Interview with Ryo Takeuchi: A long-standing Sino-Japan friendship
Zhang Ziyu

Living in a globalizing world, an increasing number of people choose to live in other countries for their own reasons. The documentary "The Reason I Live Here" records the stories of those people. 

Ryo Takeuchi, the director of the internet documentary series "The Reason I Live Here," is a Japanese who lives in Nanjing, China. His film chronicling Chinese living abroad and foreigners who live in China, including a wide variety of Japanese citizens, garnered millions of hits on Chinese sharing platforms. 

Takeuchi and his crew started to meet with the followers of the documentary series at three cities successively in December. The last fan meeting will be held in Nanjing on December 28. 

The first fan meeting was held in Beijing. /Photo courtesy of Ryo Takeuchi

The first fan meeting was held in Beijing. /Photo courtesy of Ryo Takeuchi

China's changes through Takeuchi's eyes

Director Takeuchi's friends didn't understand his decision to move to China in 2013. "They asked me why you are going to China?” 

Takeuchi told CGTN, "China has changed enormously in the past seven years. Japanese's perceptions of China have also changed," he said, "China has surpassed Japan in terms of technology, the economy and other aspects. Japanese people know about it too." 

Takeuchi has studied at Nanjing University and speaks mandarin fluently. The voiceover of the documentary "The Reason I Live Here" is his voice.  He was in China for another documentary series about the Yangtze River in 2010, and that's when he started to know more about China. His wife, also the documentary's producer, is Chinese. 

"I have a friend who works for a giant Japanese enterprise. He visited me in China and I asked him the reason why he came here, he said he wants to see what Japan will look like in five years," Takeuchi responded when asked about the reason he stayed in China. "The rapid development of societies makes it's hard to predict what it's going to be like in the future, which is fascinating for me. This is a challenge." 

Japanese director Ryo Takeuchi being interviewed by CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Japanese director Ryo Takeuchi being interviewed by CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Chinese people in Japan

Over 8 million Chinese citizens visited Japan in 2018, according to the Nikkei Chinese. Chinese tourists dominate the list in terms of spending. An increasing number of people choose Japan as their destination. 

In some cases, people choose to stay in Japan for the long term. During the filming, Takeuchi had the chance to interview some Chinese who were living in Japan. 

"We have filmed Chinese people in their 60s,50s,40s,20s. From 50 to 60 years old, Chinese would go to Japan to earn money since the economic gap between China and Japan was large back in the 1980s," he said, "But the post-90s generation is totally different. They didn't go to Japan for money. Nowadays, you can earn more money in China. For technology? No need, because China's technology has overtaken Japan. So those Chinese people went to Japan to fulfill their dreams."

YouTube screenshot of documentary 'The Reason I Live Here.'

YouTube screenshot of documentary 'The Reason I Live Here.'

Home's where the heart is

As a Japanese director living in China, Takeuchi records people-to-people exchanges between China and Japan. Being geographically close makes it easier for people from two countries to visit, and also influence each other in many aspects. 

Every outlander has their own "the reason I live here;" it may be for their jobs or for love. 

We are living in an inclusive world, it doesn't really matter where are from. Home is not just where we were born, it has a deeper meaning for outlanders. As an old Chinese poem goes: "Home is where the heart is." 

Cover image designer: Li Jingjie

Videographer: Hua Xuyang

Video editors: Yan Meiyi, Chen Haoxuan