This article is appealing to me because it covers multiple different topics related to Japanesse culture and it doesn’t squarely focus on animation (anime) and comics (manga). The article mentions various phenomena of the 1990s that hail from Japan, such as the beloved digital pets, Tamagotchi, the symbol of 90s boyhood, Power Rangers (Super Sentai), and the iconic toy line, Transformers. Even I didn’t know that Transformers has Japanese roots. It mentions that the animated movies created by Hideo Miyazaki have attracted the attention of the Walt Disney Company. It mentions Nintendo, a video game company responsible for the cultural phenomena of Pokémon and Mario, and how its first executive to take the business overseas was inspired to do so by the success of the Walt Disney Company. It also talks about how, unlike in the United States, there is a large market for anime and manga with darker, more adult themes. All of this information is used to promote the (at the time) new Disney movie, Big Hero 6.
This article isn’t really about topics up my alley, but it indirectly makes a good point. It shows how the world has influenced Japan. When Japanese teenagers aren’t in school, they wear clothing similar to what Americans wear. Japan’s obsession with education could stem from the fact that Japan wants to prove itself useful to the world’s more powerful countries, like the United States and China. Maybe the United States will eventually share Japan’s tastes in transportation that don’t clog up roads and hurt the environment.
This article takes a more business-like and political side to Japan’s recent history. The article cites the words of various authors on the subject of the globalization of Japan. Harumi Befu gives evidence that Japan has experienced four phases of human dispersal, and he claims that the fourth and current phase has had the most profound effect on Japan. Mitchell Sedgwick argues that the globalization of Japan is having an effect on the Japanese family structure for better or for worse. Beverley Bishop argues that more opportunities for women have opened up since Japan was globalized. Tom Gill argues that Japanese laborers are falling more under the control of their employers.
This article is all about what Japan is arguably most famous for, their animation and comics known as anime and manga. This article’s main idea discusses how anime and manga have influenced Japan and the rest of the world. It mentions that unlike American cartoons, anime and manga that appeal to adults are commonplace. It talks about how high schools in anime are similar to those in Japan. It talks about Hatsune Miku, a singing, female hologram with an anime-like appearance that has a massive fan base and can sell out stadiums. It mentions anime conventions, where fans of anime wear costumes and interact with voice actors and other anime fans. Finally, it mentions American made shows like RWBY and Avatar: The Last Airbender that copy Japan’s animation style and use it to great effect.
This article covers more topics about Japanese culture that I’ve seen any article do so far. This probably has something to do with the fact that it was written by the Japan Travel Center. It touches upon Japan’s ethnic lodging centers that come with tatami mats (floor cushions that replace chairs), futons (large cushions that replace beds), and giant baths reserved for different people at different times. It mentions Japan’s famous cuisine, including sushi and tea. It mentions Japan’s kabuki theatre and their well-known sumo wrestling. Of course, when mentioning Japanese culture, one cannot go without mentioning anime and manga. Maid cafes, which are inspired by anime, also get a mention. At maid cafes, girls wearing traditional maid clothing serve guests while referring to them as master. Japan also has cat cafes, where you can interact with cats. I’ve never heard of cat cafes, so it looks like I still have things to learn about Japanese culture.
This article has the most application out of any article I’ve seen. It talks about various Japanese customs that one should follow if they want to not seem rude. It lists out the rules of gift giving. Gifts should be given with both hands, you should reject a gift before accepting it, and never give gifts in sets of four. It talks about the rules for drinking with friends. You should pour someone’s drink while they pour yours, and you shouldn’t drink before everyone has their drink. Finally, it reveals that you should under no circumstances leave a tip anywhere.
Manga is another topic that is up my alley. This article talks about the history of manga, which is (ironically) something I don’t know very well. Manga has its roots with the right-to-left progression of art drawn by Toba Sōjō, a monk who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries. The term “manga” (playful sketches) was coined by Katsushika Hokusai. The article also mentions the origin of horror manga and sexual manga, as well as the influence of western political cartoons on Japanese art’s habit of poking fun at the government.
The video game industry wouldn’t be the same without Japan, which is one of the main reasons why I like Japan so much. Video games first hit the Japanese market with Space Invaders, a game made by a company called Taito. Pac-Man, a game made by a company called Namco, insured that video games had a future in Japan. The success of Pac-Man encouraged Nintendo to put their foot in the video game business. Nintendo’s Family Computer (Famicom), which allowed video games to be played in the comfort of one’s home, proved to be a massive success, and it began the Japanese video game craze in the United States when it was released overseas as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). With the release of the GameBoy, which allowed video games to be played on the go, Nintendo and their mascot, Mario, grew into a video game superpower. Sega decided to create their own mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog and he came with his own, more advanced, home console. The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega lasted until the late 1990s, when Sony entered the playing field. Sony made video games on disks instead of the cartridges of the past, as disks were cheaper, easier to store, and could store larger games. Nintendo, not to be outdone, created the first good video that took place in a 3D environment. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft now compete for video game dominance, and Sega no longer makes video game consoles.
Anime, manga, and video games aren’t the only lasting impression Japan has had on the world. In fact, it could be argued that Japanese food has become more well known that Japanese entertainment. You can find sushi and ramen in basically every large city. One common theme that most Japanese foods share is presence of rice and fish meat. Because of Japan’s situation as a mountainous archipelago, it is surrounded by fish and rice is one of the few crops that can grow there. Japanese food has become so popular that it was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
While this article is short, it shows what has been on the mind of Japanese people as of late. The most searched person was Mao Kobayashi, a newscaster who started a blog talking about how she dealt with her stage 4 cancer. She died on June 22nd of last year. The divisive President of the United States was also trending in the people category. North Korea was on the minds of many Japanese people, especially after North Korea launched a missile over them. The live action remake of Beauty and the Beast was a huge hit in Japan, and many people looked up information related to the movie. The popularity of Beauty and the Beast is a testament to how we influence Japan in the same way they influence us.