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Maciamo
Dec 26, 2002, 22:04
Of course, it all depends on what we call "Western". There are several definitions.

First, the geographical opposition between Europe and Asia, but that alone has turned out to be a too simple definition, as Australia or New Zealand are more East than Asia, but definitely Western. So is it a cultural or ethnic distinction rather purely geographical ?

Secondly, Western used to refer to the Capitalist world during the cold war. The East-West opposition was especially valid for Europe, but on a global point of view, America the NATO countries laid West, while the communist world (not only the USSR, but also China and North Korea) laid East.

Finally (I think), most Europeans consider that a Western country is about the same as an industrialised/developped one.

The 2 latter points, Japan is definitely Western, and I think that's also where most Europeans would place Japan (from the opinions I have heard). Nonetheless, Japanese always stress the opposition between themselves and Westerners (or foreigners in general). They certainly not feel Western, but what if others consider them as such because they have a different definition ?

Before developping more deeply, I let you reflect on this and give your opinions.

thomas
Dec 26, 2002, 23:21
Simplistic answer:

I view Japan as industrialized country, though not as "Western".

Western = Christian background (common history, values, morals, culture)

Maciamo
Dec 26, 2002, 23:42
So, does that mean that non-Christian European, Americans, etc. are not Westerners ? For instance, I have absolutely nothing to do with Christians values, moral and believes, nevertheless, I am a Westerner. Nowadays, a majority of young Europeans don't care about religion or are Christian just on paper (never attend church or far from convinced that the Bible is the Truth). Among these, about 5-10% of people are atheist. Then, countries like France or the UK have about 10% of their population that is Muslim. Eventhough they were born and raised in Europe, aren't these people Westerners ? What about Caucasians muslims (Serbs...) or converts ?

Then, whith the logic Western = Christian background (common history, values, morals, culture), Filipinos should be Westerners, as they are more fanatically Christian than most Europeans, have 500 years of colonial Christian history and are culturally more Spanish-American than Asian.

Same for the 25% of Koreans that are Christians. Are they Westerners ? If so, what about the 75% left, Buddhist or Atheist ?

Are Coptic Egyptian or Christian Syrian, Iraqi or Armenian Westerners because they share all the history, values, moral than Europeans ? Anyway, culturally, there a Syrian is probably as near of a Greek than a Greek from an Irish or Finn. Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them. Greeks are the historical pillar of Western values (democracy, philosophy, reason, sciences...).

That brings us to the next point : Weren't Romans or Ancient Greeks Westerners ? If not, when can we talk for the first time of Western country ?

lineartube
Dec 27, 2002, 02:12
My opinion of a Western country may cahnge, depending on which way am I faced and where I might be. :)

More seriously, I thought that the whole East-West thing surfaced during the cold war. I guess there are a lot of "east-west" definitions available, wether is economically, socially or politically. As long as there are differences you can agree on the existence of a bipolar system.... with several layers of cake.

Don't mind me. Too much food on Christmas and Santa got me a cold.

:D

thomas
Dec 27, 2002, 22:44
Originally posted by Maciamo
So, does that mean that non-Christian European, Americans, etc. are not Westerners ? For instance, I have absolutely nothing to do with Christians values, moral and believes, nevertheless, I am a Westerner. Nowadays, a majority of young Europeans don't care about religion or are Christian just on paper (never attend church or far from convinced that the Bible is the Truth). Among these, about 5-10% of people are atheist.

I referred to "Christian" in a strictly cultural, not a religious sense. With "background" I meant shared history, culture, arts, literature, legal & political principles, morals and ethics. I would not consider myself to be a spiritual person, but I was raised with these values, and I dare to assume that the same applies even to "Western" atheists. The environment is a vital element of socialization.


Then, countries like France or the UK have about 10% of their population that is Muslim. Eventhough they were born and raised in Europe, aren't these people Westerners ? What about Caucasians muslims (Serbs...) or converts ?

Hm, I'd subsumize European Muslims under the same global equation as above. Don't put too much emphasis on the term "Christian". It's an amalgam of the factors I quoted above, view it as common heritage.

There are certainly a lot of other population segments that can't be categorized as easily (provided there's a need for categorization, lol). Hm, perhaps also depends on if they want to be seen as Western.


Then, whith the logic Western = Christian background (common history, values, morals, culture), Filipinos should be Westerners, as they are more fanatically Christian than most Europeans, have 500 years of colonial Christian history and are culturally more Spanish-American than Asian. Same for the 25% of Koreans that are Christians. Are they Westerners ? If so, what about the 75% left, Buddhist or Atheist ?

That's true. However, what's the alternative to the "hereditary approach" mentioned above? A racial approach? Yack!


Are Coptic Egyptian or Christian Syrian, Iraqi or Armenian Westerners because they share all the history, values, moral than Europeans ? Anyway, culturally, there a Syrian is probably as near of a Greek than a Greek from an Irish or Finn. Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them. Greeks are the historical pillar of Western values (democracy, philosophy, reason, sciences...).

Christian minorities in the Middle East are indeed an interesting case. The Copts view themselves as true Egyptians, combining Christian and ancient Egyptian heritage. They do not view themselves as Western, although many of their Muslim compatriots consider them as - let's put it that way - "Western elements". Let's call these minorities "Western-related".


That brings us to the next point : Weren't Romans or Ancient Greeks Westerners ?

Pre-westerners. :)


If not, when can we talk for the first time of Western country ?

This question needs further reflection.

Hairyneville
Dec 27, 2002, 22:46
Like a star.

den4
Dec 28, 2002, 00:42
Perhaps westerns are only for the movies... :D
seriously, I think industrialization and government types are not the leading thing to say which country is western or not, more like which nations were originally european and became the majority of that particular country, along with the language spoken...asia is predominantly asian, africans are predominantly black....Australians and New Zealanders tend to be run under British rule, so it is now a western nation with european values, and so is america (even if it became independent of British rule)...think these are what makes a country Western....and Japan is definitely not taken after the european mold, even if the government was set up by americans after the second world war...

Maciamo
Dec 28, 2002, 17:52
Originally posted by den4
seriously, I think industrialization and government types are not the leading thing to say which country is western or not, more like which nations were originally european and became the majority of that particular country, along with the language spoken...asia is predominantly asian, africans are predominantly black....Australians and New Zealanders tend to be run under British rule, so it is now a western nation with european values, and so is america (even if it became independent of British rule)...think these are what makes a country Western....

That's a bit simple. I want to ask you what you'd do with a country having roughly half its population from European origin and the other not. There aren't any such well defined country nowadays, but there could be. New Zealand, with only 3,5 million people (75% Europeans), could very well "go Asian" in a not so remote future with the current immigration levels.

Let's take another, real, example. Bolivia and Peru are almost always put i the Western country group because they are in America, ex-Spanish colonies, with Spanish as official language. However, less than 15% of the population (in both countries) are from European descent. More than 60% are Ameridians, in majority Quechua or Aymara, speaking Quechua or Aymara. Their culture is still very similar to what it was during the Inca empire, religion and modernity (cars, electricity...) notwithstanding. So, can this European minority justify that these country are Western, even when life there is probably much more different than in Europe, North America, Australia or... Japan ?

If the ethny defines Westerness, few South American countries are Western (except Chile, Argentina and Uruguay). Mexico is composed of 1/3 of Amerindians and the 2/3 left are mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian descent). Honduras is 90% mestizo, 7% Indian, say my sources. Haiti is 95% African descent, 5% mulatto and European descent. Brazil only has 55% of its people from European descent. That would be absurd to divide South America's Westerness just on basis each country's ethnic composition. Or I am wrong ?



and Japan is definitely not taken after the european mold, even if the government was set up by americans after the second world war...

Japan has copied the biggest part of its political, legal, economical and educational systems on the West since the Meiji era. You refer to the Constitution imposed by the US after WWII, but that's just a detail of what has been Westernised in Japan.

ghettocities
Jan 16, 2003, 18:10
Japan is just playing the role of poser, it's like calling someone a model just because they own a pair designer jeans, or a better example is like Matsui coming over and playing for the Yankees, they have baseball in Japan but wait, whats that? america has it made and this makes japan fiend to be more "western" in everything it does to the point that they are fleeing their tiny island smaller than california to try and get a piece of our rich golden-brown american pie. so this leads me to believe what i hear time and time again, that the "majority" of Japanese people want to affilate themselves with america in any way they can, thus the reason why we don't have mail order brides in the states, case closed.

God bless america,
Josh

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SirJeannot
Jan 16, 2003, 18:12
eastern in my case :p

den4
Feb 21, 2003, 23:40
on second thoughts, Japan is a wannabe western nation, but it's definitely eastern....it has its own convoluted system borrowed from other countries and they still can't figure out how to find their way out of a paper bag...in getting the economy back up again....but that's my impression...I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but I think they make it complicated, making excuses on why they can't implement reforms....mostly due to dat olde boy mentality still lurking in the shadows....

samuraitora
Feb 25, 2003, 02:38
Japan is NOT a western nation, or at least that is my opinion. I have to agree with what Thomas said about them being "industrialized" not western. They don't have the same beleifs that we do. That is the main factor that seperates them.

jeisan
Feb 25, 2003, 06:44
japan is the land of the rising sun, the sun rises in the east, therefore japan is eastern

shao
May 8, 2003, 07:26
before and during WW II, Japan tried to make itself as "Leader of Asia" by taking the control of the whole of Asia and kicking Westerns out of Asia. Japanese said "Asia is for Asian only!"

after US took Japan, Japanese dont like the fact that they are part of Asia because most asian nations are third-world.

now... um... i only think Japan as "Being kick out of Asia"...

karmy
May 12, 2003, 15:20
i dont know :bluush:

Squareboy
May 15, 2003, 12:28
Japan is Different, Different than any other place on earth, it is the most technoligacally advances socity in the world while at the same time holding some of the oldest traditions. Asian a weird term, most people almost always think ""Chinese" when you say Asian. and no one considers Russia Asian, Russia is very western and takes up basically half of the contanant of Aisa. Japan is Asian but is becoming more western everyday!

hua he
May 22, 2003, 18:57
If Japan want to become western country, they must eradicate the use of Chinese(Kanji) in Japanese.

tasuki
May 22, 2003, 19:45
Squareboy
If you think that Japan is the most technologically advanced country in the world, you've obviously never been here.

hua he
What do kanji have anything to do with being a Western country? Greece is a Western country and uses Greek characters...

Little history lesson boys and girls. Why is it "Western"? Because the world was and still is dominated by cultures that are located in the arbitrarily called "Western" hemisphere. Even though this denomination is totally arbitrary, Japan is still not in this historically recognized hemisphere of the world and thus will NEVER be a "Western" country in that sense of the word.

For those of you who think that being "western" is more a state of mind than a geographical location, let me put this to you. What are Japanese really enamoured of: the western way of life or the IDEA of the western way of life? I stipulate that they love the IDEA, not the fact, just as most of you here (and me until living in Japan) are taken with the idea of Japan (to all of you different and unique). Again, Japan fails to become a Western country.

From where I stand, Japan may be westernized, but it will NEVER ever be a "Western" country and we should be happy about it.

hua he
May 23, 2003, 12:32
Actually, the so called "western" and "eastern" countries was actually differentiated racially.

Just see, as long as it is a country with white in charge, this is a western country. If the country is with blacks or yellows in charge, it will be an eastern country.

THis is the view of the whole world.

tasuki
May 23, 2003, 12:35
Sorry to disagree about your apparently set view of the world, but just as with the kanji comment, African countries are NOT and never will be Western countries. However, Brasil is a Western country... Can you explain that?

Maciamo
May 23, 2003, 16:56
Tasuki, may I ask you :
Are Bolivia or Jamaica Western countries ?
What about South Africa, Israel, Singapore, Turkey and Russia. Feel free to develop your arguments for each of them.

tasuki
May 23, 2003, 17:10
I feel that what hua he said is correct, but an overly broad generalisation. Traditionally, western countries are the European biggies: France, Italy, the UK, Spain and Portugal and the countries they colonized that are located in the so-called western hemisphere (don't ask me where it starts now, I don't know). However, that definition has since changed to include all the countries in the western hemisphere (excluding most if not all African countries), I believe. Yet, the term "Western" is too often used here and elsewhere to designate countries of mainly Latin, Angle, or Saxon heritage, which brings us back to the biggies above, the States, Canada, Mexico, and the South American countries conquered and colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese.

The political situations with most of the aforementioned countries since world war I has won most of them a designation of their own. Russia is a country of the former USSR, Turkey is a middle-eastern country, Singapore is and always was an Asian state, and South Africa is perceived (even if its not true) as a third world country. Another interesting concept, the third world.

