Why Is Japanese Culture So Popular

Why is Japanese Pop Culture so Popular?

The influence of Japanese culture is obvious. The specific style of a nation may be immediately identified whether you’re watching a television show, playing a video game, or even reading a comic book. A number of these cultural exports have been adopted by other countries and have even been incorporated back into Japanese culture in some situations. It is possible for an artist growing up in Brazil to be inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s films and eventually go on to work for a western-style animation firm whose works are highly received in Japan.

Anime

Japan’s cultural exports are most visible in the form of anime films, which are widely available. An anime film is a film that is based on the manga comic book style, which has been precisely refined through time. You can tell the difference between a variety of distinct anime styles if you have an acute sense of observation. While we may think of anime characters as having bulging eyes and colossal heads, there are as many different kinds of anime as there are different forms of western animation.

When it comes to anime, what makes it such an intriguing concept is its willingness to delve into challenging ground and handle issues that a western audience could find controversial or even uncomfortable.

Natural consequences follow from the fact that a nation that had nuclear bombs dropped on it will perceive something like Akira or Godzilla in a whole different light.

Cuteness

The cuteness element associated with Japanese culture extends well beyond anime and manga. In Japanese, there’s even a term for it: kawaii. In current Japanese society, this style is a significant pillar, and it is most prominently displayed by thePokémon and Hello Kitty brands, among other things. A few of these creative choices are intended to elicit common human feelings and attachments – which may explain why they are so popular around the world. The look is incredibly marketable, as seen by the presence of the aforementioned logos on everything from bags to apparel to airplanes and more.

Technology

Despite the fact that Japan’s position as a technology superpower is distinct from the rest of its cultural output, it is inextricably tied to it through corporations such as Sony and Nintendo, among others.

A large portion of the country’s budget is allocated to education, and the high-school graduation rate is extraordinarily high. Automation was embraced by the country in part due to economic necessity — with an aging population and a diminishing workforce, automation provided a viable alternative.

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Why Japanese Culture Is So Popular

Japanese culture is extremely popular not only among anime lovers and artists, but also among individuals from all walks of life all over the world. Many people are captivated with the history of the Samurai, as well as the history of Geishas and many other aspects of Japan’s culture and history. On the one hand, it is easy to argue that anime is responsible for the rise in popularity of Japanese culture in the first place. However, you would be overlooking the fact that Japan, at least up until the 1990s, was capable of producing many fantastic things.

  • Of course, we mustn’t forget about Nintendo and SONY Playstation.
  • The admiration for Japanese culture extends well beyond its technological and artistic achievements.
  • The Japanese have applied harmony and balance to their culture, which is admirable.
  • There are some people who come to Japan for the first time and are unable to bear the thought of returning home.
  • When I was there in May of this year, I had the same experience as you (before the pandemic).
  • Let us start with the basics.

Why Japan Is So Different From Other Countries

For the past 2,000 years, there have been two significant catalysts that have influenced the cultures of numerous indigenous people and tribal groups. The Europeans, who traveled throughout the world and conquered territory, are the most well-known of these people. The British conquered the Americas and parts of Africa under their reign of terror. The French captured the islands of the Caribbean. The Portuguese were the first to conquer the region that we now know as Brazil. The Spaniards conquered most of South America as well as the Philippines during their time in the region.

  1. China was the second major driver of cultural transformation.
  2. Of course, the Mongols seized control of China about the year 1300, and the Chinese were eventually able to reclaim their territory.
  3. China conquered a large number of regions, and its alphabet is still in use in many Asian nations.
  4. China has exerted influence over Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, and a number of other Asian nations.
  5. Sakoku was the name of the period, which lasted from 1639 until 1853.
  6. Other countries had little to no effect on the situation in the United States (mainly China and Europeans).

In order to do it, despite the fact that Japan is a highly developed country, the country is extremely conservative.

It Is Filled With Art

The Japanese place a high priority on art. Not only do I refer to anime as art, but I also refer to fine arts when I say art. The Japanese are a hardworking and committed group of people. Everything that they do is done to the highest level of excellence. Take a look at the Samurai armor and the Katana, which is a type of Samurai sword. Everything is done with such purity and spirituality as a backdrop to the process. Take a peek at the Geishas for example. Japan’s feminine masterpiece is a rare find.

