How a quirky Finnish comic came to resonate with Chinese millennials

The Chinese slang term jingfen means "spiritually Finnish." It was coined thanks to the popularity of an online comic called Finnish Nightmares. Liang Chenyu speculates why so many Chinese millennials identify with the comic.

Children who grew up under the one-child policy got used to a certain amount of isolation, which contrasts with how they are expected to be socialized, especially in crowded cities. As Chen Si told Sixth Tone:

Finnish social norms are primarily a product of the country's low population density, Chen says: "You don't expect someone to sit beside you if there are other seats available."

The creator of "Finnish Nightmares," artist Karoliina Korhonen, says she is surprised by its popularity among Chinese millennials. "I thought Chinese people might be used to crowded places," she writes in an email reply to Sixth Tone.

Korhonen thinks jingfen is a fantastic buzzword. "I said once that everyone can have a little bit of [the comic's protagonist] Matti in them, regardless of where they are from," she adds.

Socially Awkward Millennials Claim They're 'Spiritually Finnish' (Sixth Tone)