China is being accused of pirating Japan’s Shinkansen down to the children’s cartoon based on its locomotives.
The expansion of China’s Shinkansen-esque high-speed rail system recently saw the opening of the Bejing-Shanghai line – and the airing of a cartoon based on the new trains, which Chinese Internet denizens have identified as a flagrant copy of a 1997 Japanese anime based on the antics of anthropomorphised Shinkansen:
The case is particularly notable as China has already been accused of essentially pirating its entire high-speed rail network.
China initially developed its high-speed rail system by buying in locomotives and technologies from various overseas partners, but soon after dumped most of its foreign partners and began making “indigenously developed” enhanced versions of their trains.
A production partnership with Kawasaki, which ended up with Kawasaki kicked out of the country in 2004 and China producing hundreds of trains suspiciously similar to the ones Kawasaki sold it, is a case in point.
The Chinese company now building these insists it a “completely different” train on the inside.
Whether China simply pirated the trains or the overseas partners merely idiotically trained and equipped a major new competitor is a matter of ongoing debate.
That China’s previous minister for railways, a key proponent of the high speed rail system, was recently arrested for taking what is estimated to be over a hundred million dollars in bribes has also raised suspicions even in China itself as to just what level of China quality is involved in the system.
China for its part has also been further antagonising Kawasaki and its other discarded partners by attempting to peddle its trains the world over, and even cheekily suggesting Japan should buy its superior new trains.
However, Japan seems to have had the last laugh – its press have been gleefully reporting the fact that trains running on the recently opened Bejing-Shanghai line had as many as six major incidents in their first five days of operation. Critics contend it is only a matter of time before one explodes.