  • The phrase “ancient and timeless” might be used to describe it.
  • The Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines that dot the landscape of Japan are another wonder of the world.
  • They may be seen all across the city of Tokyo.
  • Japan honors Buddhism as well as Shinto, despite the fact that Shinto is the country’s founding religion.
  • In addition, the Sakura or Cherry Blossom trees are in bloom.
  • Their culture is wealthy, and by rich, I don’t mean in terms of money, but rather in terms of the fact that their culture encompasses a wide range of characteristics other than religion, cuisine, and customs.
  • Their culture is quite diverse, and this is reflected in their popular culture (yes I do mean anime)

Japanese People Are Very Efficient

People all across the globe have long been amazed by the Japanese’s ability to be so productive. It is possible that an earthquake ruins a street in a single day, but that the street will be restored to its original condition six or seven days later. Although this does not apply to all they do, allow me to provide you with an illustration. When the United States threatened to attack Japan if the country would not open its borders to commerce, the emperor ultimately agreed to do so, and numerous western technologies began to stream into the country as a result of the threat.

Japan just only 20 years to innovate what took the western world 200 years to do.

They had railroads, light blubs, and everything from the 1800s, including western dress, within two decades. Additionally, the Tokyo flood protection tunnels are among the finest engineering feats the world has ever witnessed.

Developed But Conservative Country

The amusing thing about Japan is that, despite the fact that it is technologically advanced and sophisticated, Japan is a conservative society. They are homogeneous, and as previously said, they retain many of their ancient values that date back more than a thousand years. In addition, the Sakoku era of 200 years of seclusion provided Japan with a strong sense of identity because they had little exposure to anything other than their own culture. Their dedication to their jobs is evident in the work that they produce.

Even with this in mind, individuals are so bound to their cultural identities that they are unable to adopt ideas and methods of life from other cultures.

I believe that too many countries, such as the United States and other European countries, lose their identity as they progress in development.

r/explainlikeimfive – ELI5: How has Japanese culture become such a big thing in Western Countries?

I’m not a sociologist, but I did a module on Japanese society and history as part of my undergraduate studies in the country. I’d venture to think that this is due to the fact that Japanese culture has been heavily Westernized. In the United States and Europe, the most popular and replicated aspects of Japanese culture include anime and manga, jpop, certain films produced, and a few television series. In part, this was due to Japan’s policy of isolationism, which meant that foreigners had little rights in the nation until relatively recently (around the late 1800s) and that the country was mostly undisturbed by outside influence throughout this time period.

This is mostly owing to a lack of exposure to outside influences, which was followed by a strong cultural movement aimed at ‘appropriating’ portions of western culture from the primarily Dutch traders who were the first to arrive in the country.

It is this mix, as well as a wholly distinct and isolated society, that contributes to the uniqueness and isolation of Japanese pop culture – it is essentially different from western culture, while yet being heavily impacted by it.

As a result, it has been basically “accelerated” – all of the influences on present Japanese pop culture are either extremely ancient cultural Japanese ideas or practices, or modern European beliefs or practices that have influenced Japan in the past.

Why Is Japanese Culture So Popular?

I’m not a sociologist, but I took a module on Japanese culture and history as part of my undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom. If I had to speculate, it’s because Japanese society has been heavily influenced by Western culture. In the United States and Europe, the most popular and replicated aspects of Japanese culture include anime and manga, jpop, certain films produced, and a few television programs. Japan had a pretty drastic cultural reinvention during the early 1900s as a result of its policy of isolationism – until quite recently (around the late 1800s), foreigners had limited rights in Japan and the nation remained mostly unspoiled by outside influence.

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Japanese popular culture is as a result current and heavily impacted by western culture, and as a result, it is easily accessible to those living in western cultures.

It is this mix, as well as a fully distinct and isolated society, that has contributed to the development of Japanese pop culture, which is essentially different from western culture while yet being heavily impacted by it.