I would place Bolivia in the Western lot myself, although I've never really given it any thought, nor have I ever seen Jamaica as anything else than what it is: Jamaica.

I would ask you the same question you did me. How about Australia? Do you see it as a western country?

Maciamo
May 23, 2003, 18:42
Australia is probably the most Western in all the countries discussed here.

IMHO, Bolivia and Jamaica aren't even half Western. Bolivia and Peru are composed of more than 50% Quechua (former Inca kingdom) and still speak Quechua. I don't see why a mainly native American country should be more Western than Turkey, which used to be part of Ancient Greece, then Rome and remained a Greek speaking country till the Turl took over government in 1453. Ethnically and historically, Turkey is as European as Greece, which is laid the basis for Western civilization (without Greece, no Europe, no modern world).

Jamaica is an English speaking country with a strong black majority (like most Caribean islands) with 76% African descent, 15% Afro-European descent, 4% European, 3% East Indian & Middle Eastern, 1% Afro-Chinese & Chinese. In comparison, South Africa is also English (and Afrikaans, which is Dutch) speaking, and has a very similar ethical composition : 77% black, 10% white, 8% mixed race, 2.5% of Indian or Asian descent.
So, logically, if one is Western the other is too. Just being a part of the American continent doesn't necessarily qualify for Westerness.

Russia has always been a Western country till the 1917 revolution, and even with the same ruling family as the rest of Europe. Russia as a country was actually founded by Swedish vikings. It's not because of 80 years of communism that it's lost its Westerness. Ethnically and culturally as Western as white Europeans or North Americans. Historically more Western than America. The term Western is strange when applied to Russia because of its Eastern geographical location.

Finally, Israel is very much Western in mentality and system, but ethnically and linguistically Semitic (be it Jews or Arabs), so not European, and thus not Western. But almost anybody considers Israel as a Western country, as most of its Jewish population originates from European countries or the US.

Singapore is more Westernized than Japan because it was founded by the British and English is still the official language.

tasuki
May 23, 2003, 23:31
I was aware of all those facts, and I'm certainly not going to argue them with you. You and I seem to have a different view of the concept of Western, that's all. In my book westernized doesn't make western. The 80 years of communism in Russia were the ones that changed it all. From my experience with Ossies and Kiwis, I'd say that a lot of them would feel somewhat annoyed at being called a western country, which would make them part of the pack, a thing they pride themselves not to be.

I'm firmly believe that the concept of "western" countries began with the fall of the Roman Empire, gained in strength during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and then reached a relatively final state with the birth of the United States. The two world wars changed that but little. So basically, I think that for most people when one says western person or country one refers to people or countries of (as I said before) Latin, Angle, and Saxon ancestry.

Now if one were to quantify the westerness (I like that word!) by how westernized a country is, then Japan would win the crest hands down.

So I think you and I basically agree that westerness is a highly relative concept. But (not wanting to knock down my country of adoption), since Japanese like to categorize (as do a lot of other nations and peoples) I think many use the term western with only the vaguest of idea of what it means. Why west? West of what? Relative to what? We live on a ball, everything is west of something. Everything. So technically, we're all westerners AND easterners. Cool, eh?

Onigiri
May 24, 2003, 12:23
Japan is not a western country!! I don't think you can define it western simply because it is developped. Japan still has many, many eastern traditions as regular practice. I really don't even see a point to this debate.

Maciamo
May 24, 2003, 14:38
Originally posted by tasuki
So basically, I think that for most people when one says western person or country one refers to people or countries of (as I said before) Latin, Angle, and Saxon ancestry.


So, are you saying that Irish, Welsh, Scotish, Scandinavians, dutch and some Germans aren't Westerners because they are neither Latin nor Anglo-Saxons ? FYI, Angles and Saxons were both north Germanic tribes that, along with the Jutes of Denmark, were invited to Britain by a Celtic tribe to sort the problems between the various Celtic groups that inhabited the island. They settled and pushed all the Celts to the West (Wales, Corwall) and North (Scotland) and created their own kingdoms (Mercia, West Saxony, East Saxony, etc.). Later on, Danish and Norwegian vikings (who were not Anglo-Saxons, but other Germanic tribes) raided Britain and the rest of Europe. A group of Danish viking settled in France (Normandy), mixed with French locals, and later invaded England (William the conquerer, 1066).

You could only describe English people as Germanic (Anglo-saxon + Scandinavian ) with a bit of Latin and Celt blood.

In short, I would rather identify Westerners as being ethnically Celto-Latino-Germanic, so as to include the whole of Western and Northern Europe, but I would also add Greeks, and I can't see why Eastern Europeans (be they Slavic, Finno-Hungaric, or Baltic) wouldn't be Westerns, especially that they have mixed quite a lot with Germanic (Swedish and German) people during history.

Once again, if Westerness is only based on ethny, why not just say Caucassian instead ? Would you argue that Collin Powell or Michael Jordan aren't Westerner because they have African origins ?

tasuki
May 24, 2003, 23:06
I agree with you a hundred percent there and I think most people include the same ethnic groups you outline here unconsciously in their definition of westerness. I don't believe that westerness is based on ethnicity, I think it has more to do with the political, geo-political, and historical impacts of Europe and North America (a European offshoot) on the world. We can argue until kingdom come, but being Western is only a concept. As I said yesterday, western relative to what? I much prefer refering to people by their country or continent, it's less of a headache.

Just as an aside, you can lay off the history lessons, I've taken a minor in European history, so I know who descends from who, where, and when.

The question was is Japan a western country. I think we can safely say that it is westernized, just as India is, Hong Kong, Singapour, Kuala Lumpur, and other parts of the world are, but its cultural heritage does not make it a western country in the common sense of the term. However, this is a pointless discussion. Why would we want Japan to be anything else than what it is (good and bad). But then, the more relevant question would probably be "what is western to you?" Until we resolve that question asking anyone whether they think if such and such a country is western and such and such a country isn't is moot.

Maciamo
May 25, 2003, 00:45
Knowing the definition of "westernness" is also the point of the discussion. If there was a clear answer to whether Japan was a Western country or not, why should I have started the debate ?

Look at modern Japan's system (politics, economics..), pop culture, and even language - it's full of English terms. If ethny and geography isn't vital to westerness, then Japan could be considered as Western, because I believe that culturally, there is as much differenec between a Finn and an Italian, a Scot and a Greek or a Latvian and a French person than between, say, a Japanese and an Italian - very similar in mentality on more points than you could imagine ; Japanese even sometimes call themselves the Italians of Asia, and I understand it for having lived in both countries.

Now I am going to try to convince you of how similar Japanese and Italian mentalities are, and you tell me who is more similar to the Japanese, the Italian, the American or, for instance, the Swedish.

In both Japan and Italy :
- Children often live with their parents till their 30's and it's not unusual for them to continue to live with the family after marriage.
- Women traditionally stay at home after marriage and spoil their children (both Italian and Japanese mums are famous for that)
- Food is one of the most important thing and is a common discussion topic.
- Both Italians and Japanese are very sociable and care a lot about others well-being and confort.
- the Mafia and the Yakuza :D
- Both countries are long, narrow, mountainous, vlocanic, earthquake-ridden, close to the sea, enjoy a warm climate, have a lot of regional dialects and a rich history, which influence the culture and national awareness.
- Both countries are very chauvinistic in both sense of the term (towards women and in the patriotic sense)
- Both countries have suffered facism in the same pre-WWII period.


Economically and politically, they might be very different, but that's not the point, as we were talking of "cultural" or "historical" similarities.

tasuki
May 25, 2003, 08:56
Look, this is getting somewhat tiresome. I don't need any convincing--I agree with you . But in the end, we don't agree on one thing and that's what it means to be "western" . Define to me in clear, scientific terms what makes a country or a person western, then we'll have a common basis for comparison. Until then, as I said last night, this conversation is moot. Yes, Italy and Japan have many similarities, but they have more differences than, say, Italy and France. Yes, the United States and Japan have numerous similarities, but the States have more in common with England than with Japan in term of way of life, history, ethinicity, etc. I think that's what's usually implied when categorizing western and non-western countries. The determining factor is the relative amount of shared roots. Asian countries, for all their westerness, share common ancestry, wars, bad blood, and more. Same goes for Western Europe and North America. Anyway, as I said, until we derive an exact definition of what it means to be western, we're just wasting good online time.

Now if we were talking about "industrialized" countries, we wouldn't have this problem, because you can quantify industrialization. How can one quantify westerness and how would one go about doing it? But that would bring us back to the same problem--why western and western from America, England, Finland, where? You talk about Japan being western and compare it with Italy to do so. But the fact is if the traits of "western" countries are shared by so many countries, which makes them western, then those traits are no longer western because they're shared by countries around the world that are not west of anything and west of everything. So basically, you're reasoning is circular, don't you think? As an example, let's consider the myth of American English being the common language for communication around the world. In fact, there are at present more people around the world that speak English as a second language than people that speak it as a first. Can it then still be reasonably be called "American"? "Western" is an atrociously old and outdated concept and we should strive to do away with it.

tasuki
May 26, 2003, 09:42
I gave it a little more thought yesterday and realized that western countries all share common customs. I don't know why I didn't think about it before, but I realized it may be the most important factor in ascertaining whether a country is western or not.

Western European countries (core western countries) have developed perticular customs and traditions that were spread to certain parts of the world during their expansionist period (16th and 17th centuries) and later became dominant with the rise of the "American Empire". Of course these customs have gained regional flavouring over the centuries, but the basics remain. Western countries are, generally speaking, Christian (I'm being intentionally vague to include all sub-cults of Christianity). We all pretty much eat the same, i.e. animal meat is the main source of protein and potatoes one of the main veggies. All the western languages stem from basically the same roots and are all interlinked at some point, even the Scandinavian languages.

Westernized countries like Japan have adopted those customs and traditions, and adapted them to the local realities, as opposed to growing into them. That, in my opinion, is the key factor in denying the status of western country to Japan. Would you call Canada an Asian country if overnight all Canadians adopted the Chinese way of life? I don't think so. In more human terms, take a newly arrived immigrant (any nationality; let's say Pakistani) to, let's say, England and compare him/her to a first generation British-Pakistani. Although they share the same roots, the new immigrant has to adopt British customs, but he/she can't stop being Pakistani. On the other hand, the first generation British-Pakistani grew into British customs from birth, so he/she is now part of the whole "western" pack. One generation is all it takes. So African-Americans or Asian-Americans are as American as apple pie (pardon the cliche), but my wife is never going to stop being Japanese when we move to Canada.

So I guess in that sense there are a lot more western countries than I originally thought... Sure, Japan has been westerninzed for generations and most Japanese don't know any other way of life, but there are still myriad traditions, customs, philosophies, even as daily a thing as eating rice, that you can't find anywhere in the western world, but can find readily in the Asian world, clearly making it a highly westernized yet Asian country. In my book.

Maciamo
May 26, 2003, 11:17
I'll really have to disagree with you on this.


Western countries are, generally speaking, Christian (I'm being intentionally vague to include all sub-cults of Christianity). We all pretty much eat the same, i.e. animal meat is the main source of protein and potatoes one of the main veggies. All the western languages stem from basically the same roots and are all interlinked at some point, even the Scandinavian languages.


You are mixing elements of the past and present and oversimplifying the diversity of Europe.

@religion
You are right about Christianity, but I am not Christian and most younger Europeans cannot really claim being "real" Christians anymore (the situation is very different in the US, except for 5% of Atheist, a few Muslim, Buddhist, etc.). If Westerness starts with Ancient Greece and Rome, than Christianity is not important. It's maybe more the systematical use "reason" (in philosophy, sciences, theology, etc.) that caracterise best Western civilization. In any case, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Celts, till Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and a lot of modern Europeans aren't/weren't Christian, but surely were Western.

@food
Food has evolved a lot over the centuries. Actually, the potatoes that your are citing first came from America. There were no potatoes, tomatoes or tobacco (the 3 "o" words) in Europe before the 16th century and potatoes took a long time to take off and be included in everyday diet. At first, people fed farm animals with them but didn't consume any. Not unitil the 18th century did it become an important nutriment.
Pre-Renaissance Italians couldn't have eaten tomato-sauce pasta, as there were neither tomatoes, nor pasta (originally from China) at that time.

Nowadays Europeans's diet is even more varied than that of Asians from Japan to India. I have been about everywhere in Europe and have lived in England, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain (and now France very well as a French speaker) and I can tell you that not only each country's but each region's food is amazingly diverse, especially when compared to Japan or India, where the food is pretty much the same everywhere (well, you could divide India in North, South and East, but compared to its size, it's amazingly homogeneous by European standard).

