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Topic: Japan and the West
TOPIC:
Japan and the West
Many people fear that their national identities can be diminished or even destroyed by aggressive globalisation. Yet history shows us that nations can maintain their cultures despite huge pressures from outside. This has been easier for island nations such as Japan. Despite nineteenth century American ‘shock and awe’ tactics, Japan successfully kept the outside world at bay and tempered its influences. It adapted western technologies and exported its own high-quality products. Many aspects of its own culture also became popular in the West. Japan and Britain have both benefited from a dynamic mix of cultural influences spanning 150 years. But Japan and Britain still view the outside world with an odd mixture of suspicion and fascination. Despite increasing familiarity our mutual perceptions are still distorted and stereotypes remain. This topic explores three areas of cultural influence – the home, leisure, and perception – and shows how the Japanese approach to life can enrich us all.
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Topic section: Homelife
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There are strong traditions associated with Japanese homes, but Western influences, such as using dining tables and chairs, have had an impact. Western homeowners adopted Japanese ceramics and prints, and are now also likely to own Japanese electronic goods.  > more

Topic section: Leisure
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Japanese food and sports are both very healthy. It is now easy to find Japanese restaurants and judo classes in Western cities. Meanwhile, the Japanese have eagerly taken up Western sports, such as baseball, and go to American-style fast-food bars.  > more

Topic section: Looking at you, looking at me
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Despite many ideas and technologies exchanged between Japan and the West, mutual understanding has lagged behind. Western ideas about the Japanese and their way of life have always been strongly influenced by stereotypes in the popular media.  > more
 
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