Japanese Culture and Customs in the West – A Long Story

The Western preoccupation with Japanese culture predates even contemporary phenomena such as anime, which may help to explain why Japanese culture appears to have such a peculiar hold on the Western mind in the first place. Even during Japan’s period of isolation (from 1639 and 1858, there was only one international port accessible), Japanese items were greatly sought after by wealthy Westerners – demonstrating that there were Japan Junkies in the globe even before this website was established.

As early as 1910, a variant of the traditional Japanese kimono could be found in the collections of Parisian fashion firms.

A significant influence on the impressionist painting movement in the West was exerted by the Japanese style, with painters such as Van Gogh and Monet incorporating methods from Japanese artists – such as woodblock prints – into their own work.

Japanese creative traditions, such as origami and the haiku, are now commonly taught in Western classrooms, despite the fact that they originated in Japan.

The book was the first of its kind in the world. These are now a worldwide phenomenon, with Japanese gardens being built in many Western places for the enjoyment of the inhabitants.

Japanese Pop Culture Contributions

Many pop culture crazes from Japan have found their way to the West throughout the years, and many of them are still going strong. For example, consider Tamagotchi, the digital pets that many of us carried around with us in our pockets throughout the 1990s. These were produced by the Japanese toy maker Bandai in 1996, and for many Western children of the 1990s, they served as an introduction to Japanese pop culture that they were completely unaware of. Pokémon is yet another excellent example.

  • Pikachu and his pals are native Japanese characters that are still very much alive and well in today’s video game business.
  • In the Western market, franchises such as Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh are able to coexist peacefully alongside their Hollywood-produced animated counterparts.
  • Although cosplay is not exclusively associated with Japanese culture, the phrase was coined in Japan, and many of the characters that are copied are of Japanese descent.
  • Even if you don’t consider yourself a Japan fan, there’s a good probability that Japanese popular culture has had an impact on your formative experiences – whether you know it or not – to some degree.
  • Just a handful of examples are Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams incorporating anime into their music videos, as well as Gwen Stefani’s use of the Harajuku district as a reference in her songs.

Japanese Cuisine Contributions

Since the 1970s, Japanese cuisine has been highly popular in the United States. While a number of Japanese cuisine have found their way to the United States and other parts of the world, sushi and ramen are two of the most popular. America today has approximately 4000 sushi restaurants that are solely dedicated to sushi. The classic Japanese cuisine makes for a quick and handy lunch choice that also happens to be loaded with health benefits (more on thathere). This is the excellent alternative to typical fast food for the time-pressed Westerner who is concerned about his or her diet.

However, the Japanese meal has had a cultural resurgence in Western circles, and more and more Americans are discovering ramen for what it truly is: a delectable and very healthy soup-based dish that incorporates noodles, veggies, and meat as the Japanese intended.

It would be difficult to find an American who hasn’t at least sampled some form of Japanese cuisine.

Other Japanese Cultural Contributions

The Japanese culture of minimalism is one that is slowly but steadily making its way into the United States market. This is the polar opposite of the classic Western culture of capitalism and mass accumulation — it emphasizes living in a minimally congested environment and possessing just what is absolutely essential to survive. Japan’s “Lost Decades,” which began in the early 1990s after a catastrophic economic catastrophe, are credited with popularizing minimalism there. Currently, the face of this movement in Western popular culture is Konmari (Marie Kondo), a Japanese specialist in decluttering and organization.

Her concept urges Westerners to only maintain goods in their homes that bring them joy, and she has been successful in elevating Japanese minimalist house designs to an aspirational position in contemporary Western culture.

Japanese Obsession with US Culture

In many respects, the cultural bond between Japan and the United States is a two-way street. In the same way that Japan has left an indelible impression on the world, American culture has left an indelible mark on the world. In Japanese cities, American fast-food restaurants are popular, and local eateries are well-known for expanding and improving upon American junk food offerings (have you tried the rainbow grilled cheese in Harajuku, for example?) Interestingly, Japan is the most important non-North American market for goods manufactured in the United States, demonstrating that Western cuisine has made a significant impact there.