You also claim that European diet is richer in meat. In the middle ages and modern times till as late as the 18-19th century (depending where) most ordinary people could only afford to eat meat on special occassions, then more recently on Sundays, then several times a week and eventually everyday. Africans have probably been more of meat-eaters than Europeans thoughout the history. Chinese people have always been famous for eating anything that moves (even scorpions, jellyfish, dogs...). Lot's of native North-American tribes were (bison-)hunters and some didn't do any farming at all, so relying also heavily on animal matter.
In Europe, people living near the sea naturally eat more fish than meat (in Scandinavia, Celtic regions, etc). Rice is grown in Italy. Modern Mediterranean cuisine (olive oil, seafood, vegetables...) is radically different of the German one (a lot of pork, potatoes...).

@languages
It is true that European languages share common roots, but there are notable exceptions. You couldn't descredit Basques, Hungarians or Finns for not being Westerners because their language is not part of the Indo-European group at all. Then, I don't know if you've had the opportunity to read or hear Celtic languages (Welsh, Irish, Sottish or Breton Gaelic...), but not a single word seem to be similar to Latin or Germanic languages (not even country names or basic expression ; England is "Loegr" in Welsh, "hello" is "sut mae" !).

Shall we include Iranians (Persians) and Northern Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi in the Western group because their language is more related to English, French or German than Hungarian, Estonian or Basque are ? BTW, Hungarian (Magyar) and Finnish (Suomi) are part of the same group of language as Turkish, Mongol, Korean and Japanese (Ural-Altaic group) ! They are also Central Asian in origin. So I don't think language is determinant to Westerness either. It's not because Singaporian speak English and 20 million Indian (in India, not abroad) have English as their mother tongue that it makes them more or less Western than other Asians or Indians. Or does it ?

tasuki
May 26, 2003, 12:22
OK. Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. But I think you're missing the point because we're not trying to establish the diversity of Europe, but rather to determine whether Japan is a western country.


You are mixing elements of the past and present and oversimplifying the diversity of Europe.

Well, the concept of a "western country" is by its implication a gross oversimplification, so don't you feel it's normal to generalize to be able to define it? It's the scientific method. At least it was when I was in school... If not, as you say, we'll be going back to creation to define it and find that we're all related and that there's no real point in trying to categorize the world like that anyway... Besides, the concept itself is fairly recent, so we can't go back to creation to explain it. At best, we can go back to the conditions that saw it's birth, which I would place between the 16th and 19th century. I'm just guessing here, though.


@religion

I have to agree with you there, but the fact remains that Christianity was a unifying force in the Western world and that it still remains, if only statistically the religion of most western Europeans and North Americans at present. It isn't so for the Middle East or Asia. As for Japan, despite the small pockets of it here, Christianity just didn't take root here.


@food

Also have to agree. But the patatoe became one of the main vegetables for a lot of European countries (I mean the potatoe famine in Ireland...) from its introduction. If you can't recognize that, then you're the one making an underestimation. One of Japan's main vegetables is the bean. Major difference from a lot of western countries.


Nowadays Europeans's diet is even more varied than that of Asians from Japan to India. I have been about everywhere in Europe and have lived in England, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain (and now France very well as a French speaker) and I can tell you that not only each country's but each region's food is amazingly diverse, especially when compared to Japan or India, where the food is pretty much the same everywhere (well, you could divide India in North, South and East, but compared to its size, it's amazingly homogeneous by European standard).

But that's the case almost everywhere. Even here in such a small country as Japan while still pretty homogenous, the variety from one region to the next can still be stunning. But you can't demistify a general concept like "western" with specifics. "western" is too broad for that. But there are common threads to European diet and that's what I was implying.

As for meat, the same general assesment applies as above, you're being too specific. At some times people ate meat only if they could afford it. Granted. But when they could, they ate meat, not fish. Big difference from Japan. Before meat cooking was introduced in Japan, there was next to not meat eating custom. (I do say NEXT to none, NOT none). By the way, as far as I know, bison is not a fish...


@languages
Yes, I've had a chance to study Celtic languages. I haven't had a chance to study their roots, though but I always thought that they were related to Norse and other Scandinavian languages... I may be wrong, though.


Iranians (Persians) and Northern Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi
Of course not. You're being too specific again. Their religious and cutltural backgrounds are completely too different from what is usually considered western. It's the combination of all or most of the aspects that we've been discussing here that make countries western, not just one...


Hungarian (Magyar) and Finnish (Suomi) are part of the same group of language as Turkish, Mongol, Korean and Japanese (Ural-Altaic group) !

Again being overspecific. Hungarians and Fins share more culturally and historically with Europe than with the Asian lot, despite their liguistic roots.


It's not because Singaporian speak English and 20 million Indian (in India, not abroad) have English as their mother tongue that it makes them more or less Western than other Asians or Indians. Or does it ?

Eh? I didn't quite catch the point there. I sort of think you're making my point for me by saying that, but I'm afraid it's a bit too convoluted.

Anyway, I still think that to explain the broad overgeneralisation that is "western" as a concept, you can't go knit-picking every detail about every culture in the world, you have to keep a broad approach. While I agree with you on most points, as a whole western countries have developed several common, general traits, amongst which are a unifying religion, similar customs (building, living, eating, sleeping, doing business, etc.), closely-related languages, common history over a prolonged period of time, to a certain extent morphology, and the list goes on. It's the combination of all or most of these factors that spawned the concept of western people and countries (to make a point a concept that I loathe for an oversimplification, oversimplication that Maciamo-san makes an EXCELLENT point of proving). However, while Japan may have adopted a lot of western traits, they are still adopted traits and can't be traced back more than a couple hundred years, if even. Japan shares more linguistically (as you've eloquently presented on a different thread) with other Asian countries, its dietary traditions and customs are different from that of western countries and more closely related to that of other Asian countries, Japanese morphology is similar to other Asian countries, so who could mistake Japan for anything BUT an Asian country?

senseiman
Jun 25, 2003, 01:08
Japan is not a western country. Western countries are those with common historical and cultural roots springing from Roman civilization. Christianity, the Roman alphabet, our languages, our scientific and philosophical traditions all spring from that one source. With Japan and many other Asian countries, the root of their culture, religion, science, philosophy and language is in China. They are completely seperate.

If you are talking about Japan's modern economic and political make up, it would be more accurate to call it a northern country rather than a western country.

Maciamo
Jun 25, 2003, 10:31
Originally posted by senseiman
Japan is not a western country. Western countries are those with common historical and cultural roots springing from Roman civilization. Christianity, the Roman alphabet, our languages, our scientific and philosophical traditions all spring from that one source.

So are Turkey, Israel or Syria Western countries because they were part of the Roman Empire, have a long Christian history (and still some Christians amomg the Muslim and Jewish now), have inherited Greek science and philosophy with the rest of the Arabic world, etc. The Roman alphabte is not a good argument, as Greek or Russia have their own alphabets, eventhough they are undeniably Western (Greece is even the fundament of Westerness), but countries like Indonesia (and all African languages if I ain't wrong) use the Roman alphabet. As forlanguages, I remind you that Magyar (Hungarian) and Suomi (Finnish) are actually related to Mongo, Koreanl and Japanese and Basque isn't a European language either. But I am sure you don't discuss their Westernness...



If you are talking about Japan's modern economic and political make up, it would be more accurate to call it a northern country rather than a western country.

Northern ? compared to Australia ? Check your world map, Japan is at the same latitude as the South of Europe and Northern Africa. Hokkaido (not really Japan...) is at the latitude of Northern Italy, Tokyo would be in Tangier (Morocco), Kyushu in the middle of Morocco (or Iraq) and Okinawa in the Sahara. Hardly a Northern country... I guess you could just say industrialsied, but so is North Korea (after all they have nuclear power and heavy industries), which doesn't means thery are developed in other fields or democratic.

senseiman
Jun 25, 2003, 16:48
Actually, middle eastern countries like Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Egypt were part of the same mediteranean civilization as Europe in ancient times. They were conquered or had relations with the Roman empire and it was through the work of Arab scholars in Baghdad that Europe learned of the works of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers whose knowledge had been lost for some time during the dark ages. Obviously there are deep religious, economic and political differences between Europe and the Arab world today, but historically and culturally speaking they have much more in common with each other than they do with Japan.

When I said Japan was a northern country I was referring to the great economic divide between the countries of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere. Of course it isn't as if the wealth comes to a dead stop at the equator and everyone in the south is poor, I thought that was obvious enough that I didn't need to elaborate, my apologies. Rich countries like Australia and New Zealand are also to be found in the south, while some poor countries like North Korea are in the north. It is a generalization, not meant to have any exact geographical corroboration.

But Japan, like western Europe and North America has never been colonized. It has a powerful economy that isn't totally beholden to the whims of foreign capital like most Southern countries are. It is a constitutional democracy. It has a strong social safety net. Its citizens do not have to deal with war and violence on an everyday basis. These are the factors, shared by most (but not all) northern countries that make Japan similar to Europe and North America. Culturally and historically speaking, they are worlds apart which is why I don't consider Japan to be a western country.

Maciamo
Jun 25, 2003, 17:51
@Mediteranean civilization

By the way, Most of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe wasn't part of the Roman Empire, nor was it nearly related to Mediterranean culture. Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons used runic alphabet, not the Roman one. They didn't have philosophical or political tradition such as Greece and Rome.


When I said Japan was a northern country I was referring to the great economic divide between the countries of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.

It is more that a generalisation, it's near ridiculous. :sorry: Most of the world's poverty can be found in the Northern hemisphere, just because about 4/5 of the people live there. Even with that, the Southern hemisphere lives well in comparison. In Latin America, the richest countries are in the South (Argentina, urugay, Chile) and in Brazil, which is divided, the South is again much richer than the North. In Africa, there is not much difference on either side of the equator, except for South Africa, which is richer. In Asia and Oceania, poor peolpe can be found everywhere from Central Asia, China, India and South East Asia. Indonesia is divided by the equator, but it's wealthiest regions (Java, Bali...) are in the Southern Hemisphere. As for Oceania, it isn't poor at all.


But Japan, like western Europe and North America has never been colonized.

Hmm ! If North America had never been colonised, English and French would not be spoken there and it certainly wouldn't be a dominantly white and Christian country !
Japan hasn't been colonised, but neither have Thailand or Ethiopia, which doesn't make them more similar in any ways to Western countries. Moreover, we could consider the post WWII American occupation of Japan (that last till now in Okinawa) as a form of colonialism, in view of the fact that Japanese have inherited their political system, modern industry and thousands of loans words from it.


It has a strong social safety net.

Yes but Americans don't. So what ?


Its citizens do not have to deal with war and violence on an everyday basis.

But Americans do. Anyway war has never been a factor to judge a nation's Westernness. All countries on earth have their fair share of wars in history. Lots of poorer countries are virtually war free : Bolivia/Peru, some african Countries like Senegal, Mali, Mauritania..., Banglasdesh, Mongolia, and so on.

senseiman
Jun 26, 2003, 00:00
I'm not sure what point you are trying to get across, maciamo, but if we are just debating for debates sake, I'm game.

Of course not all of Europe was part of the Roman empire. Again, it is a generalization. And while there may have been different alphabets in the north in ancient times, there aren't now. They use the Roman alphabet, and Arab numerals.

I'm not just making up this north/south rubric, its common in just about all contemporary literature on development issues. If you are going to be so picky, I will amend what I said to "rich" countries and "poor" countries to make things easier for you. Now, can get on to matters more worth discussing?

Of course North America was colonized by Europeans, but North American society today is directly descended from those Europeans and not the Natives they colonized. So, again, let me alter what I said to "American society that is descended from European colonists has never been colonized, while the less than 1% of America today that is of native descent has suffered the horrors of colonialism".

If you insist on splitting hairs I might like to point out that Ethiopia did in fact spend several years being run by Italian fascists, and was torn apart by a civil war instigated by the two cold war powers in the 1970s so it has in fact suffered the negative effects of outside domination.

Your point about the American occupation of Japan is well taken though. Japan did have a foreign power running the show for seven years and that did have a big impact. However, that rule was short lived, and the Americans didn't make off with all of Japan's resources like other colonial powers did in their domains. In fact, they tried to remodel Japan's political and economic system on an AMerican style model, which goes to support my original contention that Japan is only similar to other "rich" countries in those respects.

