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Japan craze

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Japan craze

Postby Budomaru » Wed 07.19.2006 11:25 am

i've been doing some thinking on it. it seems to me there is a huge craze around Japan/Japanese. certainly there is significant influence related to anime, but i still think that doesnt account for the mass of it.

so i was wondering about what other people think, especially those of you who have spent years on the topic. why do you believe people are so attracted to the japanese culture as opposed to other cultures? is the fact that this website has 14572 (out of which about 0,002% are actually active users, or have at least posted once) is something to be expected for a language learning website? what is your view on the way people become interested in the japanese culture or sides of it?

please no posts of the "i love japanese cause its so great and i love it" kind ;) try not to post things unrelated or which dont provide input on the topic.
Last edited by Budomaru on Wed 07.19.2006 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
You know you've been hanging around a forum too long when people start quoting you and agreeing :P
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Schattenjedi » Wed 07.19.2006 11:35 am

The answer to your question is lying on the 30 pages or whatever of that thread about why people want to learn Japanese. Basically 20 years ago and beyond it was the exotic factor. Since then it's the Anime factor.
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RE: Why we love Japan.

Postby Hiroyuki kun » Wed 07.19.2006 11:56 am

Hmmm, an interesting question and probably something that will cause much debate.

Well, personally I became interested in Japan after I started training in karate. It wasn't instant. As I learned more about karate, I learned more about the japanese people and the culture. I also met some japanese people through training. For some reason the people and the culture appealed to me, so it stuck.

I was very impressed by the respect that the japanese people have for each other as well as their humble attitude. If everyone else could just understand the respect aspect, I think peoples' relationships would be a lot better.

As for the language side, I've always played around with some language. German, Italian, French etc etc. Japanese has been the only language where I feel I'm actually making progress on my own. So that's it.

;)
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Oyaji » Wed 07.19.2006 12:06 pm

The first Japan craze began around twenty-five years ago when Japan became an economic power. This is where the money was, so people started learning Japanese and Japanese culture thinking it would give them an edge in business. It certainly did for many people. That is when yuppies and such types started eating sushi, and Japanese culture became "in". That is also when anime and manga were brought in to America on a larger scale.

After Japan's economic bubble burst a lot of the business interest switched to China, but the interest in Japanese culture, including (especially?) anime and manga remained for many people.

Is there some new Japan craze beyond that that I'm not aware of?
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Schattenjedi » Wed 07.19.2006 12:18 pm

Oyaji wrote:
Is there some new Japan craze beyond that that I'm not aware of?


There is a fairly large fan community that loves Asian dramas, especially Japanese ones. I don't think it could become a craze though without actually being broadcast on TV. Proof of the community:

http://www.jdorama.com/

http://d-addicts.com/forum/
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RE: Japan craze

Postby ComradeJoe » Wed 07.19.2006 12:37 pm

Recently I had the occasion to attend a beginner-level japanese course, thanks to a friend of mine who teaches japanese. Can you guess what kind of people I saw on my short visit? Most of them were there because learning japanese is the cool thing to do, because they are anime fans or because they thought it would be easy or even because they thought japanese is cool, easy and above all used in anime (these guys usually bail-out after the first weeks, though).
Last edited by ComradeJoe on Wed 07.19.2006 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Budomaru » Wed 07.19.2006 12:58 pm

so the craze around japan seems to originate from anime, manga and business interest right? thing is, there are popular art forms that come from other nations as well, including business interest - though perhaps the answer to this is as far as, for example, modern US culture is concerned, most people already know english in some way (so no need for online learning websites) and we already see lots of websites devoted to various cultural aspects, even from foreigners (to the US). i cant think of another colossus of modern popular culture atm, but i think that explains part of it.

