Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

Purges and harassment. Torture and destruction. And millions dead. Those are what China's Cultural Revolution evokes. And according to one Chinese news source, there's a new Cultural Revolution-themed cafe.

Xinhua, one of China's largest news sources, ran images this week of the themed restaurant, which it claims is based in Tokyo's Ikebukuro. Xinhua reports that it's just been opened a month ago. However, this isn't the first Cultural Revolution-themed restaurant. Beijing has seen Red dinner theater .

These latest photos show staff in Chinese military garb. Photos of Chairman Mao decorate the walls. And the menu isn't a Little Red Book, but a big one.

Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

Xinhua reports that the restaurant's name is "The East Is Red" (東方紅), which was pretty much the theme song of the Cultural Revolution.

The story and photos are spreading through Twitter and Facebook in Japan via website Itai News. Many people seem to take it as fact—or to want to take it as fact. Others seem baffled that this would appear in Japan. The tense relations and history between the two countries makes it even more baffling.

The odd thing, however, is that on Twitter, no Japanese users seem to have, at the time of writing, posted any photos of the restaurant. Moreover, the only photos that pop up in searches are the Xinhua images for this article. That's kind of iffy!

Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

There is a chain of restaurants in Tokyo with the name "The East Is Red" (東方紅 or "Touhoukou" in the Japanese reading). The Ikebukuro branch, however, has a different name (Cafe Quatrieme). Kotaku attempted to contact this establishment, but there was no answer. Looking at the photos online, the interior is totally different from the Cultural Revolution-themed dive.

As pointed out by Twitter user ChinaNews21, the source of the Xinhua story appears to be Xinhua's Japan bureau chief Jiang Feng. He is based in Tokyo. And in China, Feng is a known pundit on Japan. He publishes books on the country and appears on Chinese television as a talking head.

Here, you can see photos from Feng's microblog of the Cultural Revolution-themed restaurant. He also says the restaurant opened recently in Ikebukuro.

Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

The pics, however, are dated Halloween, so there's that to contend with. Or maybe, as ChinaNews21 suggests, it could be a kitschy Cultural Revolution-themed restaurant? The items on display seem like the strange Cultural Revolution souvenirs you can apparently find in China.

Mysterious Chinese Restaurant in Tokyo Raises Eyebrows Online

It's just odd that there are no other photos of it online, and Japanese Twitter users don't seem to have a website or address for the place.

日本东京华人聚集地开设"东方红"餐厅 [Xinhua]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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