Also, your points about America having no social safety net to speak of and being a dangerous place to live are pretty good. But those are by the standards of "rich" countries, not the rest of the world. Compared to Afghanistan or Central Africa I'm sure American society holds up pretty well, even if you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with a favourable comparison.

Anyway, to get back to the original point of this thread. I think Japan is similar to the west in terms of its economic power and political system, but very different from it in cultural and historic terms. Hence I felt the use of the term "northern" country was more correct, but you objected to that term on the basis that not all northern countries are like Japan, Europe and America. So I've changed my terminology to "rich" countries, so now I guess we agree, unless you disagree. This is getting horrendously confusing.

Haivart
Jul 6, 2003, 20:54
It's a mixture, mainly Western in the political/economic area, and mainly "East Asian" in others. I'm reading "The history of Japan" by Louis Perez at the moment, and it's amazing how fast and well Japan learned from the West.

doudesuka
Aug 19, 2003, 07:04
I like Jeisan's simple definition.
They don't have western mentality. Just because they are industrialized doesn't make them western.
They just try to take on the western mentality when it fits the occasion. They are purely Eastern.

Gaki
Sep 25, 2003, 04:32
My View :

Reflected
Sep 25, 2003, 23:58
Japan is an Asian country but politically, technologically and socially belongs to the Western World. The cultural gap between the japanese and their asian neighbours is greater than between them and the West. Most Japanese have grown up with American pop culture alongside the japanese. Many Japanese, especially the younger generations embrace more and more Western values, many even give their children western names. The older generation is more traditional. I don't know if we can call Japan a Western country, it is confusing a bit because we tend to associate advanced nations with the West. I would rather say it is an advanced Asian country, influenced heavily by the West.

silver angel
Sep 27, 2003, 06:20
I think that the pop culture is Werstern, but not as much as it used to be. And what I mean by that is the influence that the US used to have on Japan. Clothing, foods (Mc Donalds), and music. Although from what I see now, Japan is going back to it's roots. Overall Japan is Eastern. n_n

Gaki
Sep 27, 2003, 08:43
Japan is a developed country not a Western one.

Maciamo
May 14, 2004, 09:44
The longer I stay in Japan and the more I realize how un-western the country still is for issues such as marriage, work, basic life values, politics, teen prostitution, openness to sex (magazines in combini...), lack of moral reflection, lack of debate, etc.

fugue
May 14, 2004, 11:11
Actually, the so called "western" and "eastern" countries was actually differentiated racially. Just see, as long as it is a country with white in charge, this is a western country. If the country is with blacks or yellows in charge, it will be an eastern country. THis is the view of the whole world.
You hit the bull's eye.

Golgo_13
May 14, 2004, 11:26
The longer I stay in Japan and the more I realize how un-western the country still is for issues such as marriage, work, basic life values, politics, teen prostitution, openness to sex (magazines in combini...), lack of moral reflection, lack of debate, etc.

Again, the only ones who are complaining about Japan aren't even Japanese.

Magazines in Konbini? You pick up the raunchiest magazine you can find in Japan and bring it to the U.S. and compare it to Penthouse. Penthouse is now a totally smut magazine.

Who ever said Japan has to be "Western" anyway. If the people are happy with the way they are, who has any right to dictate how tey should be any more than if the Japanese came into your own country and complained how awful your country is.

Maciamo
May 14, 2004, 22:40
Again, the only ones who are complaining about Japan aren't even Japanese.

Who ever said Japan has to be "Western" anyway. If the people are happy with the way they are, who has any right to dictate how tey should be any more than if the Japanese came into your own country and complained how awful your country is.

Did I complain ? Just noticing differences.

Lina Inverse
May 14, 2004, 23:20
Japan is clearly NO Western country. "Western" means the opposite from "Eastern", which in turn refers to the Asian countries (Japan, China etc.).
"Western" refers to populations from the northern half of the Eurasian continent, and to North-American populations.
"Eastern" refers to populations from the Asian contries (southern half of the Eurasian continent).
Populations from Africa and South-America are neither Western nor Eastern, but Southern populations (more frequently also called "3rd-world-countries").

chiquiliquis
May 15, 2004, 14:43
...Populations from Africa and South-America are neither Western nor Eastern, but Southern populations (more frequently also called "3rd-world-countries").

Please be sure to run that by someone from Africa or South America... you might be surprised at what you hear in response....



Quote:
Originally Posted by hua he

Actually, the so called "western" and "eastern" countries was actually differentiated racially. Just see, as long as it is a country with white in charge, this is a western country. If the country is with blacks or yellows in charge, it will be an eastern country. THis is the view of the whole world.

You hit the bull's eye.

... Hua He left out a group (or groups?); there are more people in this world than "whites" "blacks" and "yellows". And while this statement is somewhat true, I think it is slippery.

Why again is it important (necessary?) to be able to call people "eastern" or "western"... ?

This is certainly an interesting thread :v:

yimija
May 15, 2004, 18:49
[QUOTE=Maciamo]
Bolivia and Peru are composed of more than 50% Quechua (former Inca kingdom) and still speak Quechua.


Very good thread Maciamo, obviously lot of researches, and I'll would allow me just a small rectification if I may, mainly because I'm here today and very much concerned with it :

Quechuans are not a race but rather what is called an "ethno-linguistic familly" of about 7 millions in Peru alone. Quechuans are of different origines (some, yes from Incas, but also from the Chavin, Nazcas, Chimos a.s.o). It is like, if you want a comparison, all french speaking people. You'll have differents ethnic groups such as european, africans, oceanians, etc.
It may seems terribly futile to mention it, but I know that they would want it that way. Just like a Quebecois is not quiet a canadian and a Romand not quiet a swiss...

Now to the question is Japan a western country ? I'll only wish that Japan (as well a china, Korea a.o.) will always keep it's traditions and not burry them under tons of hamburgers, GMO, and whatever western "civilized countries" might bring. Japan has a real identity, known around the world as such, and that should stay. Let's hope that the politics will be able to wage wisely between "occidentalization" and respect of it's own civilization.

aaronmcgrath
May 16, 2004, 00:35
Of course geographically it is...but its not really.
It is very mush so influenced by America.
of course it has japanese traditions and etc, but its not like other asian countries.

yimija
May 16, 2004, 14:01
Why again is it important (necessary?) to be able to call people "eastern" or "western"... ?

This is certainly an interesting thread :v:

I agree with both sentences. It's an interesting thread well brought up by Maciamo. Thanks.

As for wether we are westerners or esterners will specifically depend wher you stand and wether you are facing north or south ...
Well it was intended as a joke, (and not as a stupid statement) just to shift the emphasis from a mere statement to a reality. It's just used by "whoever give some information" to sort of localize physically and geographically the subject. But since we always pick up what the Europeans say, we, in Asia, have been call the "easterner" .

It's just a name, not an insult or injurious name. It was not meant to be anyway. So let's keep it at that.

The main question asked in fact meant : Is Japan becomming too much of a "Europeanised and Americanized" country. And that somehow wouold b a shame, somewher (as I mentionned earlier)

chiquiliquis
May 16, 2004, 19:28
It's just used by "whoever give some information" to sort of localize physically and geographically the subject.

I agree :p



The main question asked in fact meant : Is Japan becomming too much of a "Europeanised and Americanized" country. And that somehow wouold b a shame, somewher (as I mentionned earlier)

I see...

So:
What are the standards we use to measure cultural change, in terms of quality? IE: is it fair (a good idea/acceptable) to measure today's "Europeanised and Americanised" (a.k.a: "Globalised") Japan in terms of it's past alone? Do we use other standards, and what are they (if any)?

This isn't necessarily a question solely for Yimija, but something I am just throwing out... If it has alreadey been answered elsewhere in the thread, :sorry: "gomen"... but this thread is getting long, and I came in late... I admit to skimming a bit.

yimija
May 16, 2004, 19:53
What are the standards we use to measure cultural change, in terms of quality? IE: is it fair (a good idea/acceptable) to measure today's "Europeanised and Americanised" (a.k.a: "Globalised") Japan in terms of it's past alone? Do we use other standards, and what are they (if any)?

This isn't necessarily a question solely for Yimija, but something I am just throwing out... If it has alreadey been answered elsewhere in the thread, :sorry: "gomen"... but this thread is getting long, and I came in late... I admit to skimming a bit.

Sorry, I just do not completely agree with the term "globalization", simply because, if you look in a dictionnary, it means roughly "putting everything on the same level" and the actual globalization tend to skip and put apart all the poor countries, the so called 3rd world and the non "interresting-commercially" countries.

Like for exemple : Irak is completely part of globalization because it has billions of $$ worth of petrol, so we care about killing there, but Rwanda is a "non-interresting-commercially" country and so we dont give a..XXXXX (wont say the word) about the ethnic massacres, killing hundreds of thousands of people. So I believe (in fact I'm certain) globalization is a product for the riches, invented by the riches. So let's keep it "western, eastern, northern and southern" and we might know what we are talking about.

and dot worry about skimming, we all do it when it comes to a long thread.

Maciamo
May 16, 2004, 20:04
Japan is clearly NO Western country. "Western" means the opposite from "Eastern", which in turn refers to the Asian countries (Japan, China etc.).
"Western" refers to populations from the northern half of the Eurasian continent, and to North-American populations.


So is Russian an Eastern countries, as it is clearly more East than Europe ? If not what about Turkey, Israel ? Is Morroco a Western countries because it is next to Western Europe ?



Populations from Africa and South-America are neither Western nor Eastern, but Southern populations (more frequently also called "3rd-world-countries").

Are you saying that Chile and Argentina (90% of pure European descent) are not Western countries ?

yimija
May 16, 2004, 20:19
So is Russian an Eastern countries, as it is clearly more East than Europe ? If not what about Turkey, Israel ? Is Morroco a Western countries because it is next to Western Europe ?

Yes good remark, Maciamo ! As time goes by and that continents shifts in extremely slow motion, the countries that are built on those continents will have a tendency to move extremely fast from "east to west", strangely enough !!! Ima-Sumac only knows where Israel and Turkey stand, especially if you compare them with the Palestinian country...



Are you saying that Chile and Argentina (90% of pure European descent) are not Western countries ?

Unfortunately, they are not considered as western countries, and that is all the "funny" (i should say bizarre) part of it since that they are, geographically, just as much "west" as US & Canada. Africa is about the same as Europe and they are not not considered western.


Somewhere, and it's far from being a conclusion, it make me sick that we have to adopt a system in which we now are forced to give graduate "appreciation" of one's location and one's "wealth-by-location". I'm an optimistic person and I hope it will change. But I wont be here to see it. I'm planning a trip back home to Venus...

chiquiliquis
May 16, 2004, 22:36
NOTE: long reply with not a lot of mention of Japan... but I'm hoping in the end it will be pertinent.

and so:


Sorry, I just do not completely agree with the term "globalization", simply because, if you look in a dictionnary, it means roughly "putting everything on the same level" and the actual globalization tend to skip and put apart all the poor countries, the so called 3rd world and the non "interresting-commercially" countries.


OK... I think I follow you...



Like for exemple : Irak is completely part of globalization because it has billions of $$ worth of petrol, so we care about killing there, but Rwanda is a "non-interresting-commercially" country and so we dont give a..XXXXX (wont say the word) about the ethnic massacres, killing hundreds of thousands of people.


I can see your point here... but I think it is slippery. Ever been to Colombia? Plenty of oil (British Petrol, Occidental etc..) like Iraq... .... also, like Iraq... not the most stable source of oil (a lot of civil unrest).

And like Rwanda, a whole lot of killings... paramilitary death squads, government corruption... Interesting fact: Colombia has the worlds third largest displaced population (after Chad and Angola? Don't quote me on those..). At least last time I checked--prolly 2002.

I'll give five dollars to the first person here who remembers the Florida case where Coca Cola was brought up on accusations of using Colombian paramilitaries to murder unionists. That one never made front page here at home... How many people here can name just one of the (USDS recognized) terrorist groups in Colombia... How many can name two? Three? (Congrats... if you named all three, you ought to consider employment with the U.S. Dept. of State :cool: ).

That emerald in the ring you bought wifey? Good chance it came from Colombia. That coffee you're drinking? Good chance it came from Colombia. That gas you just put in your car? Good chance some of it came from Colombia.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but Average-Joe-American (stopping at BP for gas, with a cup of coffee in his hand) knows nothing about the Mapiripan Masacre (30 people in a small village dismembered one by one with a chainsaw in a local slaughterhouse, with the cooperation of the Colombian National Military--the same military we throw millions upon millions of US tax dollars at to take care of "our" drug problem).

I'm hoping you see my point... lots of "commercial interest", very little "awareness".



