TOKYO — Japanese retailers and manufacturers are still assessing the aftermath of large-scale protests that took place in several Chinese cities over the weekend amid a growing diplomatic row about the ownership of a small chain of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan but over which both countries claim sovereignty.
According to press reports, thousands of Chinese citizens took to the streets attacking Japanese-run businesses, including department stores and supermarkets, and demonstrating outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Japan-China relations have plunged to fresh lows since a move by Tokyo last week to secure rights to the islands, located in the ocean between the two countries, by buying them from the private Japanese citizens who owned them.
One wire image showed protestors breaking the window of a building housing a Seibu department store in Shenzhen. A spokeswoman for Dickson Concepts International Ltd., the Hong Kong-based parent company that runs the store, confirmed that the store was damaged but declined to comment further on the extent. She said the store was open on Monday.
In Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, at least one branch of the Japanese-owned Heiwado department store was damaged, according to a local news Web site. Calls to all three of Heiwado’s locations in Changsha went unanswered Monday.
A Shiseido spokesman said protesters damaged an unspecified number of the company’s sales counters at retailers such as hypermarket Jusco, part of Aeon Co. Ltd., and Heiwado. He did not have more information about the scope of the damage, but he said the affected stores are closed for the time being. The spokesman characterized the damage as part of broader attacks on the retailers rather than violence targeting Shiseido specifically.
Some major Japanese players in China appear to have survived the protests without major incident — at least for now. A spokesman for Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., which operates about 145 Uniqlo stores in Mainland China, said the company hasn’t received any reports of damage to its stores or employees. He acknowledged protests have affected sales but said he could not quantify the impact. A spokesman for Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. said the retailer decided to close its Isetan store in Chengdu a couple hours earlier than normal on Monday and might curtail operating hours on Tuesday as a precautionary measure. He said there have been no reports of damage at the Chengdu store or at the group’s four other stores in China.
Tuesday is the anniversary of a controversial incident that precipitated Japan’s invasion of China in the Thirties, meaning it’s possible that more protests could take place in the coming days. China and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, respectively, have a long and complicated history stretching back centuries and are significant trade partners.
At least 80,000 Chinese participated in protests in 85 cities over the weekend, with some turning violent in Xi’an, Dongguan, Changsha and Qingdao, where demonstrators smashed windows of Japanese stores and overturned cars made in Japan, Chinese media reported.
A front-page editorial in Monday’s edition of the People’s Daily newspaper, which is considered the mouthpiece of the Chinese government, warned that China would consider economic sanctions if Japan does not abandon its claim that islands in the East China Sea are not under Chinese jurisdiction. Last week, Japan decided to buy the islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyu and Tokyo calls the Senkaku.
Breaking: @cushnieetochs’ co-founders @carlycushnie and @ochsmichelle are parting ways. After a 10-year run, Ochs is leaving the brand. Get the full story on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
@maybelline’s Kanako Takase had snow bunnies in mind when creating the beauty look for @philipppleininternational. Playing off of the bedazzled snowboards in the collection, Takase mixed two highlighters together for a luminous sheen. #wwdbeauty #nyfw (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
“There’s a huge gap between the old way of doing things and today. It takes the youth to help evolve that. You have to count on the kids today to help lead you into the future. A lot of these retailers are stuck in the past. Communication is the biggest thing,” said @ronniefieg of @kith on the youth’s role in retail. On Monday night, Jeff Staple moderated a keynote session with Fieg and @syresmith at Assembly - a series of workshops, talks and keynotes addressing topics or issues in the apparel industry. Head to WWD.com to read more advice from Fieg and what Smith thinks of his dad @willsmith’s Instagram account and sustainability (📷: @weston.wells)
@joansmalls closed the @michaelkors fall 2018 show in black sequined pants and a varsity T printed with 19 on the front and 81 on the back. 1981 – the year Kors went into business. #wwdfashion #nfyw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“You think your life is going to be a certain way, and nothing you thought would happen ends up happening. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be designing clothes and working with Mickey Drexler, and building something I’m deeply proud of,” said Jenna Lyons. Nine months after leaving @jcrew, Lyons is exploring the meaning of happiness. Read the interview, where Lyons talks about reinvention and more on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Farrell) #jennalyons #jcrew