Anime, Bloggers and the Land of the Rising Sun – What causes this obsession with Japan?

(This post was originally written on the 22nd of September. Hopefully Valence has the sense to stay on hiatus, which I doubt.)

Often we find bloggers blogging over trips to Japan. While some bloggers don’t overdo it, some bloggers seem to speak of it like the greatest achievement in their lives. Some go there purely as a holiday, or a visit. Some migrate, or some even go there , buy loads of anime merchandise and return.  Most of these people do that because aside from being a fan of anime, they seem to either be weeaboos, or feel that Japanese culture is better than theirs. Everyone seems so happy in anime. The world is peaceful, the days at school are spent with great fun, and the show is great. Weeaboos too, if you’ve read my previous post. Not to say they are some sort of scourge to humanity, but everything has reasons.

However, I find that all of that stems from one major cause.

Anime is a Dream Machine. What is a dream machine? The term was used by Newsweek in an article about Walt Disney, and the exact paragraph containing said term is publicized by the book, “The Transnational Media Corporation: Global Messages and Free Market Competition.”

What is the Walt Disney Co. but a dream machine, a teller and seller of fairy tales? And at the heart of every Disney saga are some of life’smost basic themes: friendship, family and the struggle for independence. The Little Mermaid defies her father for love. Simba the lion cub flees home, finds friendly refuge amid the wilderness and overcomes an evil uncle to assume his rightful place as king. Always, the young hero breaks away,triumphs over great dangers and returns to the fold.All is forgiven, there’s always a happy ending….

Disney fulfills what the audience wants to see- and that’s their primary aim. To show a happy ending. Similarly,anime is the same. Every slice-of-life show ends in happiness. As such, people think Japan is a happy place. Well, no. Japan is just like wherever you may stay right now -it’s harsh, it’s cruel, it’s reality. Not one country exists perpetually in happiness. Students in Japan don’t skip to school, play games all day and be happy and cheery all year around. They face the same kind of stress that our students face as well. In the end, what are they? Students. Just like us. No difference, aside from race. As such Japan is just like your own country. Anime just exaggerates things.Anime was targeted at the Japanese,not other countries. Who wouldn’t  like to be comforted by the idea that everyone is happy and there are no problems in life?

Same goes for Visual Novels, or rather,H-games. Given that most of their players probably have very bad social relationships, who wouldn’t open up to the idea of a harem of ‘beautiful’ women being in love with you- all at once? As such, Japanese media, in the fields of anime and gaming, seem to give fulfill the person’s wants, giving them sensations they had never felt before.

That said, Anime brings these kind of associations to watchers from the outside as well, who get influenced to the point of interest and obsession. Some call these people interested in Japanese Culture. Others call them weeaboos. Whatever the case may be, most of the time anime is one of the major spark points that led to such an interest to begin with. As a result of anime, these people get interested in Japanese culture, as though it’s superior to theirs. Now here’s where I start to wonder. If anime was made in another country, say Korea, would they honestly get into Korean culture? Why just reside in Asia? If our anime was made in a country like Tokelau or Kiribati? Would they get into their respective cultures?

As bizarre this might seem, the answer is probably yes. Anime makes the creator’s country seem superior to the others. It’s a common sentiment carried about by all kinds of media alike. Japan has its xenophobic , patriotic anime. America likes to film patriotic films as well. It’s all  a matter of the message being carried across, but people who don’t understand take them at face value.  This, my friends, is what truly leads to Weeabooism. A misled person, hyped by what seems to be the best place in the world, indulges in its culture to the extent where it feels like drugged happiness. It’s almost as though they think that by indulging in their culture, they become that race.

Well, no. So the next time you meet an adamant Pocky addict, remind him/her that Japan isn’t the only country in the world – or their lives, as a matter of fact.

inb4 haters.

EDIT: Today is also Carillus’s birthday. Rejoice.

About Valence

I blog things.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Anime, Bloggers and the Land of the Rising Sun – What causes this obsession with Japan?

  1. Ryanime says:

    In a Spanish class I had years ago, we were give this terribly animated and poorly written cartoon originally from a Latin America country. I thought to myself, “Now here’s a language that really isn’t getting me anywhere if this is the best they can come up with.” Now, I’m not saying anything about Spanish as a language or whatever country the cartoon came from. My thoughts that particular day were based on how beautiful Japanese Animation (anime) is versus L. American Animation (in Spanish) is.

    At that point, I probably did think the Japanese culture was probably a bit better than whatever country’s culture it was. For the record though, I’m not incredibly interested in the culture – I’m just here for the animation and the story (and maybe some fan service every few days).

    • Valence says:

      What I meant to say is if anime itself was originated from Country X, I’m sure there would be increased interest in Country X. If anime can entertain and amaze some, so does Japan itself.

      Well, not everyone goes nuts with Japanese culture once they watch anime. Like weeaboos, they might be interested in speaking Japanese and using suffixes but they probably can’t tell the difference between a Japanese film synopsis and a folk tale.

  2. Nopy says:

    After visiting Japan this summer, I have to agree with you, it’s no different from any other country. There are bums lying about the street and digging through cash, there’s racism, and there are criminals. It does have a rather unique culture though, I don’t think I’ve visited another country where the people acted so robotic.