So I believe (in fact I'm certain) globalization is a product for the riches, invented by the riches.


I'm largely with you here...

But, I don't really see the point of all this.

I think what you may be trying to say is that there is a problem with the way we define Globalization: It's not really global (since it has/wants nothing to do with the third world--Colombia being an exception).

I see it thus: Japan, is NOT a third world country. The question is still valid as it pertains to Japan. While I would still pose the question to Colombia today... I will not pose it to Rwanda, as I know very little about Rwanda... and am largely inclined to agree with your objection to the definition of "globalization" (regardless).

Here is the question once more:

What are the standards we use to measure cultural change, in terms of quality? IE: is it fair (a good idea/acceptable) to measure today's "Europeanised and Americanised" (a.k.a: "Globalised") Japan in terms of it's past alone? Do we use other standards, and what are they (if any)?


And, lastly, I would put this to you: If you insist on pulling "Globalization" out of the discussion... please give me an example of a country that is being "Americanized and Europeanized" without being Globalized.

Americanized, and Europeanized.... I take these to be dynamic terms involving more than just "customs" and "traditions", but economic and political philosophies as well. These are not just labels and categories... these are things that have been described as "wiping out" cultures--replacing them with MacDonald's, Coca Cola, Democracy, Christianity (?)... I believe these are the charges that have been made.


But then... no globalization in Rwanda yet? They can drink Coca Cola, can't they... just wait.

yimija
May 17, 2004, 20:35
NOTE: long reply with not a lot of mention of Japan... but
I'm hoping in the end it will be pertinent..

Yes it's pertinent, and although we might have different point of views and perception (or way to speak about it) we are basically not completely wrong and not completely right.

It's an intricate situation and there will be as many different ways of seeing or explaining it as there are different people to talk about....

But I thoroughly enjoyed reading you, so I say thank you.
If I have a little more time, i'l come back to it, but now for the comming week, it seems a bit difficult. we'll see what others will have to say.

chiquiliquis
May 17, 2004, 23:14
...It's an intricate situation and there will be as many different ways of seeing or explaining it as there are different people to talk about....


... Amen to that :-)



...But I thoroughly enjoyed reading you, so I say thank you...


And thank you for showing yourself to be both a careful reader and a careful thinker :cool: :victory:

If you do find the time to get back to this thread, I'll be looking forward to further hearing what you have to say.

yimija
May 17, 2004, 23:53
... Amen to that :-)



And thank you for showing yourself to be both a careful reader and a careful thinker :cool: :victory:

If you do find the time to get back to this thread, I'll be looking forward to further hearing what you have to say.
A thinker, yes, careful... I don't knos.. Have too many times in trouble speakin too fast... and telling it like it is...

Yes, I'll be back, and I'm allready all over this forum... in all kind of directions and subjects... LOL
see you around

Golgo_13
May 18, 2004, 05:16
What's the point of all this?


Japan is not a Western nation, but it's nation that has been "westernized" in the past 150 years.

yimija
May 18, 2004, 13:09
What's the point of all this?


Japan is not a Western nation, but it's nation that has been "westernized" in the past 150 years.

yes I think everyone agree with you
but you don't say if you like it or not
(you'll probably answer that there is nothing you can do about it, no ?

Golgo_13
May 19, 2004, 05:19
yes I think everyone agree with you
but you don't say if you like it or not
(you'll probably answer that there is nothing you can do about it, no ?

I like it that Japan has become a modern, industrially and technologically advanced nation.

I don't like it that this has put a strain on people's lives, e.g. stress, poor health habits, pollution, extinction of wild animals (there have been wolves and wildcats until the end of 19the century; there are very few bears left), etc.

But overall, positives far outweigh the negatives, and yes, there's nothing I can do about it, and I'm not bitching about it.

yimija
May 19, 2004, 12:58
I like it that Japan has become a modern, industrially and technologically advanced nation.

I don't like it that this has put a strain on people's lives, e.g. stress, poor health habits, pollution, extinction of wild animals (there have been wolves and wildcats until the end of 19the century; there are very few bears left), etc.

But overall, positives far outweigh the negatives, and yes, there's nothing I can do about it, and I'm not bitching about it.

yes, good, I agree that we can be proud of the technological and industrial state of Japan.

yes, this success have negative sides, and you mention some of them, important ones.

I'm not sure that positive outweight negative, it depends in which situations and of course there is not much we can do, progress goes too fast for little one as we are can catch up with and try to stop...

aaltunn
May 20, 2004, 12:40
What's the point of all this?


Japan is not a Western nation, but it's nation that has been "westernized" in the past 150 years.

hi...
expedition to the unknown c.asia vol.1-2 (sven hedin??) :scientists all over europe examines newly discovered material at uygur territories discussing being modern...they met several archaeologists from japan (ealy1900's).Euros sure about that japan is successful at that time because of using west tech.nics.there is a great hegemony about west that no alternative way exists.Japan has been westernized but without dropping out own morals totally.
they say that people never believed in marco polo because such stories about greater civilisations is impossible nor the equals...west is the chosen peoples lands forever... :worried:
so Tarzan is a white instead of being asian or anything else...

japan ,is among the west club housing east, has been westernized for 150 years.japan proves that alternative style of being modern exists. :wave:

(scientists try to discover how 'll they explain the words west/east/left/right those whom coming from far universe )

yimija
May 20, 2004, 14:08
so Tarzan is a white instead of being asian or anything else...

no, Tarzan is white because the story was written by a white writer, and was played by Johnny Weissmuller.
If a Japanes had written the story, Tarzan would be the descendant of a proud japanese warrior and a lovely geisha.

Golgo_13
May 21, 2004, 03:41
A Japanese male champion of the "Sasuke" competition would've made a great Tarzan -- swinging from vines.

http://www.tbs.co.jp/program/sasuke2004.html

yimija
May 21, 2004, 12:14
A Japanese male champion of the "Sasuke" competition would've made a great Tarzan -- swinging from vines.
not sure, but it's a good animation... :D

Golgo_13
May 21, 2004, 12:23
not sure, but it's a good animation... :D


"Sasuke" is not an animation. It's a real live competition.

yimija
May 21, 2004, 12:55
"Sasuke" is not an animation. It's a real live competition.
Oh, I think I knew that from the start.
Animation as per some dictionnaries :
3) Movement, liveliness, generally collective. To put the animation in a group.
2) ardor, ardor bet in an action,; vivacity. To discuss with animation.

Golgo_13
May 21, 2004, 13:03
Moushiwake nai. Gokai shimashita. "anime" ka to omoimashita.

But I really do think that a Sasuke winner would be a good Tarzan . . . or a Spiderman.

potatoe
Jun 1, 2004, 19:27
the current situation of where i live, (Britain)
makes Japan a western country, but whats the big deal about being a western country, does mean a big deal?

digicross
Jul 16, 2004, 17:05
Under the term used in the book, Japan is now part of Oceania, the same goes for Singapore.

China seems to be also more and more becoming part of Oceania, the same goes for Russia.

In the end, most of the world probably will come under Oceania rules. Interestingly, the final frontier seems to be in the South East Asian area.


Of course, in the book, Japan and China was part of Eastasia, while Europe and the former of Soviet Union was part of Eurasia, and Oceania basically has the largest portion of the three countries.

The equatorial area (with exception of the ones in or near the American continent) were rarely part of any of these countries.

http://www.crcs.k12.ny.us/hs/projects/litcrit/1984.htm

Wang
Jul 16, 2004, 17:56
Japan is not a western country. It has taken over some western stuff, but the core and most part of Japan is East Asian.

Gaki
Jul 17, 2004, 08:00
the current situation of where i live, (Britain)
makes Japan a western country, but whats the big deal about being a western country, does mean a big deal?

You what ? America is west of the UK. :okashii:
So maybe China and Korea are western as well, since they are in that direction as well. :D

Jean-Francois
Jul 17, 2004, 10:47
So maybe China and Korea are western as well, since they are in that direction as well.

I know you're kidding. China and Korea are never western.

Japan... difficult to say. Hmmm, don't you notice the western media like New York Times and the Economists don't really include Japan in Asia? It is always Japan and Asia. Not Japan of Asia.

Gaki
Jul 17, 2004, 17:13
I know you're kidding. China and Korea are never western.



Neither is Japan.

Sinspawne
Jul 18, 2004, 04:16
Tough question :? It does depend on how you see it.
Geographically, the earth is round so just spin it a bit and east becomes west lol (jk) :hihi:

When it comes to industrialisation. can it be more industrialised?
I've heard that Japan is building so much that the price of concrete reinforcement have gone up all over europe : )
Its on the front line in computer technology as well, and i believe japan uses more of the technology in dayly life than most western countries.

In my view the answer would be yes.. maybe..

Maciamo
Jul 18, 2004, 12:04
The more I look at Japan's deep-rooted culture, such as morals or social interractions, and the more I realise how very un-Western Japan is. But it is certainly one of those non-Western countries which has learned and adopted the most from the West in its lifestyle and politico-economic system.

Jean-Francois
Jul 18, 2004, 13:14
Neither is Japan.


Honestly, it is none of my business whether Japan is a western country or not.
But before (not as common nowadays), Chinese people referred Japanese as 東 洋 人 , Westerners of the East. So, if western is a relative term, then Japan is a Western country (the most westernized? more westernized than those Chinese people who called Japan 東 洋 ) in East Asia. (^_^)

Hidetoshi
Jul 23, 2004, 17:25
Hi, everyone

It's really an interesting topic. But in the post-war period (50s - 60s), many Japanese scholars had dicussed to argue that Japan is a Western or Eastern nation. Among them, perhaps Umesao Tadao is one the most famous scholars. He wrote a book named "An Ecological View of History (Japanese Civilization in the World Context)" in Japanese language (Chuo Koron Publishing) (and has just been translated into English currently, 2002, if I remember exactly). From his perspection, he saw the The Old World as an elliptic diagram and divided The Old World into 2 Zones. The first one has 2 part, the western-most and eastern-most of the ellipe, namely Western Europe and Japan, are similar in ecological conditions and developing progress, and the second one located in the center, namely the 4 world of China, India, Russia and Islamic-Mediterranean and its satellite countries in Umesao's view.
From this point of view, we may see lots of things interesting and this book was ranked among the top 10 books that influenced Japanese after WWII (the 4th).

Golgo_13
Jul 24, 2004, 03:54
How about this:

Japan doesn't have to be anything but itself.

King of Tokyo
Jul 26, 2004, 14:03
How about this:

Japan doesn't have to be anything but itself.

I'll kanpai to that :beer: lol

Golgo_13
Jul 27, 2004, 03:14
I'll kanpai to that :beer: lol


Kanpai !!!! :beer:

Ogumo
Jul 27, 2004, 05:02
Japan is a eastern nation with far too many western elements for it's own good.

TwistedMac
Jul 27, 2004, 08:07
says you! :D :D

Gackt_Camui
Jul 28, 2004, 07:42
Of course, it all depends on what we call "Western". There are several definitions.

First, the geographical opposition between Europe and Asia, but that alone has turned out to be a too simple definition, as Australia or New Zealand are more East than Asia, but definitely Western. So is it a cultural or ethnic distinction rather purely geographical ?

Secondly, Western used to refer to the Capitalist world during the cold war. The East-West opposition was especially valid for Europe, but on a global point of view, America the NATO countries laid West, while the communist world (not only the USSR, but also China and North Korea) laid East.

Finally (I think), most Europeans consider that a Western country is about the same as an industrialised/developped one.

The 2 latter points, Japan is definitely Western, and I think that's also where most Europeans would place Japan (from the opinions I have heard). Nonetheless, Japanese always stress the opposition between themselves and Westerners (or foreigners in general). They certainly not feel Western, but what if others consider them as such because they have a different definition ?

Before developping more deeply, I let you reflect on this and give your opinions.

its eastern whats the matter with you :okashii:

blessed
Aug 1, 2004, 22:56
Just because they stopped carrying katanas everywhere doesn't mean they stopped being Japanese.

Just because you can find a few Macdonalds' there, doesn't mean they turned American.

European economic policies don't make the country European, it's just that economics was mainly developed in Europe and America.

And just because they embrace some beliefs of Americans doesn't make them
American; I don't suddenly turn Japanese if I start sleeping on the floor and taking off my shoes before entering my house?

Just cause they went through some changes since the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate doesn't mean they are no longer who they are: change is inevitable.

Ewok85
Aug 1, 2004, 22:59
I'd call it an Eastern country with Western influences. Apart from geography how people think is what makes a country what it is.

Golgo_13
Aug 3, 2004, 03:28
Are we still on this?

