Some cultures are definitely foreign enough to most people, that they seem like a different land altogether. However, we can get to know a culture through their art, history and our own power of will, by seeking out information, whether physically or by using the internet.
In the West, especially America, Japan has become quite popular lately. The younger generations especially seem to favor Japan compared to other cultures. One would be pressed to ask, whether that is because of Anime?
Anime has definitely played a role in popularizing Japan in the West, but it is only one of the reasons as to why it has become more popular.
Japanese filmography has made its way to the West, given that we can access the internet with ease nowadays. Sites like Netflix and other streaming services, are quick to jump the gun on what they think will be a popular movie or show in the West.
This has been met with huge success and is one of the gateways to another culture, in this case, Japan. Given their iconic approach to cinema, it is something that many deem exotic, but it can be better described as new and refreshing.
Popular music always finds a way to transcend the globe, with music from different cultures making its way on the top 100 charts. No matter the genre, the music finds a way to connect people and to point them in the direction of a culture.
Whether we are talking about boy bands or electronic music, Japan has many talented artists who can now easily be found. An interesting fact is that 70s and 80s Japanese jazz fusion is the inspiration behind the many Sega, Nintendo and Capcom games that many have played on the early consoles and arcade machines.
Food is among the first things to transcend countries, miles and eventually, galaxies. We have to eat, we love to eat. Our palate craves new and interesting tastes, which is why most of us love trying new food.
Japanese cuisine is anything but standard to the West, making it quite a treat. Japanese restaurants and takeout places have become popular, to the point of people having their go-to and favorite places on speed dial, or a delivery app, if we’re keeping with the times.
Japanese video games have a very specific way of approaching the story, characters and storytelling. From classic anime-inspired, flashy, combat-oriented video games, to deep and almost sublime horror stories, to psychological studies, the Japanese video game industry does a lot to help bring Japanese culture to the West.
The Automotive Industry
While video games cover a part of people, others love having cars and motorcycles and the Japanese have been known to make exemplary vehicles. From sporty legends like the Toyota Supra to Yamaha’s fabled motorcycles and engines, to Mazda’s experiments with the rotary (Wenkel) engines, Japanese cars have somewhat of a cult following in the West, often standing for reliability and to-the-point design.
Anime Also Helps
Japan has a lot to offer in terms of culture, art and industries, but they also make great anime, or rather, the anime genre originates from Japan and is an instant connection to their culture. Whether you enjoy Dragonball, Naruto, Death Note, Attack on Titan or something else entirely, anime does bring Japanese culture closer to the West.
There certainly are more reasons than anime why Japan has become more popular in the West, especially in America, lately. From various industries to the culture, cuisine and art, Japan, like all the countries of the world, has something new and amazing to teach us.