  • Christmas celebrations in the American manner are popular in Japan, and include the customary Santa outfits and Christmas trees.
  • Despite the fact that J-Pop is the most popular type of music in Japan, many Western musicians have large followings in the country.
  • One such example is the Irish boyband D-Side, who, although they were a one-hit wonder on the Western music charts in the 2000s, went on to release many albums and maintain a busy touring schedule in their native Japan.
  • Japanese and American culture are distinct and unique from one another – but the two nations continue to take elements of each other’s conventions, traditions, and fashion trends to further their own interests.

The United States of Japan

Because of hip-hop and Hollywood, the United States continues to be the world’s biggest supplier of cultural goods. However, in recent years, American society has increasingly resembled a playbook developed in Japan, according to some observers. Consider the popularity of “the Japanese art of decluttering,” which has captivated people throughout the world. Marie Kondo, the organization’s founder, resides in Japan. She usually works with an interpreter, and it’s been four years since she released a book in the United States of America.

On YouTube, one video of Kondo folding clothing has received over four million views after being subtitled in English.

Fans reacted positively to the news.

What is it about a Japanese person that makes Americans feel so compelled?

“The Japanese appear to live many quantifiable clicks down the time line in comparison to the rest of us.” Gibson was referring to a Japan filled with cutting-edge gadgets and services, such as high-tech cell phones and robot sushi bars, the flashy products of a hyper-consumer metropolis that served as inspiration for the writers and directors of films such as “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix,” among others.

However, what Gibson said about items held true just as much for other, less obvious tendencies in Japanese society, such as the following: There is economic stagnation, a declining fertility rate, a substantial postponement of “typical” milestones of maturity, such as getting married or even moving out of the family home, and a growing sense of ambiguity about what the future may bring.

  • Rather than believing in Kondo’s life-changing magic simply because we think Japan is cool, we believe it because our nation is becoming increasingly similar to Japan in many ways.
  • However, Kondo did not write her novels for us; rather, they were the result of a training seminar, which served as a type of literary incubator for the Japanese market.
  • A craze for thingsdanshari (a Buddhist phrase for cleaning up that is inscribed with the characters for rejection, disposal, and separation) overtook Japan in the aughts, and Kondo’s first book debuted at the tail end of that craze.
  • The initial salvos in what has come to be known as Japan’s “war on things” were fired in the first half of the nineteen-nineties, and the campaign has continued to this day.
  • Aoi, the head of the Marui Group, which manages Japan’s largest retail chain, was in a rare position to witness firsthand how shoppers tightened their belts.
  • The concept of personal fulfillment became the product, with things like meals, eating out, and leisure activities rising to the center.” If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same trend is currently being repeated among the generation known as millennials in the United States.
  • Others have referred to it as “post-materialism.” However, the term “Japanization” might be more appropriate to describe this massive inward shift in the face of economic instability.
  • When used during the gloomy colonial era of the nineteen-thirties and forties, it conjured up visions of Japanese imperial armies conquering their Asian neighbors and forced them to embrace Japanese customs and traditions.

“There are few words that strike more dread into the hearts of economists and politicians than Japanization,” stated William Pesek, author of the book “Japanization.” “A poisonous mix of puny growth, high debt, declining consumer prices, dwindling confidence, and political dysfunction,” he writes in that book, is what he calls the “Great Recession.” (Paul Krugman of the New York Times is a lover of the word, and he uses it frequently in his depictions of slowing growth and ageing populations in the United States, the European Union, and China.) If you think this is overdone, just look at what happened to Toys R Us.

  1. Speculation focused on a toxic combination of predatory lenders who had saddled the toy retailer with more than five billion dollars in debt, competition from Walmart and Target, and the rise of Amazon, which was cited as reasons for the chain’s demise.
  2. The Times found a telling statement from Toys R Us itself hidden among the lamentations (“I want to cry right now,” one consumer confessed to the paper).
  3. Fertility declines are almost universally recognized as a characteristic of industrialized societies.
  4. Family planning is more appealing to inhabitants of industrialized countries because of higher levels of education and easier access to dependable birth control.
  5. In 2016, the birth rate in the United States was 1.8, the lowest level since 1976.
  6. As a result of this trend, our population is becoming gradually older.
  7. In this regard, the United States is becoming increasingly similar to Japan.
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Immigration has always filled the void in American society, a fact that hawks preoccupied with “chain migration” and wall-building easily ignore when arguing for their causes.