Schattenjedi wrote:
The answer to your question is lying on the 30 pages or whatever of that thread about why people want to learn Japanese. Basically 20 years ago and beyond it was the exotic factor. Since then it's the Anime factor.


yeah but there's lots of cultures that could become popular due to the exotic factor. it probably was a combination of business interest and the exotic factor that produced the craze.

what about WWII? didnt lots of americans stay a good length of time in japan, possibly leading to further spreading (or creation) of such a craze? i realise lots of them actually married japanese women and some still live there.

in the end, is the japan craze (or any craze) a simple matter of exotic + helpful coincidences = craze? (not actually suggesting it isnt, just providing food for thought ;) )
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RE: Japan craze

Postby metapod » Wed 07.19.2006 1:23 pm

This Japan craze in my opinion is mainly caused by Anime/manga in my opinion. I know a LOT of people in my high school want to learn Japanese/want me to teach them mainly because of anime and manga. Most of them have extremely distorted views of Japan and think its some happy anime wonderland with cosplayers running around and crap. I'm really becoming annoying annoyed of these anime fans a lot lately. Most of them only like something BECAUSE it is Japanese, or they think it is. They think a "real" Japanese meal consists of a bowl of instant ramen, Americanized sushi from the grocery store, and some crappy green tea. Most of them make pathetic attempts at learning Japanese and they try to pepper their English with Japanese words horribly mispronounced, especially baka, neko (they pronounce it niko), and konnichiwa (pronounced con neee cheee waah). I know there are some people out there who did have the motivation to learn japanese that spawned from anime and manga, but most of these anime addicted can't even use English correctly, let alone Japanese. Gah, I'll stop ranting now.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Budomaru » Wed 07.19.2006 1:34 pm

my interest in japanese was preceded by an interest to learn chinese :P it was spawned by a desire to understand anime (not to show off, or at least thats what i think :P) but it isnt limited to that. my interest in martial arts has also played a significant role.

i think what makes someone serious about an interest, is how long they stick with it and how far into it they delve. cant prove i'm serious about any of my interests since i have little more to show than a long time of involvement, yet i think its true that most people who just become involved out of a fleeting and wrongly based interest usually just quit after a while. i realise this is a natural process - as we all have been involved with a lot more subjects than we have stuck with - its just that the magnetism japanese culture has nowadays puzzled me. i thought it probably was due to anime etc. but i thought it would be best if i asked around B) i guess it turns out most of us thought the same about it and, although i'd still be interested in reading more opinions, i think we've reached a conclusion.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Schattenjedi » Wed 07.19.2006 2:00 pm

I understand that some people find the side products of the anime interest in the West to be annoying (such as a distorted image of Japan). All in all I think it's not bad and kind of refreshing. Consider the other possible things that the youth of the West can be influenced by such as violent and morally devoid rap "music" and just the whole hip-hop/rap "culture". I definitely prefer that they become interested in anime and Japanese culture.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby hyperconjugated » Wed 07.19.2006 2:12 pm

metapod wrote:
Most of them only like something BECAUSE it is Japanese, or they think it is. They think a "real" Japanese meal consists of a bowl of instant ramen, Americanized sushi from the grocery store, and some crappy green tea. Most of them make pathetic attempts at learning Japanese and they try to pepper their English with Japanese words horribly mispronounced, especially baka, neko (they pronounce it niko), and konnichiwa (pronounced con neee cheee waah). I know there are some people out there who did have the motivation to learn japanese that spawned from anime and manga, but most of these anime addicted can't even use English correctly, let alone Japanese. Gah, I'll stop ranting now.

Most these people are still teenagers
or even pre-teenagers. When you are
young you start many activities etc. in
intense but short lived phases that never
become anything more. That's all part
of being young and "stoked". Of course
we can all stick to what we have ever
started in our lives and stick to it 'till
the bitter end, long after we have realized
that we'r never gonna be the next Kobe
Bryant or whatever. Or we can move on
and do something that makes us happy
eventhough there maybe be "real ballers"
who watched and laughed at our pathetic
attempt to dribble the ball.
Gah, I'll stop ranting now.
Irgendwann fällt jede Mauer
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RE: Japan craze

Postby CuriousDrew » Fri 07.21.2006 5:18 pm

metapod wrote:
Most of them only like something BECAUSE it is Japanese, or they think it is. They think a "real" Japanese meal consists of a bowl of instant ramen, Americanized sushi from the grocery store, and some crappy green tea. Most of them make pathetic attempts at learning Japanese and they try to pepper their English with Japanese words horribly mispronounced, especially baka, neko (they pronounce it niko), and konnichiwa (pronounced con neee cheee waah). I know there are some people out there who did have the motivation to learn japanese that spawned from anime and manga, but most of these anime addicted can't even use English correctly, let alone Japanese. Gah, I'll stop ranting now.


