Japanese fetish

Is anyone else curious as to why this generation[1] seems to have an abnormal fascination with all things Japanese? For example, Rob’s list of life accomplishments probably has “bagged a Japanese girlfriend” as a prominent bullet. Hube’s anime DVD and DivX collection would put most libraries and rental stores to shame. Matt, Ernest, and Colin are all teaching English in Japan right now. Terry’s childhood dream is to live in Japan. Modern day western cinema is filled with Japanese-themed/inspired films, as witnessed by movies such as The Matrix trilogy, Lost in Translation, The Last Samurai, and Kill Bill. In the online comic world, MegaTokyo is inexplicably a perennial favourite.

This phenomenon doesn’t seem to be limited to gender[2], race, marital status, country of birth (there were FOBs – sorry, "new Canadians" – in my class that were similarly enamoured with the Japanese), etc. I know I’m certainly not exempt.

Which I think is all slightly odd, considering past events such as The Rape of Nanking and Pearl Harbor. I suppose though, that this generation has never really been much for the whole idea of holding people accountable for the mistakes of their elders[3]. Which is fine, but that still begs the question, why Japan?

Is it that Japanese people as a whole are more physically attractive? After all, babies will gaze at and smile more at physically attractive people. Heck, even chickens prefer attractive humans. So it would almost make sense if Japanese people on the whole were more attractive than everyone else. I don’t think that’s true though, they have more than their fair share of the butt ugly.

Ok, so maybe they’re just smarter? After all, smart people are usually well liked too. Don’t think that can be proved conclusively though. Sure, the Japanese are good at making gadgets and electronics, but by the same token, Germans are good at making cars, the French make good food, and so forth. Yet the Japanese are the ones that enjoy a much higher level of preferential treatment.

<shrug> Any ideas?

[1] For the sake of argument, let’s say the current 16 to 34 year old demographic, give or take on either side.

[2] Though if push came to shove, I’d admit that it does tend to be the geekier, predominantly male crowd that is more inclined to like all things Japanese. It must be a fascination with the whole tentacle monster thing.

[3] Though perhaps it’s not so much a generation/age related thing, but has more to do with the affluence of the society. Those surrounded by material things don’t really have the time or energy to cling to the past. Their hatred never ends up being passed down to the next generation. "Je me souviens" indeed.

One Comment

  1. Terry says:

    Hey Dave. I really think it has to do with the influence Japanese products had on me since I was a kid. Sega/Nintendo, NEC Multisync Monitors, Sony Trinitrons, Panasonic VCRs, even the Honda Civic… eventually on a subconcious level the love I have for their products naturally transforms into a love to the people and their culture. I also love Japanese writing more than English or Chinese… and I can only explain that by the vast number of hours I had to stare at their writing while playing Japanese import RPG’s when I was only 10 years old. Even though the connection seems to be weak, everything seems to work on a subconcious, indirect level… and many hours everyday, multiplied by many days to years of progammable youth, it was only a matter of time before I constructed the idea that “Japan is great” in my own head.

    I have an equal respect for Germans but the feeling is not the same as no German product has ever had a large influence on my life.