Japan is not a western country. It's a modern country.

Surronded
Aug 3, 2004, 20:11
I think that is not. The culture and manners are really diferent, i see it from here (i'm not in japan). I can't tell more, but from what i heard (trustable sources) is quite diferent.

OnegaiNL
Aug 14, 2004, 06:27
i don't seem to get it why they like western countries that much... our countries truly suck ... and the most what i hate is that stupid import into Japan... because thats destroying the Japanese culture :(

i dont mind if there's anime, manga and more stuff here... but i dont want Japan to change into some stupid western country like USA .

i like Japan how it is / was .... and why do Japanese people always show their t-shirts and stuff with the flag of usa on it... or other countries.. it makes me wanna say.... "ehh i come here for Japan, i don't come here to see stuff from my country"

am i talking the truth or not ?

TwistedMac
Aug 14, 2004, 06:47
i don't seem to get it why they like western countries that much... our countries truly suck ... and the most what i hate is that stupid import into Japan... because thats destroying the Japanese culture :(

i dont mind if there's anime, manga and more stuff here... but i dont want Japan to change into some stupid western country like USA .

i like Japan how it is / was .... and why do Japanese people always show their t-shirts and stuff with the flag of usa on it... or other countries.. it makes me wanna say.... "ehh i come here for Japan, i don't come here to see stuff from my country"

am i talking the truth or not ?

not.

your first question (or rather statement):
"i don't seem to get it why they like western countries that much"
I shall explain with an old saying: the grass is always greener on the other side

how japan "was" depends on what era you're talking so i have no idea what it is you want there.. if you mean the samurai period... sure.. why not bring back a time when only the samurai could have names, everyone else were to only be known by their profession ("hi fisherman!" "well waddayaknow! hi cobbler, haven't seen you in a while, how's horsedungsalesman doing?") and samurai killed people for looking at them the wrong way (not an exaduration) and everyone was just plain false and murderous.. that's a GREAT time to live in.. especially if you're horsedungsalesman's apprentice or something.

copying the good stuff from another countries is a way to evolve as a people.. to reach new technologic advances.. what's the use in re-inventing the wheel?

the "it was better in the old days" mentality is dead wrong.. it WASN'T better in the old days.. everyone remembers the good parts of everything...

it's like when i was in the army... I hated every moment of guard duty.. I also don't have a single real memory from guard duty.. or any other boring or otherwise negative task.. I do however have alot of cool memories.. but if I add them all up they'd probably be something like a week.. I didn't do my services for a week.

the bad parts are always set aside.. so whatever picture you have of old japan is romantisized(?) to a very high degree... just go there and enjoy how it is now.

:balloon:

OnegaiNL
Aug 14, 2004, 06:59
not.

your first question (or rather statement):
"i don't seem to get it why they like western countries that much"
I shall explain with an old saying: the grass is always greener on the other side

how japan "was" depends on what era you're talking so i have no idea what it is you want there.. if you mean the samurai period... sure.. why not bring back a time when only the samurai could have names, everyone else were to only be known by their profession ("hi fisherman!" "well waddayaknow! hi cobbler, haven't seen you in a while, how's horsedungsalesman doing?") and samurai killed people for looking at them the wrong way (not an exaduration) and everyone was just plain false and murderous.. that's a GREAT time to live in.. especially if you're horsedungsalesman's apprentice or something.

copying the good stuff from another countries is a way to evolve as a people.. to reach new technologic advances.. what's the use in re-inventing the wheel?

the "it was better in the old days" mentality is dead wrong.. it WASN'T better in the old days.. everyone remembers the good parts of everything...

it's like when i was in the army... I hated every moment of guard duty.. I also don't have a single real memory from guard duty.. or any other boring or otherwise negative task.. I do however have alot of cool memories.. but if I add them all up they'd probably be something like a week.. I didn't do my services for a week.

the bad parts are always set aside.. so whatever picture you have of old japan is romantisized(?) to a very high degree... just go there and enjoy how it is now.

:balloon:


well first to say... you use "you can't re-invent the wheel" WAY TOO MUCH IN YOUR POSTS :okashii:

and im talking about the time after WW2 ... and im kind of interested in samurai can't help it but i'd rather live in a country that has it's own and unique culture

you will probably reply and say

"they have their own unique culture"

but in fact that culture is fading in the years... i don't want Japan to change into some european country like a big capital with no nature at all ...

i don't want Japan to change from beautiful .. to some stinky sewer :?

but that's probably only me who thinks this way and looks at it this way... but people don't seem to get it.

i don't come to a country just for technology
because i have enough in my own country

i just want to see alot of the nature and old houses and stuff ...
and about the old saying "the grass is always greener on the other side"
it means copycat everyone ... so you rather see Japan look like USA ... instead of having it's own look ...
it also mean's... if you like a celebrity like Britney Spears or whatever ... everyone should look like that?

and by the way... Japan grew trough import and export ... and not by changing their whole culture into some kind of USA fans culture :okashii:

Glenn
Aug 14, 2004, 07:09
Well, Japan is not like the US, or any European country, either. If you don't believe me then just look around a bit on this forum, esp. Maciamo's posts.

Also, this was said in the Why Japanese copy everything (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10829) thread, but copying and assimilating something into your own culture is not the same thing as becoming a clone of another culture. The Japanese are no more American for importing American things than the Americans are Japanese for importing Japanese things.

OnegaiNL
Aug 14, 2004, 07:21
Well, Japan is not like the US, or any European country, either. If you don't believe me then just look around a bit on this forum, esp. Maciamo's posts.

Also, this was said in the Why Japanese copy everything (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10829) thread, but copying and assimilating something into your own culture is not the same thing as becoming a clone of another culture. The Japanese are no more American for importing American things than the Americans are Japanese for importing Japanese things.

people don't see and don't read
since i said that Japan is slowly changing into an european country
as it's already so mega cool to have english slogans in your commercials so called to be modern.

do you see any real big changes in US ? not really except for that manga and anime gained popularity (but that's mostly because of fansubs)

Japan whatsoever changed alot ... alot of things from the US can be seen in Japan... import and export is important... but i don't see why Japan is evolving too much...alot of traditions (older one's) are cut off
and no im not talking about the samurai one's ... i'm talking about the normal lifestyle one's in those days. Those were cut off in the last 50 years or so .

Will there be more huge changes? Because if Japan is going to look more like USA ... i could go on vacation to USA instead of Japan... b/c it's cheaper.

still i'll go to Japan no matter what...

another note
technology doesn't always bring good.

TwistedMac
Aug 14, 2004, 07:27
well first to say... you use "you can't re-invent the wheel" WAY TOO MUCH IN YOUR POSTS :okashii:

once? first time I use it.. not to mention almost first time I post a serious post.


and about the old saying "the grass is always greener on the other side"
it means copycat everyone ... so you rather see Japan look like USA ... instead of having it's own look ...
it also mean's... if you like a celebrity like Britney Spears or whatever ... everyone should look like that?

and by the way... Japan grew trough import and export ... and not by changing their whole culture into some kind of USA fans culture :okashii:

you're not very good at sayings huh?... it means you'll always think everyone else has it better than you do.. that you'd always rather have what they're having...

kirei_na_me
Aug 14, 2004, 07:36
OnegaiNL, if you want to talk about this subject, you can go to a really good and popular thread by Maciamo:

http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1303

Let's try to stay on topic, even though this topic is lame to begin with.

Glenn
Aug 14, 2004, 08:19
And done. Alright, now:


people don't see and don't read
since i said that Japan is slowly changing into an european country
as it's already so mega cool to have english slogans in your commercials so called to be modern.

Since it's not a European country and it's slowly changing, why couldn't you go there and not have a problem with it being European?


do you see any real big changes in US ? not really except for that manga and anime gained popularity (but that's mostly because of fansubs)

Well, there is the influx of kanji tatoos and just kanji everywhere in general, video games, anime, and martial arts.


Japan whatsoever changed alot ... alot of things from the US can be seen in Japan... import and export is important... but i don't see why Japan is evolving too much...alot of traditions (older one's) are cut off
and no im not talking about the samurai one's ... i'm talking about the normal lifestyle one's in those days. Those were cut off in the last 50 years or so .

What traditions have Japan lost from the past 50 years that you so desperately want back?


Will there be more huge changes? Because if Japan is going to look more like USA ... i could go on vacation to USA instead of Japan... b/c it's cheaper.

See above on this one.


another note
technology doesn't always bring good.

What does that have to do with anything?

blessed
Sep 18, 2004, 07:01
aha, I have it: why should they be western... if that means having a big mac once in a while, or watching disney or drinking Earl grey or listening to.... Radiohead (go Radiohead!!!!! :D)...
I see a lot of people eating sushi, watching anime, driving japanese cars, buying sony products, playing Playstation, Gamecube...and I'm currently on a site called "Japanese Reference"...
...in other words, I, and probably the westerners reading this, are getting "easternised", "they" are getting "westernised", and we'll all happily meet in the middle, or switch sides, hwhatever...

another new though: making the east democratic isnt westernising them... just like getting laws out of Babylon (located, ironically, in ancient Iraq) wasn't... "Mesopotamianising" everyone; its just the spread of information.

cicatriz esp
Sep 18, 2004, 08:08
Confucianism is too heavily ingrained in the people's mindset for Japan to be considered Western. A lot of that philosophy does not mesh with judeo-christian philosophy or outlook. As much as the Japanese would like it to.

Maciamo
Sep 18, 2004, 10:13
why should they be western... if that means having a big mac once in a while, or watching disney or drinking Earl grey or listening to.... Radiohead (go Radiohead!!!!! :D)...
I see a lot of people eating sushi, watching anime, driving japanese cars, buying sony products, playing Playstation, Gamecube...and I'm currently on a site called "Japanese Reference"...
...in other words, I, and probably the westerners reading this, are getting "easternised", "they" are getting "westernised", and we'll all happily meet in the middle, or switch sides, hwhatever...

Good point about borrowing each others products or inventions, but I don't think products themselves make somebody Western or Eastern. There are so many products that can be found worldwide nowadays. Then, what if this or that country hadn't invented or commercialized worldwide this or that popular product (McDonald, BMW, Evian, Parmesan cheese, Playstation...) ? Would it make these countries like Western or Eastern ? Certainly not. There are no Starbucks in most European countries, and they are everywhere in Japan. So what ? That's only the product of one country, not the whole West. Similarily, mangas are Japanese, but not "Eastern". Video games were not even invented in Japan, and most PC games are made in the West.

That bring us back to the question : "What does it mean to be Western ?"

- being Caucasian ? hmm, maybe, but then what about well-adaptedimmigrants or black Americans ? Are they just people who have adopted Western ways ? I guess so (that does not include lots of immigrants and a sizeable portions of the Afro-American population, who have a noticeable different, and un-Western culture of their own).

- being from a Judeo-christian background ? I don't like that idea for 2 reasons. 1) Western culture has its root in Greco-Roman civilization, which predates Christianity, and 2) most younger European are definitely not Christians (even less Jewish) nowadays.

- using a Western legal, political and economic system ? maybe, but then lots of countries are Westernizing fast, and Japan is definitely Western then.

- being part of the Western Civilization and way of thinking, including the whole influence of Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, and European civilizations ? Yes ! That is probably the answer. This is also why a whole country cannot be considered "Western", as it depends too much on individuals themselves. Take a country like Peru or Venezuela. I am sure some (Caucasian, upper-class) people will be very Western in their way of thinking. But is it true of Quechuan or other Ameridian people ? Is it true of meztisos and so on ? Mostly not. That is why very often "Westernness" is brought back to being "Caucasian" because almost all Caucasians are Western in thinking, and only a minority of the world's non-Caucasian population are Western in thinking (including adopted children, etc.).

As for the Japanese, I am sure some of them think like Westerners, but most are still too influenced by Japanese traditional values and Confucianism to be called Westerners. But I do know a few people (who happen to speak English well, be very interested in Western countries, and in favour of change in Japan toward more Westernization and against Confucianist values) that I consider more Western than Japanese.

corocoro
Sep 19, 2004, 01:14
Hi, I'm Japanese and this is my first post here.

Is Japan a Western country?...

NO! not at all!! No matter how you guys see us or our country, we are sooooooooo asian! Why should we be western anyway? and I don't know why you guys think that we want to be westerner which is not true. What would you think if we say you are easterner(or Japanese?) because you eat our food, watching anime and buying Japanese products etc... I'm sure that most of you would say "NOOOOOOOOO WAAAAAAY!"and start to laugh.