I must admit, I myself used to find these people annoying. But as I thought about it I came to the decision that they have fallen in love with a idea. They wish that the work was more like it is portrayed in these stories, filled with honorable people and unbreakable friendships (and they don't feel that cute characters are banned unless they are totally absurd and have names like jar-jar Binks *shudder*).

Japan and the far east is as alien a society as is possible on earth in the eyes of the west and Europe. Even their language works in a different way, relaying on pictographic elements rather then exclusively on phonetics (like Egyptian hieroglyphics or when we use text pictures like ^_^ or :S I suppose). I guess the instinct to explore is just to strong to resist.

Anyways, that's my two cents. :)
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RE: Japanese Craze

Postby josephjklipp » Fri 07.21.2006 6:30 pm

I learn Japanese namely for selfish reasons: learning the language challenges me to think in other ways, it helps me to gain more insight into another culture, it enables me to connect with people from another part of the world and it helps me gain more perspective on my life and cirmcumstances.

Japanese challenges me to adapt a different way of thinking and speaking. It stands in sharp contrast to languages that are Germanic and Romantic in grammar structure (taught formally in most American high schools). This along with the three different writing systems it entails, I find Japanese to be another means to refresh and stimulate the development of my mind. Learning Japanese also helps me to empathize emotionally with people who are foreign and better understand the frustrations they might encounter when moving and adapting to the United States.

Having now worked for three months with other Japanese students (who are tutoring me in Japanese), I have come to really appreciate their receptiveness, hospitality, modesty and a spirit of not taking anything for granted. They have been very patient with teaching me and have shown lots of motivation and interest to learn about other world cultures and advance themselves through education. These same students have also helped me to better understand just how fortunate I am to have led the life that I have had and being able to speak English, having access to lots of educational opportunities, etc.

True, there are many other languages in the world (I do intend to study others), but I think Japanese is a good place to start. I do not feel that Japanese is just another language spoken in a corner of the world or a craze, it is a philosophy and an art with depth, power and beauty that speaks to and touchs a deeper part of my intellectual, emotional and spiritual nature.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby Seijiro Hiko » Fri 07.21.2006 6:46 pm

CuriousDrew wrote:
[Japan and the far east is as alien a society as is possible on earth in the eyes of the west and Europe. Even their language works in a different way, relaying on pictographic elements rather then exclusively on phonetics (like Egyptian hieroglyphics or when we use text pictures like ^_^ or :S I suppose). I guess the instinct to explore is just to strong to resist.

Anyways, that's my two cents. :)


That is in part why I was attracted to Japanese. The fact that their culture is in stark contrast to Western Society. Ever since I was very young I was mystified by the ideas of Asian culture in general particularly Japan's. Music, religion, philosophy, perspective, architecture, martial arts, food, etiquette everything was different. Yes, it was filled with silly and utterly wrong preconceptions, but that was quickly cleared with a little study. (I used to think the Roman Numeral III was japanese...(Ninja Turtles III))

I have always loved video games and I remember when my grandpa bought some-game-or-another for my game boy when I was about 6 or so and seeing "made in japan" on the back of the cartridge and thinking, "Japan must be wonderful place" (High tech wonderland or something I guess)

I think that part of the attraction to japanese culture (at least it was for me) is the almost extreme value of discipline and honor that was founded by the precepts of Bushido and is still found in some ways in modern Japan. I at one point in my grade school career felt fed up with the lack of focus, overabundance of apathy, and sheer lack of discipline that my class and respective American Society had. In turn, Japanese culture seemed to me like a correct answer to my frustration with my class and culture. Granted, Japanese culture as I soon found was not totally what I had envisioned, but I still appreciate the near paradoxical coexistence of pride and humility that is present in both their society and language.

The challenge of learning to read and write the complex kanji also attracted me.
The game Shogun Total War really acquainted me with what I loved about Japanese culture.
I didn't even know anime was anime and that it was Japanese until just before I began to study.
I have also found that there is a lot of confusion between Chinese and Japanese culture in the region I live in.
Last edited by Seijiro Hiko on Fri 07.21.2006 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japan craze

Postby CuriousDrew » Fri 07.21.2006 6:46 pm

Sometimes I admit that I look at Japanese and think that they basically turned a form of abstract art into a language. Very pretty to look at compared to the Latin Alphabet.
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