Economic Japan, the new culture

This is a random non LDS related, or even history related, post so bear with me.  I have been marvelling in the past few years about the success the Japanese have had in influencing our culture.  They probably more than any other country, outside of Britian, have done more to influence what we do recreationally, in our job market, our media and many other sources in North America. 

Everyone talks so often about American Economic Imperialism, well the Japanese have not been far behind.  Some have gone so far as to claim they are spreading propaganda.  I remember in our US history class a discussion about where the next real competitor would come from to the USA.  Militarily I do not see one coming together soon, economically though, Japan has slowly creeped ever closer.

Manga and Anime in the USA is a 4.5 billion dollar a year industry.  That is an amazing influence on society.  Just as everyone across the world (in the 1970s and 80s) has heard of Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, and The Fonz, many are now learning of Pokemon (Pocket Monsters in Japanese), Sailor Moon, and now the horror industry has gone Japanese with The Ring. 

Along with this of course is the influence of Japanese companies like Toyota, Sony and Nintendo, just to name a few obvious ones, and well I think the influence is slowly spreading.  We like they did so long ago are finding their youth speaking a foreign tongue, obasan, Chibi and Sushi, are taking their place in the language of people who would never normally speak another language.

The Television show Heroes is a good example where one of the main characters is Hiro Nakamura who comes to American from Japan knowing little english.  You spend the first few episodes listening to him and his friend speaking in subtitles (Japanese with english subtitles).  And it did not seem weird.

In the 1980s many companies tried to emulate the Japanese business model, since the 1990s we as a culture have been slowly modelling their culture.  It is fascinating to realize this and so how little it bothers me.  Compare this to the navel gazing done by countries such as Canada and Britain about US cultural influence and you can see instantly how stupid our fear has been.

Anyway just something to chew on.

 

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2 Responses to Economic Japan, the new culture

  1. DCL says:

    I returned from Japan in the mid-90s with a 42-volume Dragon Ball manga collection and my mind spinning with ideas of how to import all of the cool pop culture into America. Ten years later and its all here, now, in English. Sometimes I wonder if the US and Canada might be net importers of Japanese pop culture.

    In terms of real, actual Japanese culture, though – it is withering and dying where it is. It’s management and educational models were largely discredited throughout the 90s so I don’t think our culture is seriously going to try to emulate these models again.

  2. BruceC says:

    I remember in our US history class a discussion about where the next real competitor would come from to the USA. Militarily I do not see one coming together soon

    Militarily, I do see one. China views the last 150 years in which they were not THE world power as a glitch. They have the resources and the will to make it happen, soon.

    That said, they too are feeling the influence of Japanese culture, despite the bad relationship they have had in the past.

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