At the time of this writing, the country’s overall fertility rate was 1.4, and the total number of births was the lowest it had ever been in the one hundred and eighteen years that records had been maintained.

Adult diapers have already surpassed baby diapers in sales in that country.

According to a survey published in 2017, there were over 1.7 million of them in 2015, accounting for a full 10 percent of people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine—a startling figure considering that Japan’s unemployment rate is an ideal 2.5 percent.

Other, less flattering labels have been used to describe them, such as “parasitic singles” and “herbivore males” in the press.

An anime nerd who has never been on a date is the subject of one of the biggest domestic bestsellers of the decade, the 2004 bestseller “Densha Otoko” (“Train Man”), which was later turned into a comic book and a film adaptation.

Some Western critics questioned the film’s premise at the time, writing in the JapanTimes, “Isn’t it strange that a 22-year-old man is so completely clueless?”.

Embracing Japanese pop culture

Getting started on a list of instances of Japanese culture penetrating the United States is nearly impossible to stop once you get going. “Speed Racer,” one of the most highly anticipated summer films, is based on a 1960s anime series. The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, James Cameron, and M. Night Shyamalan have all expressed interest in anime-related projects recently. Anime may be seen on a variety of cable networks, including IFC, Spike, and, of course, Cartoon Network, whose Toonami block, which airs every Saturday night, offers Japanese animation.

With the help of pop star Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers line of clothing and accessories, Le Sport Sac bags featuring Tokidoki designs (created by an Italian artist obsessed with Japan), and famed artist Takashi Murakami’s bags for Louis Vuitton, the Japanese aesthetic has made its way into mainstream department stores.

The development of the nation’s first J-Pop mall is underway in San Francisco, thanks to the efforts of Japanese film distributor Viz Pictures.

Names that were formerly unfamiliar to Americans — such as Pokèmon, Tamagotchi, and Totorro — have now become household names.

The ‘cuteness’ component is an important consideration.

It was only the beginning, argues Kelts, a professor at the University of Tokyo and author of “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the United States.” This includes such things as the fact that sushi is now available in mainstream supermarkets across the country; the fact that Japanese design and architecture are beginning to appear in major cities across the country; and the popularity of manga and anime in bookstores, as well as Wal-Mart and Target.

  • Kawaii is a big reason why so much Japanese culture has taken root in the United States.
  • As Kelts puts it: “The greatest definition of kawaii I’ve heard is when you look at something that’s kawaii and it isn’t simply adorable.” “It’s more than just something you enjoy doing.
  • “I believe that is the genuine beauty of Japanese culture,” says the author.
  • At the moment, FredFlare sells Japanese-themed cooking equipment such as a spatula in the shape of a frog and an iron skillet with a panda face painted on it.
  • Although the team has not yet traveled to Japan in order to acquire items, they have had success at trade events, on the Internet, and by being approached directly by vendors.
  • Nakamura began publishing the zine Giant Robot in 1994, which included Asian pop culture.
  • He also sells merchandise on his website and operates a restaurant, gr/eats, in the same neighborhood as his first Los Angeles location.

According to Nakamura, who claims that this has happened in the past and is constantly on the lookout for new things for the Giant Robot Web site, “you can’t just imitate someone else’s business.” You can’t obtain a lot of the things we receive because they aren’t readily available.” We have a lot of connections that other people won’t have, and in return, they have access to connections that we don’t already have.” Living in Japan allows Peter Payne to directly source things for his two e-commerce businesses, J-List, which has certain adult-only items, and J-Box, which is suitable for all ages and offers a variety of items.

Some goods are shipped directly from Japan, where Payne and his wife, Chiharu, run their business, while others are shipped from a warehouse in San Diego, California.

In Japan, he currently has nine full-time and six part-time employees, while in San Diego, he has six full-time and one part-time employee.

