What the Japanese Think about Foreigners interested in Japanese Culture
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22 / M / Chicago, Illinois
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Posted 1/22/17 , edited 1/22/17
I remember seeing an article similar to this a while ago, but instead talked about how Japanese people dislike it when foreigners take an interest in Japanese culture and/or Anime. I hope this little short story clears up such myths of Japanese people taking a dislike to the "gaijin".

I'm pretty big into MMOs, more specifically, The Lord of The Rings Online (LOTRO). Surprisingly, I met an enclave of about 20-30 Japanese people on my server. My good friend whom I met in this enclave I will refer to her as "Izu-chan". She's an average Japanese woman who works hard, and is quite selfless. Over the course of our friendship, she's noticed that I am quite interested in Japanese culture, and non-Western culture in general. They are some of the most friendly people I have ever met; they are quite a bit older than me by a decade or two, but they are still fun to game with and talk to. They don't speak English too well, but over time, you start to understand them while raiding. "Eo, Stapu Stapu Stapu!" We all had a good laugh after we heard our raid leader say that over VOIP.

Izu-Chan doesn't really care for anime or manga. Her main interest lies within J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth; she is one of the few Japanese who actually read the novels, rather than just simply watching the films. When I asked her how she felt about foreigners taking an interest into Japanese culture and Otaku culture as well, rather than being appalled by the notion of foreigners appreciating her culture, she actually welcomes it. She was also quite surprised when I asked her about things like Kancolle, Hatsune Miku, AKB, Edo Period, the "Book of Five Rings", by Miyamoto Musashi, and the novel that is now a movie, "Silence", by Shusaku Endou.

One thing that I was quite surprised about when I met these Japanese people was the level of selflessness on display, even to a person they can barely understand, me. On LOTRO, they've helped me craft, complete instances (dungeons) and raids, and even gave me advice on visiting Japan, or studying there. One of my other good Japanese friends, who I will refer to as Sakai-San, referred me to several programs on how I may study there in the near future. Izu-chan has also referred me to a friend of hers who is a professor at a university in Osaka that is famous for having a diverse campus, who could help me on the process of attending said school. He is also an Otaku.

I'm sure that my friend doesn't speak for all of Japan, but I believe her to speak for a good portion of their population. They aren't Xenophobic like how the movie "Tokyo Drift" portrays them as, but are quite passive and fun-loving people. A lot of them are more than welcome to discuss their own country with foreigners, even elements they themself don't care too much about. I hope this clears up some fears of the populace looking down on foreigners, because so far, from what I've seen, they are a welcoming people.

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19 / F / VA, USA
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Posted 1/22/17
Thanks, this was super reassuring to read!
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25 / M / Abyss
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Posted 1/22/17
I can tell you that the Japanese I have met are similar to that too.

I have some friends who own a Japanese Restaurant (family style) and I enjoyed going there to eat. I would go alone, with friends, with family, it didn't matter. I just liked trying new foods and learning about new cultures. They would sit down and talk with me for quite a while and answer any of my questions they could on Japan.

Every year they go to Japan for 6 weeks to see family and friends. They told me I should come visit them some day there. I think I will take them up! I would want a good tour guide anyway... Since I don't speak a lick of Japanese!

I can also speak for the Chinese and Korean culture. I have friends from both of those places as well and they don't mind (and enjoy) my interest in their culture. My French friend, however is rather stingy about that kind of stuff. Pretty sure he is just dissatisfied with France though.

Either way, it is nice to know that there are even more Japanese people like this family! Also, I think "The Anime Man" did a video on this and it follows your narrative too. (TAM is a YouTuber with over 1,000,000 subs. Lived in both Japan and Australia, speaks both fluently).
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19 / F / VA, USA
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Posted 1/22/17
^ Wow that's such a cool offer! I hope you get to visit them!
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27 / M / Leanbox, Gameindu...
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Posted 1/22/17 , edited 1/22/17
A lot of what we here about the world is utter bullshit and I only really started to realize it when I traveled abroad and talked to people.
For the most part, pretty much anyone I've met has been quite positive when it comes to foreigners learning about their culture, and the few times they weren't it had to do with certain foreigners exploiting the dark side of their country (i.e. prostitution, drugs, etc.), which quite frankly I don't blame them.

I also have heard the same thing about anime, manga, and Japanese culture in general, yet I still don't know anyone who has personally experienced such criticism. Now that being said, don't let a few bad apples ruin your pursuit in making friends from around the world and learning more about other cultures.
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32 / M
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Posted 1/23/17
Fred worships Japanese . Japan is a bit conservative, most of my impression of them is beyond age 30, since I have not interacted with the students, but I am sure they are all friendly. Last time I went to Akihabara I am surprised that their anime culture is rather well developed, they are selling bentos and such for a good price. Other than that I am reminded with the "Click" movie of TGI Friday, since I think that is what their economy is driven by. While having a sense of humor they have a solid work force and usually come in groups. In the restaurant most of the working force is consisted of females. They are good looking and friendly. I also went to Disney Land, some girl wanted me to take pictures of them. We Asians kind of all look the same even though I'm Taiwanese. With that said I do encourage people to work in Japan just to get a taste of the eastern culture, do try to blend in, learn Japanese, without scaring them lol. And remember to have fun
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Posted 1/23/17
I love the Japanese historical cultural artistic aesthetic e.g. Wabi and sabi. It's one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to. I don't think you would see road rage there. Of course you get the crazies that we all suffer from.
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36 / M / SoFlo
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Posted 1/23/17
My wife and extended family is Japanese. They love foreigners taking an interest in Japanese culture.

just don't be a weeaboo.
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29 / M / New York
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Posted 1/23/17
Never met a Japanese person who disliked foreigners for taking interest in anime/manga. I think it's safe to say that any normal person is likely to have a negative view of people who have delusions about Japanese culture being just like what they see on TV/anime/manga. People sometimes forget that Japan has a diverse group of people. Sure, there are general cultural practices that most people follow but as far as interests/hobbies go, its just as diverse as any other democratic country. I do think there's a difference between interest in Japanese culture (arts, language, literature, music, media, etc) and fetishizing it through anime obsession.

There are plenty of people in the West whose exposure to other cultures, including Japan's, is limited through popular media stereotypes (weird game shows, hentai tentacles) so it's not really surprising that they form their ideas around those. Ignorant? Sure, but not hateful.
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32 / M
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Posted 1/23/17

bronzefoot wrote:

I love the Japanese historical cultural artistic aesthetic e.g. Wabi and sabi. It's one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to. I don't think you would see road rage there. Of course you get the crazies that we all suffer from.


You don't see people like GTO that often in Japan lol, oh well
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Forum clean up ^,^ removing posts from over a year ago!
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