Copied from Japanese anime? Social media users accuse Chinese TV show of plagiarism

“The problem is that the plagiarized version isn't as good as the original.”
By Raymond Cheng for RFA Cantonese
2023.01.23
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Copied from Japanese anime? Social media users accuse Chinese TV show of plagiarism The opening song of the 2023 CCTV Spring Festival Gala, "Flowers Bloom in Our Homeland," [shown] is similar to the song "Peaceful * Champuru," which plays during the closing credits of the Japanese anime video game “Princess Connect! Re:Dive.”
Credit: Screenshot from video

The opening theme song for China's state-run television extravaganza welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit has sparked online outrage after gaming fans posted video clips suggesting it had been plagiarized from a Japanese anime video game.

CCTV's Spring Festival gala, a long-running fixture of Lunar New Year celebrations in China, opened with a star-studded cast singing a jaunty number titled "Flowers bloom in our homeland."

Pretty soon, posts were popping up on social media both at home and overseas noting the similarity between the song, which was said to have been penned especially for the gala event, and the song titled "Peaceful * Champuru" that plays out over the closing credits of Japanese anime video game Princess Connect! Re:Dive.

"This is totally plagiarism, and totally not surprising!" read a comment by user @Wangxiang_guest under a story on the issue posted to the overseas-based Chinese-language site Wenxue City. "Plagiarism has been common practice since the Qing Dynasty."

"The problem is that the plagiarized version isn't as good as the original," agreed @Underpants_Superman, while @shakuras2000's reaction was somewhat more jaded: "Just get used to it. There are so many Chinese songs that have been copied from Japan." 

"So some daring thief has dared to plagiarize an anime song from the Great Kingdom of Japan!" quipped @Beijing_Rice_Bucket.

“Where’s the homegrown talent?”

Users on the mainland China-based social media platform Weibo were slightly more circumspect, commenting under a post of mock outrage at the plagiarism "rumor-mongering."

"It's clear that they are very similar," wrote @VegNo9_with_eggs, while @Diligent_Brother commented: "China has so many conservatoires, so what happened to all that homegrown talent?"

Others responded with laughing or crying emojis, while @Even_dregs_need_designing quipped: "Actually, the flowers are blooming in Japan!"

Meanwhile, @Keep_a_low_profile had a suggestion for China's internet censors: "It's not hard to handle -- just block the original version," the user wrote with a cackle emoji.

Japanese Twitter user @linsbar described the opening song's melody as a "ripoff" of the anime tune, while Twitter user @Canadasheep0121 wondered where all the online supporters of the ruling Chinese Communist Party were.

"The Little Pinks seem extraordinarily quiet on this," the user tweeted.

State-backed English-language tabloid the Global Times cited some of them describing the gala performance as being packed with "awesome creativity with a message that is too beautiful to be true."

"A culturally influential modern nation should have its representative modern cultural products, one of which is the Spring Festival Gala that crystallizes the Chinese people's spirit and creativity," the paper said in an editorial on Monday.

Copyright? Not an issue.

U.S.-based current affairs commentator Wang Jian said he wasn't surprised at the similarity between the two songs.

"China doesn't pay much attention to copyright issues," Wang said. "It's entirely possible that this person just copied [the song]."

"They could just have said 'we want to buy the rights [to use the song] -- how much would that cost?' Does CCTV have no money?" he said.

He said the gala should have been canceled out of respect for the large numbers of people currently dying of COVID-19 in China.

"Millions of families lost loved ones this year ... do they really want to have a joyful party?"

Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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