  3. Yumeka says:

    Great post. I’m guilty of some weabooism in the sense that anime made me interested in Japanese culture, leading to two trips to Japan and majoring in Japanese language and literature in college. But from all the Japan-related classes I’ve taken and my two trips there, I truly do find it a fascinating country, regardless of my anime bias. Like others, I used to think Japan was the greatest, but I’ve since learned that it has plenty of bad points as well. There are lots of things about Japanese culture I like better than American culture, but there are still a lot of things about American culture I like better. No country is perfect and I don’t think Japan is the best – only that it has many unique aspects (its technology, history of isolationism, religion, fantastic visual culture, etc) that I find very interesting.

    • Valence says:

      To be honest, I’ve contemplated about studying Japanese once. My mother offered to teach me , and she even bought some books, but in the end I just gave up. I figured, heck, might as well learn it next time, in case I lose interest in it after that. I don’t think an interest in Japanese Culture is considered weeabooism, though. There are scholars who specialize in the study of foreign cultures, and they don’t get criticized as such.

      However, indeed, Japan may seem great, on the internet, that is – but in reality it’s a normal country too. I recall an American politician who stated that ‘Anime was the reason the USA should have bombed Japan twice’, referring to WWII. Well, America isn’t perfect either. When it comes to personal preference, it doesn’t matter what country it is, really.

  4. Pingback: Spirates » Blog Archive » Anime, Bloggers and the Land of the Rising Sun – What causes this …

  5. Very interesting post Valence,

    I have to say that from all the years that I have been watching anime and reading manga, I do sometimes see myself as some of the characters and how their struggles relate to my life as well.

    And as for Japanese culture, I have always been a fan of it. I hope to someday go to Japan and check out Akihabara and other cultural references that are sometimes expressed in anime. I know that is only a dream, but I hope for it to become a reality for me someday!!!!!

    • Valence says:

      To be honest yet again, I too would want to visit Japan one day. It’s in my list of ‘countries I want to visit,’ which includes the likes of America and the UK too. Their cultures all intrigue , and interest me.

      And I suppose that’s what some anime aim to do – make you relate their experiences to your own life. And that’s exactly where they succeed.

  6. Pingback: Anime, Bloggers and the Land of the Rising Sun – What causes this … - Los Angeles California News

  7. Shance says:

    It seems that you’re trying to look at fans in the eye and tell them where they stand as fans. That’s a good idea. That should make people learn where they stand, or how they stand.

    Just remember that there are people who wouldn’t take opinion easily.

    • Valence says:

      Some people do, yes. Some people need to see themselves from another point of view from time to time. Yet so many people are so stubborn.

  8. Yi says:

    A well thought out post and a nice follow-up to the last one.
    I think there is a lot of value in learning other cultures regardless of why you became interested in it in the first place; I don’t think it’s bad some anime fans love Japanese culture because of anime.
    It becomes a problem though if they don’t bother to actually study the real culture, and are instead content with their own vague interpretation of what Japan is like based on anime.
    But again, as I said mentioned before, people have their own ways to enjoy their fandom. We can’t do much to change others.

    • Valence says:

      That’s my point exactly! People are interested in Japanese culture because of anime, yet they only learn certain aspects of it, mixing their interpretations with actual Japanese culture and passing it off as the culture itself. Adding suffixes to everything is one example.

      Indeed, people have their own ways to enjoy their fandom. But one must never fall into obliviousness.

  9. pc games 10 says:

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  10. hiroy_raind says:

    yeah, I do agree on a lot of people exaggerating about going to Japan as if it’s some sort of a pilgrimage or life’s objective.

    and I believe that I’ve had this kind of conversation a couple dozens of times:
    friend: “Do you want to go to Japan someday?”
    me: “Nope”
    friend: “Why not?”
    me: “Why would I?”
    friend: “I thought you liked anime and stuff like that”
    me: “And? I like movies too but I never went to Hollywood or wherever they were shot”

    The only time I would like to go to Japan is when I have loads of money, just because shipment fees are expensive, if you catch my drift.

    oh, and even though I’m totally late, happy birthday Carillus 🙂

    • Valence says:

      Every country I want to visit will cost me a huge sum of money, since they’re all so far away. I can roughly understand.

      But really, for a person of my age such a trip in following interest is difficult. Firstly, the cost. Next, the language barrier, and so on. No point travelling if I can’t understand anything.

  11. Fidelis says:

    I’m sure ‘Oriental exoticism’ plays a part. Different culture from the West (and Western-influenced countries), etc. If the comics/animation industry in France was as large, distinctive and influential, would people (want to) go there based on that? Well, the Astérix series has its own theme park; I wonder if people (want to) visit largely just for that. But if it’s possible with Disneyland in the US, why not? And are there anime/manga theme parks too?

  12. Pingback: God Save the Electric Town: Akihabara, Comiket and Fandom in Ore no Imouto « 2-D Teleidoscope

  13. webdesin says:

    I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

  14. Hey, I attempted to email you pertaining to this post but aren?t able to reach you. Please e-mail me when get a moment. Thanks.

  15. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
    Keep working ,great job!

  16. Pingback: Weeaboo-ism | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  17. Pingback: Never judge a book by its cover ; judge it by its Index – Age issues in To Aru Majutsu no Index | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  18. I would like to use the chance of thanking you for that professional suggestions I have continually enjoyed browsing your site. I’m looking forward to the commencement of my school research and the entire prep would never have been complete without checking out your web blog. If I could be of any assistance to others, I’d personally be glad to help as a result of what I have gained from here.

  19. baidu456 says:

    Me together with my lady were thinking regarding this issue. However the thruth is usually, people cant believe in details authored in world-wide-web.

  20. Tad Prauner says:

    I love what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and exposure! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll.

  21. Pingback: Project Pony: Nipping the problem in the bud | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

Comments are closed.