Chi nese Middle-class Travelers’ Characteristics and Their Perceptions of Japan's National Image


  • Abigail Qian Zhou Hokkaido University



Chinese middle class, online travelogues, Japan's national image, destination image, data mining


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the largest source country in Japan’s inbound tourism market. The middle class, with its high consumption desire, was the main contributor of Chinese tourists to Japan, an important force driving the Japanese economy and influencing the spread of Japan’s national image in China through the Internet. For this study, I collected 4,785 text data from Japan travelogues on two major Chinese travel websites between January 2016 and March 2022, conducted data mining and content analysis, and combined the texts to reveal the basic characteristics of Chinese middle-class tourists to Japan, as well as their perceptions and evaluations of Japan’s national image. The results show a change in the travel needs of the Chinese middle class from shopping, etc., to diverse, specific, and individual travel experiences and an obvious willingness to revisit. Regarding their perceptions and evaluations of Japan's macro national image, Japan’s national capacity is mainly reflected in its culture and economic technology, while its national characteristics are mainly reflected in hospitability. Although most impressed with Japan’s environmental management, mainly its infrastructure and natural resources, the macro sentiment of the tourists is influenced by historical Sino-Japanese relations and reveals reservations about Japan. Japan’s micro national image, as perceived by the tourists through tourist attractions, mainly relates to activities, while their perceptions of the tourist environment are the richest, focusing on popular attractions and landscapes. Their perceptions of tourism facilities cover various aspects such as catering, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, and services. Furthermore, their micro-emotions are mainly reflected in their satisfaction and praise of the destination environment. These results have several implications for tourism marketing and national image promotion in the post-pandemic era, when outbound tourism has fully recovered.