"Ai" in Japanese means "love". We often name "Ai" for girls name in Japan.
Ai Fukuhara is a table tennis player and very popular in Japan. Table tennis isn't popular in Japan, however, almost of Japanese will know Ai Fukuhara, as "Ai chan" of table tennis.
Why we know her ? When she was a little girl, we have seen her plays. She was so cute. (She is certainly cute now.) I remember she was hitting a ball and practiced with her mother crying. She begun table tennis at about three years old. And she won many games. Everyone said she was genius for table tennis. Now she is nineteen years old and participate this Olympic.
Her popularity is not only in Japan. She is an idle in China. Because she played in Chinese Pro League. She speaks Chinese very well. When Japanese athletes normally play in China, the games are perfectly away for Japan. I have heard the booing for Japanese players or athletes several times. However, Ai chan is special. I read the news that she has a lot of Chinese fans.
Each nationalities has prejudice or hate for particular nation. History is generally the reason of needle, especially China and Japan has long history until now. But one person can change the bad feelings to friendship.
"Ai " 愛 becomes a go-between for China and Japan.