowed, citing violations of China’s advertising laws that forbid online advertisements from hurting the dignity or interests of the state. Authorities found that Sony had hurt the dignity of the nation.

Authorities also said they fined the Chinese unit of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics 400,000 yuan because its advertisements for two smartphone models violated laws forbidding the disrupting of social order and spurring disobedience.

Last year, the Japanese gaming giant Capcom found itself caught up in a PR whirlwind in China after using ‘918’ as the passcode for the launch of Resident Evil 3. Patriotic social media users took this as a reference to the Mukden Incident on September 18, 1931, which Imperial Japan staged and then used as a pretext for its invasion of China.

Just the previous month, Tencent had removed a popular Japanese anime and manga, My Hero Academia, from its streaming services following Chinese claims that a newly introduced character was a reference to Unit 731, the Japanese military’s biowarfare research unit during the Second World War, responsible for hundred’s of thousands of deaths.

The only safe dates for Japanese product launches in China might be August 15, the anniversary of Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s surrender to end the Second World War or September 2, the date of the surrender ceremony and the formal end of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Leave a comment

Filed under China-Japan, Media

Sun, Rain And The Demise Of China’s Dynasties

A team of Chinese and American scientists has drawn a link between the demise of the Tang, Yuan and Ming imperial dynasties and the strength of monsoon rains.

An ancient stalagmite found rising from the floor of Wangxiang Cave in Gansu province has allowed the researchers, Zhang Pingzhong, a geologist at Lanzhou University, and his colleagues and Hai Cheng, a geologist at the University of Minnesota, to chart the rise and fall in strength of Asian monsoons for over 1,800 years. The three dynasties all came to their end during weak, and thus dry monsoon periods. The scientists, writing in the journal Science (link here, but it is a subscription site; BBC summary here), speculate that weak monsoons mean that the monsoon rains necessary for growing rice don’t spread far enough west and north, leading to poor harvests and civil unrest. They link the variability in the strength of monsoons to temporary weakening of the sun, which also seems to have contributed to the collapse of Maya civilization in Mesoamerica and the advance of glaciers in the Alps.

How tight the connection between monsoons and political demise will no doubt make for debate among geologists and historians. Nature quotes Zhang Deer, chief scientist of the National Climate Centre  in Beijing, saying that  climate is just one of the many factors that determine the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties.

More interestingly, the scientists found that in the past half century greenhouse gases and aerosols have taken over from natural variability to become the dominant influence on the monsoon. A compelling reason for China’s leaders to take getting an international agreement on global warming seriously.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Politics & Society