For some students, summer is a time to rest; for others, a time to work. But for a growing number of China's female youth, the summer break is a chance to go under the knife.
According to a report last week in China News, plastic surgery for Chinese women has begun to spread from the typical middle-aged women to recent high school graduates and university students.
Since June, major Chinese hospitals and cosmetic surgery clinics report having received about twice the normal number of patients consulting about plastic surgery. More than half of them are students.
Xiao Si is one of them. Entering a college specialized in performing arts, she isnâ€™t satisfied with her looks. China News reports that Xiao went through a "whole set" of cosmetic interventions including a double-fold eyelids operation, a nose job, and chin augmentation. She has the full support of her parents,
"I feel more confident now and, seeing my success, quite a few of my friends are now also finding out how to shape themselves up!" boasted Xiao, who had the operations done a month ago.
Yang Wenhua, a doctor specializing in cosmetic surgery, confirmed to China News that his clinicâ€™s business has accelerated during the last two summers, including plenty of girls who just walked out of their high schools and are looking forward to their "new life with a new image."
Yang said other girls seeking surgery blame a recent break-up on their looks. "Summer vacation is the best moment to do it since you need time to recover after surgery," noted the doctor.
Thanks to several South Korean TV seriesâ€™ popularity in China, many girls go to hospitals holding film star photos and ask to be transformed to look like their idols, the China News article said.
South Korea is reported to have the worldâ€™s highest proportion of women resorting to the help of cosmetic operations. According to data published by South Koreaâ€™s Health and Welfare Ministry, in 2013, Chinese people accounted for 26.5% of the total number of medical tourists in the country, of which the majority were there for plastic surgery.
Two weeks ago, the broadcast of the South Korean Beauty Contest was making news in neighboring Japan and China because so many of the contestants had unusually narrow noses and wide eyes. "This is more like a Plastic Surgery Fair!," Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper quipped. "The 34 contenders all look identical!"
Japan's new prime minister is facing the twin challenges of COVID-19 and regional tensions, and some wonder whether he can even last as long as his predecessor, who was forced out after barely one year.
TOKYO — When Fumio Kishida, Japan's new prime minister. introduced himself earlier this month, he announced that the three major projects of his premiership will be the control of the ongoing pandemic; a new type of capitalism; and national security.
Kishida also pledged to deal with China "as its neighbor, biggest trade partner and an important nation which Japan should continue to dialogue with."
Nothing too surprising. Still, it was a rapid turn of events that brought him to the top job, taking over for highly unpopular predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, who had suddenly announced his resignation from office.
After a fierce race, Kishida defeated Taro Kono to become the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and pave the way for the prime minister's job.
Born into politics
A key reason for Kishida's victory is the improving health situation, following Japan's fifth wave of the COVID pandemic that coincided with this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The best way to describe Kishida is to compare him to a sponge: not the most interesting item in a kitchen, yet it can absorb problems and clean up muck. His slogan ("Leaders exist to make other people shine") reflects well his political philosophy.
He is an excellent actor.
Kishida was born into a political family: His grandfather and father were both parliament members. Between the ages of six to nine, he studied in New York because of his father's work at the time. He attended the most prestigious private secondary school — the Kaisei Academy, of which about half of its graduates go to the University of Tokyo.
However, after failing three times the entrance exam to , Kishida finally settled for Waseda University. Coming from a family where virtually all the men went to UTokyo, this was Kishida's first great failure in life.
An invitation for Obama
After he graduated from college, Kishida worked for five years in a bank before serving as secretary for his father, Fumitake Kishida. In 1992, his father suddenly died at the age of 65. The following year, Kishida inherited his father's legacy to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives for the Hiroshima constituency. Since then, he has been elected successfully nine straight times, and served as Shinzo Abe's foreign minister for four years, beginning in December 2012. A former subordinate of his from that time commented on Kishida:
"If we are to sum him up in one sentence, he is an excellent actor. Whenever he was meeting his peers from other countries, we would remind him what should be emphasized, or when a firm, unyielding 'No' was necessary, and so on ... At the meetings, he would then put on his best show, just like an actor."
According to some insiders, during this period as foreign minister, his toughest stance was on nuclear weapons. This is due to the fact that his family hails from Hiroshima.
In 2016, following his suggestion, the G7 Ise-Shima Summit was held in Hiroshima, which meant that President Barack Obama visited the city — the first visit by a U.S. president to Hiroshima, where 118,661 lives were annihilated by the U.S. atomic bomb.
Shinzo Abe, Barack Obama and Fumio Kishida in Hiroshima in 2016commons.wikimedia.org
In September, 2020 when Shinzo Abe stepped down as prime minister, Kishida put out his candidacy for the first time for LDP's presidency. He didn't even get close. This was his second great failure.
But reading his biography, Kishida Vision, I must say that besides the two aforementioned hiccups, Kishida's life has been smooth sailing over the past 64 years
When one has had a happy and easy life, one tends to think that human nature is fundamentally good. Yet, the world doesn't work like that. And Japanese tend to believe that "human nature is vice," and have always felt a bit uneasy with the dovish Kishida diplomacy when he was foreign minister.
Leftist traditions from Hiroshima
Hiroshima has always been a city with a leftist political tradition. Kishida's character, coupled with the fact that he belongs to the moderate Kochikai faction within the LDP, inevitably means that he won't be a right-wing prime minister.
How long will a Fumio Kishida government last?
Kishida would never have the courage to be engaged in any military action alongside Japan's ally, the United States, nor will he set off to rewrite the country's constitution.
So after barely a year of Yoshihide Suga in office, how long will a Fumio Kishida government last? If Japan can maintain its relatively stable health situation for some time, it could be a while. But if COVID comes roaring back, and the winter brings a sixth wave of the pandemic as virtually all Japanese experts in infectious diseases have predicted, then Kishida may just end up like Suga. No sponge can clean up that mess.
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