If you’ve passed through Tokyo on an international connection this past month, chances are you’ve seen a Chinese man wearing a homemade T-shirt with scribbling all over it. His name is Feng Zhenghu, a Chinese citizen who has moved into Narita Airport’s international arrival concourse.
“Moved in” in the non-traditional sense, and reminiscent of Tom Hanks in the movie “The Terminal,” a story of an Eastern European man denied entry into the U.S., so he decides to live at JFK Airport.
In 55-year-old Feng’s case, he’s not being denied entry into Japan. Rather, his homeland won’t let him back in. He was denied entry into China eight times. Four times he boarded planes and landed in Shanghai before Chinese immigration turned him around. The other four times Japanese officials didn’t let him board the plane, saying he’d be refused entry.
The reason has never been given, though Feng suspects it’s due to his prior work in China as a human rights activist. The result: a frustrated Feng who decided after eighth rejection he wouldn’t leave Tokyo’s airport until China allowed him back in.
Feng took two T-shirts and wrote messages in Chinese and English explaining that he is a Chinese citizen refused entry into China.
He began walking up and down the concourse, letting passengers pause and stare at his shirts. Armed with a mobile connection and a camera in his mobile phone, he started twittering and blogging about his life inside the airport, in diplomatic purgatory.