What do modern Japanese people think of ancient China?
They are rather very boarded or very interested. Chinese have story is one of the mandatory featur s in Japanese curriculum. Japanese teenagers are taught strictly about Chinese history in school. Often, this envolves extensive amount of work since Chinese history feature many Chinese character which is non existent in the Japanese language. One must learn how to write these Chinese characters before memorizing Chinese history. This can be extremely stressful when you are learning history as exam preparation. University entrance examination, which is extremely competitive, often requires world history as one of the subjects is extremely difficult. The most difficult part of the examination is often said that is the Chinese section. It also holds the largest portion of the subject, containing more information then, say, Greek or Roman history. Ancient Chinese history may be an irritating, painful part of life for many Japanese people, especially among the younger generations.
As for me, I really love ancient Chinese history, particularly the Spring and autumn period. The seven kingdoms with different cultures represent diversity in Chinese culture. I wish someone would create a strategy game based on the Seven Warrior States.
I will have to point out that I am not a typical Japanese woman, and depending on the range you give to the word modern I may be on the falling edge.
My main sources of Japanese who have an opinion about ancient China are my Father (70) and a cousin who majored in Japanese History (43). And my opinion of ancient China is based on what they have told me, the books they have lent me and such.
Based on that, ancient China was great! The culture was rich, they invented so many thing, built so many beautiful places, drawings, pottery. The language, the philosophy, the writings. Even in hard times they had wit and humor and always fought for what they believed to be right.
The reason Japan has so many cultural similarities with China regarding, food, literature (including the writing) and more is because Japan saw how beautifully and thoughtfully they had been created and wanted to have part of it.
I suppose that was also the cause for enmity, since between poor land, and annual disasters Japan struggled to eat, while they thought that China had richness enough to not worry about food and spend their time on having fun.
But at least for me, and those who are close to us Ancient China is undoubtedly the Cradle of Asian cultures.
*Note: I have to point out, that China may be the Cradle of Culture in Asia, but the rest of Asia has grown enough and cannot be crammed back into the Cradle
I would say they don't know anything about it, and the ones that do know something about it are cunningly trying to strongly and widely separate the china of today and ancient china, because obviously they don't want to make the connection that Japan literally originates from China, and all of Japan's culture/tradition and customs come from China, they want to make sure that any ‘'influences'' there might have been come from the ‘'old'' ‘'mystical'' ancient China that doesn't exist anymore, and the China of today has nothing to do with it.