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People live similar lives in China and Japan: Japanese director

Xu Fei

A documentary film "The Yangtze River," which was released in Japan in April, is due out in Chinese theaters on Friday (May 24).

"When this film was released earlier this year in Japan, I paid particular attention to the moviegoers' reactions in a Japanese cinema, and found that everyone reacted in a similar way, whether laughing or crying, around the same point in a movie scene," said Japanese director Ryo Takeuchi in an exclusive interview with CGTN.

A photo shows a scene from the documentary
A photo shows a scene from the documentary "The Yangtze River." /Photo provided to CGTN

A photo shows a scene from the documentary "The Yangtze River." /Photo provided to CGTN

Half of the audience was made up of Chinese people living in Japan, while the other half was made up of native Japanese. "The lives of ordinary people, including their joys and sorrows, are common to both of them," the director added.

Traversing 6,300 kilometers of magnificent mountains and rivers, the Yangtze River, a busy waterway that largely drives the country's economy and trade, has witnessed noticeable progress in the living conditions of the people who live along its banks over the past decade, which is the key theme that drives the plot forward.

Documentary films are usually seen as powerful tools for addressing pressing social issues, and "The Yangtze River" is one such example that vividly depicts a prominent challenge facing China: the aging population, which, as the director points out, is a similar issue in Japan.  

"Young Japanese are not willing to engage in hard physical work like their peers in China. They would be very happy to work comfortably surfing the internet in the office. If you travel to Japan, you will find that the local taxi drivers are usually quite old, as are the workers on the cargo ships that sail along the Yangtze River. The aging population is a trend that the whole world has to face," said the Japanese film director, who has long life experience of both his hometown in Japan and now in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.    

Since its release in Japan, the film has been widely acclaimed by Japanese critics and moviegoers for its new perspective on the changes and development in China.  

Short video clips of Ryo Takeuchi's new film are available on some of China's popular short-video platforms ahead of its anticipated release.

Even a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that people from other countries would learn about China through the documentary and travel to the country to witness its robust progress in modernization firsthand.

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