“Whether you’re interested in the notion of lovely rock gardens in Kyoto or the latest video game, there’s something for everyone.” Keeping up with the latest fashions Despite the fact that traditional Japanese goods like wooden sandals and Samurai sword key chains are perennial bestsellers, Payne makes an effort to remain on top of the latest fashion trends.

He believes this is due in large part to the capacity of fans to access Japanese media, trends, and culture over the Internet.

Manga is a rapidly expanding market, with sales of Japanese comics for all ages increasing by 10% in 2007, reaching $220 million in total.

One thing that all firms who are successful in selling Japanese items in the United States have in common is that they have carefully selected their product mix.

According to Kelts, “what is intriguing about those who have been successful is that they are not traveling to Japan and seeing what is trendy in Japan right now.” In terms of what their American clients want, they have a pretty good handle of the situation.” As a result, I believe that appreciating cultural diversity is still crucial.

It isn’t really a case of localization. They are not altering their products to cater to the needs of the American market. They’re simply providing Americans what they think would work in this country.”

6 Reasons We Love Japan

As an example of what I consider to be the greatest aspects of Japan, I’ll share a quick tale from an early spring day in Tokyo to clarify my viewpoint. When I stepped off the train at Shibuya Station, the winter frost had just begun to give way to the first tinges of spring warmth. Before heading out to meet up with my buddies, I stopped into a neighboring shopping center. There are several wonderfuldepachika (department store food halls) to be found in Tokyo, and Shibuya’s offerings are no different.

  1. After purchasing several gorgeous seasonal things, as well as a bottle of sake from the icy Niigata Prefecture, I set off on foot in the direction of the charmingNaka-Meguro area.
  2. The tree-lined canal in the stylish yet laid-back Naka-Meguro neighborhood is possibly the most wonderful place to be during the inhanami (cherry blossom viewing) season, and it is only a short walk from the bustling Shibuya district.
  3. The gigantic cherry blossom trees sway lazily above the canal, and little groups of friends assemble to dine and drink in the midst of the sea of pink blooming around them.
  4. We joined hundreds of other revelers in enjoying a lovely Saturday with friends and family while eating and drinking in the shade of the cherry blossoms.
  5. We packed our belongings and headed to a little neighborhoodizakaya to warm ourselves with sake and small meals of veggies, fish, and grilled meats.
  6. When I initially went to Tokyo from New York City, I had a strong ambition to become fluent in the Japanese language.
  7. (Please read my tale.) It was never in my plans for me to devote my life to Japan.
  8. Many of our clients have informed us that they have fallen in love with Japan for the same reasons that we have – so without further ado, I’m delighted to share a few of my absolute favorite things about Japan with you.

1. Japanese People

On my very first visit to Japan, I landed in Tokyo on a stormy August night, which made for an unforgettable experience. I was quite fatigued from the travel from New York, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed by my new environment. After a flight and a train trip from the airport into the city, I boarded a cab at the railway station to complete the final leg of my travel to my destination. I made my first etiquette faux pas in Japan when I didn’t realize that cab doors open automatically in the country.

  • We arrived at our location, and I paid the taxi driver, who was wearing white gloves.
  • “Do you happen to have an umbrella?” he inquired.
  • He, on the other hand, was not having it.
  • In this way, the first Japanese person I ever met in Japan, by his generosity, established a tone that has remained in place until the present day.
  • Known for being very kind hosts, the Japanese are known for going above and beyond to ensure that you have a pleasant time during your stay.
  • It never fails to affect me when I see how lovely the Japanese people are, and especially when I see how attentive and considerate they are.

In Japan, respect penetrates every element of life, and even short-term visitors leave with an overwhelming sense that respect — both given and received — is a significant part of the Japanese experience.

2. Japanese Food

Now, because to Jiro’s reputation and the other celebrity chefs who have lauded the virtues of Japanese cuisine, it is widely acknowledged that Japan offers some of the best, if not the greatest, food on the planet. In Japan, the amount of love and respect that goes into the preparation of cuisine is nothing short of awe-inspiring to witness. And it’s not just restricted to high-end or fine dining establishments. Quality and taste of food in Japan are of an extremely high standard, ranging from inexpensive local noodle shops to Michelin-starred and other top restaurants.

