World War II ended over seventy years ago. However, that doesn’t mean old tensions have faded. While nations in Western Europe overcame their differences, at least until the UK’s Brexit from the European Union, the situation is different in Asia. In particular, the former antagonism between China and Japan still rages. Partly, the animosity stems from differing political ideologies. Nevertheless, a lot of the anger goes back to Japan’s imperial ambitions in the 1930s and 1940s. That history lesson can be rather boring, but fortunately, a retired Chinese soldier constructed a robotic Japanese rickshaw driver. The invention summarizes this situation without saying a word.
Dian Shaojie decided to commemorate his fallen countrymen, while also saving his back. Retired from the Chinese army in 1979, Dian makes a living as a rickshaw driver. Yet, for the last twenty years, he has been thinking about robots. More specifically, one robot, dressed like a WWII Japanese soldier, to serve as his ‘Japanese Devil Rickshaw Memorial.’ Finally, his hard work paid off. Earlier this summer he perfected the mechanism that allows his robot to walk like a man. Shaojie’s hard work extended to purchasing a high quality imitation Japanese uniform and applying a paint job, complete with a General Tojo mustache. The painting could use some work. It looks a bit like a combination between Hitler and the main character from V for Vendetta.
Dian lives in the city of Luoyang. Located in the Henan province, this area saw some of the worst conditions of the war. First, the Japanese caused a famine in 1942-3. Then the area was the front line for brutal total war in 1944. The rickshaw driver realized his neighbors would appreciate the memorial just as much as he did. He’s also attracted quite a few questions from tourists offering to buy his invention. However, Shaojie has no plans to sell. His robot can walk, turn, and run on command, while also pulling the one-seater rickshaw. He hopes the popularity gained by his invention, and the higher rickshaw fees he can charge, will allow him to build a robotic army depicting Chinese resistance to the Japanese Empire during World War II.