I think it's the same thing. We may love wearing "t-shirts and stuff with the flag of usa on it... or other countries" but it's not like we want to be like the US either westerner, Japan is Japan. It's only my opinion, but Japanese are so very curious and we accept and swallow evrything that is appeal to us. don't even think much about where it come from. We just love things that we think cool or better!

Western countries are happen to be more advanced than eastern countries so Japan was much infulenced by western. but if it was a eastern dominated world, things might have been different. Who knows?:)

I don't mind what you parsonally would think about our country, but please don't say we want to be westerner or something that is untrue. That makes me kind of sad...;)

-Yu-
Sep 19, 2004, 08:57
Well, it's true, some of Japanese want to be like westerners or want to make this country westerned.
Therefore many things have been done in order to lead this country into capitalism by them.

That's a subject of another thread though.

I think, yes, as some mentioned, Japan isn't really like westerned but americanized, here in Japan, generally when people talk about western, what country comes in their minds first is America, that is to say Japan is influenced by America most, even in uncouncious level.

Maciamo
Sep 19, 2004, 11:31
Hi Corocoro,



NO! not at all!! No matter how you guys see us or our country, we are sooooooooo asian! Why should we be western anyway? and I don't know why you guys think that we want to be westerner which is not true.

We don't want you to be Westerners. The point of this thread is to understand what it really means to be "Western". For example, do you think that Japanese-Americans (2nd, 3rd or 4th generation) are Wersterners ? If they were born there, speak English as their first language, think and behave like Americans, it doesn't matter whether their blood or name is Japanese, they are American, and thus Westerners.


What would you think if we say you are easterner(or Japanese?) because you eat our food, watching anime and buying Japanese products etc... I'm sure that most of you would say "NOOOOOOOOO WAAAAAAY!"and start to laugh.

That is where you maybe be wrong. As Blessed said above, some (Western) people like so much Japanese products and culture that they actually want to become Japanese or do things like the Japanese. If someone can actually learn so much about Japan and behave so much like a Japanese, speak Japanese, live in Japan, get Japanese nationality, etc., can't they be considered to be Japanese and therefore Eatsern ?

But where is the limit for someone to shift from Western to Eastern ? As I wrote 2 posts above, I don't think that only using or liking products from one country changes one's Westernness or Easternness. Otherwise Japan would be a Western country, because about 90% of all products in Japan are Western in origin (even Japanese cars or TV's, as they are originally Western inventions).

If we consider the State and not the people, Japan is very Western, as it has a Western-style constitution, legal system, parliament, ministries, courts, and most laws were copied on the West (driving rules, real estate regulations, commercial laws, etc.).

So, I guess the only thing that remains to determine whether Japanese people are Eastern or Western is the way they think and behave. Considering the huge differences of culture between Western (sep. European) countries, I think the only real important thing they have in common is the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian heritage. And this is what Japan doesn't have. Well, partly, as it has learned and copied a lot from the West that come from it. There are also so many words from English or other European languages in Japanese, than the language itself is "slowly" Westernizing itself. What about Japanese people who have lived abroad, speak English and think more like Westerners than traditional Japanese ? Couldn't we say that this minority is actually Western ?

Thank you for you consideration.



I think, yes, as some mentioned, Japan isn't really like westerned but americanized, here in Japan, generally when people talk about western, what country comes in their minds first is America, that is to say Japan is influenced by America most, even in uncouncious level.

That is funny and a bit sad at the same time. The US is only one of many Western countries. If Japanese people focus only on America, they will never understand what it means to be Western, as they cannot see the huge cultural differences between Western countries. By the way, there are about 500 million Europeans, but only 280 million Americans. Only the EU now has 20 official languages + many dialects or non official languages.

I often hear Japanese think that all Westerners are Americans or "like the Americans". I am shocked everytime I hear it. Stereotypes like "Westerners are individualistic", or "they speak too directly or frankly", or "they are more self-confident than the Japanese", are all false.

Greeks, Spaniards or Portuguese are certainly as collectivist (if not more) than Japanese. English people (esp. middle or upper-class) are famous for being polite, hypocritical and using a lot of understatement, making them very alike to the Japanese. Then many English or Nordic (Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish) people are quieter and often seem less self-confident than even the Japanese. As for such things as being well-prepared, meticulous, hard-working, etc. Japanese and German people are also very similar.

Reiku
Sep 20, 2004, 00:56
LOL

Interesting thread...

...personally I gave up on questions like this when I was 2 and realized that the earth was round. :D

stupidumboy
Sep 20, 2004, 03:24
here is my very simple and ignorant answer but I think usually the definition of western means geographycally European continent related ,looking like white europeans.(including anglo,latin,german,nordic etc etc)

many aspects can be discussed in religious,cultural,phiolosphical etc etc etc point of views but I think usually we just remind geographical and outward looking things to judge whether it is western or not.

is japan western country? my answer is no.

Maciamo
Sep 20, 2004, 18:03
here is my very simple and ignorant answer but I think usually the definition of western means geographycally European continent related ,looking like white europeans.(including anglo,latin,german,nordic etc etc)

This is a bit simple indeed. Australia is a Western country (nobody would deny it) eventhough it is geographically as East as Japan. Because Western culture and people have spread on all over the world, the original geographic meaning of "Western" has lost its significance. Because lots of Western countries have become ethnically mixed (like the US, UK or Australia), being Western does not just mean being Caucasian. Because geography and ethic origins do not matter to be Western, it's more in the way people think and behave, but without forgetting that there are huge differences between Italian, Finnish, Irish, French, American or Australian people, but they are all Western nevertheless. Is there enough similarity between the Japanese and people from these Western countries to consider Japan one of them ? I could find many similarities between the Japanese and the Germans, Italians or Britons - although much less with the French or Americans.

stupidumboy
Sep 23, 2004, 01:34
This is a bit simple indeed. Australia is a Western country (nobody would deny it) eventhough it is geographically as East as Japan. Because Western culture and people have spread on all over the world, the original geographic meaning of "Western" has lost its significance. Because lots of Western countries have become ethnically mixed (like the US, UK or Australia), being Western does not just mean being Caucasian. Because geography and ethic origins do not matter to be Western, it's more in the way people think and behave, but without forgetting that there are huge differences between Italian, Finnish, Irish, French, American or Australian people, but they are all Western nevertheless. Is there enough similarity between the Japanese and people from these Western countries to consider Japan one of them ? I could find many similarities between the Japanese and the Germans, Italians or Britons - although much less with the French or Americans.

@Maciamo,

Of course Australia does belong to Oceania geographicaly,but they tend to look for their ancestors origin from Britain and they still tend to put more concernings on their British identity.(therefore its related to european somehow) Its much like that Canadians are proud of their identity being as the member of british commen wealth.
I am not saying that they are racists but they are just very proud of their identity ties with Europe. thats all.


Of course,there are other minority ethnities living in Austalia or Canada and the majority white people try their best to give the equal chances for them.
But the Asian minority also tend to try to look for their identity from Asian countries from where their ancestors moved if they were on the situation to clarify themselves somehow by all means.

Many social science scholars often tend to put these notions first hand when they make some generalization or new findings-like samuel huntington or francis fukuyama.

Yes as you told,the answer might be related to that of the way people think and behave,but still people tend to put it behind than geographical origin and ethnical looking.I think due to influence of medias and western standadized education globally,people's ways of thinking and behaviors has less things to do with defining the western or eastern things today.But it should come with individual difference.

ippolito
Sep 23, 2004, 03:52
I think that Japan it is between West and East.
It is my opinion that jp people have lost a part of they identity
forgetting their old culture and living in futuristic hitech life.
Too much u.s. way of life...expecially in big towns like Tokyo.
Well is their life it is their country so they decide wich is their favorite model.
What can I say that they do not enjoy too much their life if coomon people
as live for work and not like we say we work to live.
Normally an italian worker could have from 22 to 26 days of vacation
that means with Sundays and Saturadys more than one month.

As far I know in Japan the workers could have a week or 2 weeks off.
So with this style of life they will be happy at 65 years when retired.
It my opinion that a young coople should have a space of their life suficient to travel in Japan or in the world....
I am not anymore young and before I have been travelling a lot now cannot anymore like before....but when younger I visit many places in this world
I met a lot of people and culture...and I think travel meet other culture
different way of life and see marwelous attractions is one of the best thing a man can do.
I find funnny (in a good way) the jp groups that visit Italy in 5 days
they run so much I understand that they must do all with a week ....
You cannot image how many historical reachness we have here and need more that a week only to visit Rome...image Florence Venice etc....
hello all
Ippolito

cicatriz esp
Sep 23, 2004, 07:15
I think that Japan it is between West and East.
It is my opinion that jp people have lost a part of they identity
forgetting their old culture and living in futuristic hitech life.
Too much u.s. way of life...

Interesting. Forgive me if i am wrong, but in your opinion, the US way of life is fast and high tech. I would say that this applies to the big cities, but not really to the suburbs or rural areas. I know of people that dont know how to use a computer at all, and they work as little as possible. Once again, i'd recommend to the Europeans that if they visit the US, take a short jaunt out to the suburbs or other quiet areas. Some misconceptions may be cleared up.

This reminds me of the old adage: "Ask a Brazilian what he thinks of Americans, he will say 'works too hard, cant relax, too terse, no sense of humor'. Ask a Japanese and he will say 'too lazy, jokes about everything, too informal'".

ippolito
Sep 24, 2004, 00:34
Well the nice is that in a forum we have different opinions and we can
discuss about .
Japanese have a big number if suicides many have dedicaed most of they life for the company but when the economic situation is badder ....so itis a big problem.
I think we must respect the company in which we work as we are paid and it is a bilateral relation. This does not mean that you must love your company and work so hard forgetting family leisure travels etc...when the company say bye
a deep depression comes.
Work too much is not good be lazy it is not good but in aa middle waay could be very good.... normaly we work here 8 or 9 hours a day and weekend off.
I have been travelling in the main towns in Us and I was living in Queens N.Y.
Sorry but I do not like the american way of life....it is not for me...
I would live in Japan in those little village or in Okinawa.
Enjoy all your life
Here today it is a sad day as it seems that our 2 italian girls
voluntares to help iraqui children have been killed...in the same horrible way they use there....we are waiting a confirm but all of us are expexting that it was only medianic terrorism.
I am near to all the families that lost somebody in those execution that take us back to 500 years ago.
Ippolito

Kei_Shugojin
Sep 24, 2004, 02:29
Well, going by geographic definitions, Japan is an eastern nation, because it is in what has been designated the "eastern" hemisphere. That is, it is on the other side of the international date line.

However, culturally, I believe... that it is still eastern. lol. Not to offend any native japanese, but from what I've studied in the culture, the Japanese have had a trend of adapting and reshaping certain parts of other cultures to their own. Not that there's anything wrong with this, but it's just the way it's always been. I think Japan is just undergoing another "Transformation" along the lines of it's first contact with China.

Again, this is just my opinion, and it's based on what I remember of Japanese history. If I made any mistatkes, feel free to correct me.

Maciamo
Sep 24, 2004, 10:03
Well, going by geographic definitions, Japan is an eastern nation, because it is in what has been designated the "eastern" hemisphere. That is, it is on the other side of the international date line.


Before writing this, think whether Australia and New Zealand are Western nations or not. If you are not sure where they are located geographically, let me remind you that Japan's longitude fits exactly in the middle of Australia.

As for the international date line, you must be kidding right ? All the world id somewhere between GMT+12 and GMT-12. You didn't mean that the separation is GMT 0 (=Greenwich, East London), otherwise most of the UK, Portugal, Spain (without Catalonia) and the West of France would be Western, while the rest of Europe would be Eastern, which is ridiculous.

Reiku
Sep 25, 2004, 07:30
LOL

...and that is why I gave up on questions like these when I realized the world was round.

Heck--to Canada we're both southern nations! :D

Maciamo
Sep 25, 2004, 11:50
...and that is why I gave up on questions like these when I realized the world was round.

Read the above posts to understand why what you wrote doesn't make the least sense.


Heck--to Canada we're both southern nations! :D

And to half of Europe as well. If you check a world map, you'll see that the northenmost places in the US are at the same latitude as France or Southern Germany Seattle, for instance, is at the same latitude as Paris, while New York is at the latitude of Naples and San Francisco at the latitude of Gibraltar (or Tokyo). Even Montreal is at the latitude of Milano. So the UK, Ireland, the benelux, Northern Germany, Scandinavia and Finland are all North of the US (except Alaska, which is at the latitude of Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Northern Sweden). That may come as a blow to some Americans, but all the US states from Califonia to Washington DC are at the same latitude as North Africa (Sahara...) and "the southern nation of Iraq" (to quote Micheal Moore). The obvious similarity between the Southern US states (except California), North Africa and the Middle East is religious fanaticism (what else could be similar ?). But whatever.

chikazukiyasui
Oct 1, 2004, 05:52
Before writing this, think whether Australia and New Zealand are Western nations or not. If you are not sure where they are located geographically, let me remind you that Japan's longitude fits exactly in the middle of Australia.