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According to the FoodWine article, ” 7 Reasons Why Tokyo Is the New Paris,” it’s no wonder that many Francophiles have developed a strong affection for Japan.

Indeed, it is not only Japanese food, such as suhiandrament, that is celebrated in Japan.

3. TraditionalContemporary Japanese Culture

One of the most persistent clichés about Japan is that the ancient and traditional coexist peacefully with the new and futuristic. This is not entirely true. Despite this, it is accurate to an astonishing degree. In spite of the fact that the country has modernized much more quickly than many fans of old Japan (such as the illustrious Alex Kerr) would have preferred, Japan — in spite of its striking modernity — still retains a rich and enviable cultural heritage that still feels very much alive and relevant today.

Traditional crafts — or, in the case ofcuisine, meals — have been progressively developed for longer than the United States has been as a country in a historic city such asKyoto.

And only a few nations (India comes to mind) can compete with Japan in terms of the number of traditional rites and festivals that it has.

Japan has seen enormous transformations, particularly during the Edo Period, with key events such as the Meiji Restoration and World War II, and it continues to be an economic and cultural superpower despite the post-bubble economic malaise.

Because you will encounter Japan’s rich and complicated traditional and modern culture across the nation (see a sample of our favorite spots throughout Japan), there is no need to pick between the two.

4. Safety and Peace of Mind in Japan

After moving from the United States (and specifically New York City) to Japan, it took me a few weeks to get used to the amazing reality that, unlike in the United States, I didn’t have to have my guard up all of the time. It’s not that I was ever in any real danger in New York, but it turns out that I had never fully appreciated how alert I had become until a few weeks after moving to Tokyo (a city much larger and more populous than New York), when I noticed my “guard” dissipating, as if I had received sufficient evidence in the absence of threats to conclude that it was no longer necessary.

  • Yes, it does.
  • But, fortunately, crime rates in Japan are far lower than they are virtually anyplace else on the planet (it is one of, if not the, safest big countries in the world), and you can feel that after only a few days here.
  • On the overall, Japan is so safe that it’s typical to hear anecdotes from tourists about their misplaced belongings being found and returned safely.
  • Another acquaintance left her passport in a cab in Kobe, which she later discovered.
  • The fear of being taken advantage of is another typical concern while traveling in a foreign place where you do not understand the language is another common concern when traveling abroad.
  • While it’s true that the vast majority of people in most nations would be delighted to assist you, there’s no disputing that in certain countries, a small number of people earn a profession by taking advantage of naïve visitors and locals.

As I previously stated, Japanese people are among the kindest and most helpful people with whom I have ever interacted, and after traveling around Japan, it is likely that you will agree that the honesty and kindness of the local people is a significant factor in what makes Japan such a wonderful place to visit.

One of the reasons Japan is such a family-friendly destination is its safety, as is the fact that it is a very simple country to traverse, which leads me to.

5. Efficiency in Japan (Things Work Really Well!)

One of the most wonderful things about Japan – and an unexpected pleasure for many visitors – is how neatly and smoothly everything functions in this country. To be sure, Japan is not the only country in which things nearly always run as they should (Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore are also excellent examples of extremely efficient countries), but it is by far the most amazing, especially when one considers its size. Friends from the United States who have visited Japan almost always send me exclamatory messages of relative shock upon their return to the United States, lamenting the rundown airport, the inefficiency of the immigration and customs process, the poor condition — or lack — of public transportation options (the bullet train spoils people), and the generally disheveled appearance of their post-Japan trip surroundings.

  • I adore the United States and enjoy visiting in places of the globe where things don’t function nearly as well as they do in Japan.
  • The trains run on schedule, the drivers come on time or early, and efficiency and order are the norm of the day almost wherever you go.
  • My first encounter with timeliness in Japan occurred on my first visit to Kyoto, which was my second visit.
  • I wasn’t shocked when we arrived at the airport on time, but I was taken aback when we arrived in Kyoto on time, down to the minute.
  • Along with maintaining an unblemished safety record (zero fatalities since its beginning in 1964), the shinkansen conductor is responsible for departing and arriving within 15 seconds of the planned time – and as you might guess, they have an astronomically high success rate.
  • Naturally, this level of efficiency is not exclusive to the transportation sector.
  • Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Japan is home to an abundance of highly trained chefs (as shown above), artisans, and a fantastic service culture– not to mention being one of the cleanest and most orderly countries on the planet!

6. Cleanliness in Japan

Preparing to enjoy traveling around Japan, where people take great pride in taking loving care of their surroundings, is essential if you enjoy cleanliness and organization. I’ll never forget the day, a few weeks after I arrived in Japan, when I came across some litter in a park and thought it was so interesting that I felt compelled to photograph it. I’ll never forget that day. Despite the fact that litter is extremely rare in a densely populated metropolis such as Tokyo – especially given the noticeable lack of trash cans in the city – it continues to amaze me (a perennial pet peeve of travelers to Japan).

However, when you consider the sheer number of people on the streets, the fact that the streets are so clean and orderly is almost miraculous.

Walking down any street in any Japanese city, town, or village will reveal locals sweeping up the streets around their homes and places of business, a practice that has become common in recent years.

As you can see, this is only a small selection, and there are numerous other aspects of Japanese culture that we appreciate, from traditional ryokans withonsen (hot springs) in the countryside to the absence of tipping and Japan’s renown for fantastic toilets, among many other things.

While in Japan, we hope you will have the opportunity to take part in all of these activities!

13 Reasons Why Japan Is the World’s Most Unique Country

Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital | courtesy of Sorasak / Unsplash / Japan has long been known for having a distinct culture and customs that are unique to the country. Given its geographical isolation and long history of isolation, many parts of the culture of the country have grown totally undisturbed by outside forces. However, there are a plethora of more reasons why Japan is the most unique country on the planet. The Japanese religion of Shinto is usually regarded as the country’s indigenous religion.

It is estimated that approximately 400 Shinto shrines devoted to variouskami exist in Kyoto alone (deities).

The vast majority of people working in the service business are exceedingly nice.

Photograph courtesy of Free-Photos / Pixabay.

Traditions such as askimono are unique to Japan and serve as a point of differentiation between the country and other civilizations.

For festivals, people frequently dress in the summer kimono known as the yukata|Hattawulf / Wikimedia Commons Astro Boy, which was created in the 1950s, is considered to be one of the world’s earliest manga.

A significant effect on the comic book creativity in South Korea and China in particular may be traced back to Japan’s manga.

This group of ladies provide conversation, dancing performances, and games at high-end restaurants and private events for anybody who can pay their services.

Maiko (also known as hangyoku) are apprentice geisha/geiko|Japanexperterna.se / Flickr / Japanexperterna.se Earthquakes are reported in greater numbers in Japan than any other country in the globe.

Larger earthquakes that inflict infrastructural damage or tsunamis are significantly more infrequent, but when they do occur, the consequences are severe.

Natto,anyone?

Bowing is an important component of Japanese culture|Maya-Anas Yataghène / Flickr |

In fact, Japan is the only country in the world where sumo wrestling has gained widespread popularity, and it is still the only country in the world where the sport is conducted on a professional level.

By the early Edo Period, tatami mats were being used by the lower classes as well as the upper classes.

They’re currently mostly seen in Japanese-style rooms, such as those found in tearooms, traditional eateries, andryokans, and other such establishments (inns).

However, throughout the ages, the Japanese tea ritual has evolved into such a unique and distinct art form that there are few parallels between it and the Western tea ceremony.

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Georges Seguin Pachinko is a sort of slot machine that was first used in Japan in the 1920s and is still in use today.

Pachinko parlors may be found in almost every city in the country.

It may be found in anything from charming mascots and warning signs to pop culture icons and ads. Kawaiiness is one of the most highly sought-after characteristics that something can have. mascots are prevalent in Japan, and they are usually cute|Norio NAKAYAMA / Flickr

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