The Eastern/Western distinction ony works as a geographical distinction when it is applied to Eurasia. Africa, the Americas, and Oceania only come in as culturally Eastern or Western, depending on how much European or Asian influence they have experienced.

Maciamo
Nov 24, 2004, 09:16
The Eastern/Western distinction ony works as a geographical distinction when it is applied to Eurasia. Africa, the Americas, and Oceania only come in as culturally Eastern or Western, depending on how much European or Asian influence they have experienced.

Can you really put Europe and Africa in the same "Western" category ? :okashii:

CGPGroup
Nov 24, 2004, 22:29
From a geographical and cultural point of view, Japan is definetly Eastern. from an Industrial and Economic point of view it is definetly western-like.

ippolito
Nov 24, 2004, 22:45
Can you really put Europe and Africa in the same "Western" category ? :okashii:

Cerntainly not....different cultures different governaments..and in Africa democracy is not a very common word in those governements.

scotsboyuk
Nov 29, 2004, 11:02
The problem in trying to determine whether or not Japan is a Western country is defining what we mean by 'Western'.
Clearly 'Western' is not a geographical term as both Australia and New Zealand are considered Western countries. 'Western' is also not a religious term as Western nations are tolerant of all religions and make no discrimination against particular religions.
'Western' is also not a term inferred from a Greco-Roman past. Egypt has a Greco-Roman past, as does Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, etc and these nations are not considered 'Western'.

'Western' would seem to be a term applied to those countries, which have democratic governments, and which can trace their heritage back directly to Western Europe in one form or another.
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America are all former British colonies and are all 'Western' countries. The member states of the EU are all 'Western' nations, those Eastern European nations, which have joined the EU are now considered 'Western' nations.
'Western' nations all share common beliefs and values e.g. democracy, freedom of speech, multi-culturalism, religious freedom, etc.

Japan has been directly and indirectly influenced by several Western nations over the past four centuries. Japan adopted many Western traits after WWI, having seen the triumph of the democratic powers. Japan then moved towards an authorotarian military state in WWII and then back to a democracy under direct Allied influence after WWII.
Japan can therefore be said to have been under Western influence.

There is freedom of religion in Japan.

Foreigners are allowed to live in Japan without fear of persecution.

One could therefore reasonably assume that Japan was a Western country based upon the above principles, however, such an assumption would be wrong. Such an asusmption fails to take into account the fact that Japan has never been a colony of a Western power. Japan has adopted certain aspects of Western culture, whilst retaining much of its own identity. A good example of this would be that after WWII Japan retained a monarchy, although that monarchy was drasticaly altered to fit more closely to Western ideals.

It is perhaps bets to think of Japan as a mixture of both Western and Eastern, it is no longer exclusively either.

Sam
Nov 29, 2004, 22:35
Is Japan a Western country ?
FUNNY!!!
Maciamo: What a foolish Japanese person!!!! Are all your people like you?

RockLee
Nov 29, 2004, 23:03
Is Japan a Western country ?
FUNNY!!!
Maciamo: What a foolish Japanese person!!!! Are all your people like you?Maciamo isn't japanese you clown....now beat it with ur propaganda against Japan....
:okashii:

zeroyon
Dec 2, 2004, 16:49
Every country is western, and every country is eastern. It just depends on which direction you travel around the globe to get there XD

Yukipenguin
Dec 17, 2004, 02:35
Ha. The "Maybe, depends how you see it" option completely defeats the purpose of the poll. Is the sky blue? "Maybe, depends on how you see it"

Maciamo
Dec 17, 2004, 10:34
Ha. The "Maybe, depends how you see it" option completely defeats the purpose of the poll. Is the sky blue? "Maybe, depends on how you see it"

That is the answer I chose and if you read my posts in this thread you will understand why I couldn't choose any other option. However the "it depends how you see it part" refers to the point of view (eg. ecnomical, cultural, political...), not to the way you "sense" it.

Keeni84
Dec 20, 2004, 20:57
I would like to thank the starter of this thread for sparking such an interesting debate.

However, I just have one question:

Why is it that industrialization equals Westernization?

Maciamo
Dec 20, 2004, 21:27
Why is it that industrialization equals Westernization?

Did I say that ? Adopting a Western political, economical and educational system, Western clothes, Western food and Western habits (weddings, sports, etc.) has nothing to do with industrialization. But Japan has copied the West on all these (even particular country in the West, not all, for example it has taken little from Spain and the Nordic countries).

I think it is difficult to imagine nowadays how different Japan was 140 years ago. It is not only Japan that has copied the West, but almost all other countries in the world (willingly or through colonization). Japan has done it willingly, and has done it more throughly than almost any other country (Korea is getting close too, not to speak of Singapore and HK), which is why I do consider it a Westerized country (although not properly Western for many fundamental differences remain in mentality, morals, traditions and customs).

PLease read this article of mine (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/meiji_revolution.shtml) to understand how deeply Japan has adopted Western ways, not just economically, but culturally.

Keeni84
Dec 21, 2004, 07:16
Did I say that ?

Calm down.

I didn't SAY you said that. This is an open ended question.


Adopting a Western political, economical and educational system, Western clothes, Western food and Western habits (weddings, sports, etc.) has nothing to do with industrialization.

Yes I know, and once again this is not my question. Pay attention! You are a smart person. Don't get caught up in everything else going on around you and read the question.

Some people said that industrialization (etc.) is equal to Westernization and I just wanted to know WHY.

Maciamo
Dec 21, 2004, 09:31
Some people said that industrialization (etc.) is equal to Westernization and I just wanted to know WHY.

Because the West was the country that invented the industrialization (steam engine, textile and steel factories, electricity, combustion, robotization, miniaturization, computerization, etc.). It seems pretty obvious. If you were to be taken in the 1860's or 1870's all non-Western countries (from Morocco to Japan) were still in the Middle Ages while Europe and America had railways, factories, telegraphs, photographs, baloons, steamships and even the first submarines. In Japan ordinary people were still travelling on ox-drawn carts, whle the samurai only could ride horses (there were no carriage like in the 17th and 18th century in Europe) and were fighting with swords instead of guns.
At that point in the late 19th century, some non Western countries realised the huge gap between them and Westerners and decided to copy as much as they could. Japan was far from being the only one. Turkey (with Kemal Ataturk) and to a lesser extend Thailand also did it spontaneously. China, at the contrary, was weak and obstinate, and they stayed so until they realised the importance of coyping the West about 20 years ago. Most of the rest of the world adopted at least a Western-style political system through the colonization (India, SE Asia, Africa..), although they stopped developping in this direction after their independence.

India is one of the non-Western countries that has learnt the most (politics, universities, medicine, railway...), but its antiquated caste system and utter lack of natural resources have given it a harder time (partly because they did not adopt more on their own and reform themselves culturally as well, as Japan, which was in very similar posture as India, did since 1868). In other words, India learnt mostly about the Western system except for the industrialization (as it has little coal, iron or other raw material, it is hard to create an industry other than high-tech).

ax
Dec 21, 2004, 15:10
I vote for No. However I think Chinese used to call Japanese ml.

ax

Keeni84
Dec 21, 2004, 15:11
Because the West was the country that invented the industrialization (steam engine, textile and steel factories, electricity, combustion, robotization, miniaturization, computerization, etc.). It seems pretty obvious

I don't think you quite understand the question I am asking. Never mind. Good luck anyway.

Brooker
Apr 9, 2005, 06:25
Of course Japan is an Asian country, but what about in the minds of the people of the world and in the minds of the people of Japan? Japanese people seem to see themselves as being quite different from the rest of Asia and Japan seems to have much more economic and cultural ties to Western countries. Japan's history may be similar to other Asian countries, but its present is quite different. To me, Japan felt like a Western country that just happened to be in Asia. Of course, some cultural things are different from Western countries, but the lifestyle is very similar. It seems like many Japanese people would like Japan to be accepted by Western countries as being "one of them". Few of the Japanese people I talked to had ever traveled to any other Asian country, but many of them had traveled to America and Europe.

What do you think about this?

Dutch Baka
Apr 9, 2005, 06:41
you always here, that japan is a mix of western and asia yeah...

we should find out a new name for that i geus...

just i dont know about the livestyle ( havnt been in japan myself yet..) you mean working lifestyle? at least no culture..

my girl isnt that interesting in asian country's as i hear from more japanese , how ever i met a couple of japanese that went to korea, and my girl would like to go to vietnam herself ( jewlery.. woman and shopping.. HELP ME)

maby someday japan will become a Western style country,,, but for now
I think i love the mix of western, and asian in it...

greetings Baka Dutch

GOod thread Brooker!!

TheKansaiKid
Apr 9, 2005, 07:04
There is a line in that movie where his ramontic interest says something like "Japan takes the best from all over the world and makes it her own". I find that many countries borrow aspects of culture they find attractive. (look at Japanese management techniques popularity in the 80's, sushi etc.) But Japan takes the "borrow" from other cultures thing to a preeminent level. In the past they borrowed from Chinese culture with writing, food etc. Now it is from the west with entertainment, music, clothes etc.

As for the threads original question "Is Japan a Western Country?" My oppinion is Japan is too beautifully unique to pigeonhole as western OR Asian. I would say Japan is a very Japanese country ;)

misa.j
Apr 9, 2005, 08:08
I would say Japan is a very Japanese country ;)
I love that line.


It seems like many Japanese people would like Japan to be accepted by Western countries as being "one of them".
I know what you mean. Japanese have had a strong fascination toward America and some European countries and have been trying to adopt their ways of living for a long time.

It is kind of weird how it's not really reflecting on some of the Japanese people's mentality, but yeah, I think the western countries have had most influence on the modern society of Japan because they are very different.

If time can talk...
Apr 9, 2005, 11:56
I think Japan is a country which is always ready to learn.It's always learning from those which are stronger or richer that itself.According to history,Japan learnt from China in the Tang Dynasty,cause China was strong at that time.And now,it learns more from western countries.Its culture and lauguage roots in Asia,but modern life seems more alike with westerners.

Always keep learning,I like this point.
( But hope it won't learn anything just because westerners do )

Maciamo
Apr 9, 2005, 16:34
I think Japan is a country which is always ready to learn.It's always learning from those which are stronger or richer that itself.According to history,Japan learnt from China in the Tang Dynasty,cause China was strong at that time.And now,it learns more from western countries.Its culture and lauguage roots in Asia,but modern life seems more alike with westerners.

I'd like to nuance this by saying that the Japanese learn almost only what is practical and useful to become richer. So it's mostly business or industry related. When it comes to understanding other cultures, world history, geography, foreign languages (except if it's useful) or anything else, I'd say that the Japanese are very poor learners. Maybe it is because anything that is not directly useful to them is seen as unworthy to learn. Many have an interest in "the rest of the world" but it is usually a very superficial one, and they end up not learning much about anything.


Always keep learning,I like this point.

Yes, me too, and that is why I dislike rednecks or uneducated people in general. This dislike is amplified by the age of the uneducated person in question, since the longer one lives, the more one can learn. I tend to have quite negative feelings toward many older Japanese people because most of those I have met were very ignorant, although they have had many more years than me to learn about all the things of the world. I know that may sound intolerant, but without this intolerance of mediocrity and ignorance I wouldn't be pressured to learn as much as I do.

alexriversan
Apr 9, 2005, 17:14
I'd like to nuance this by saying that the Japanese learn almost only what is practical and useful to become richer. So it's mostly business or industry related. When it comes to understanding other cultures, world history, geography, foreign languages (except if it's useful) or anything else, I'd say that the Japanese are very poor learners. Maybe it is because anything that is not directly useful to them is seen as unworthy to learn. Many have an interest in "the rest of the world" but it is usually a very superficial one, and they end up not learning much about anything.



Yes, me too, and that is why I dislike rednecks or uneducated people in general. This dislike is amplified by the age of the uneducated person in question, since the longer one lives, the more one can learn. I tend to have quite negative feelings toward many older Japanese people because most of those I have met were very ignorant, although they have had many more years than me to learn about all the things of the world. I know that may sound intolerant, but without this intolerance of mediocrity and ignorance I wouldn't be pressured to learn as much as I do.

. Offensive Slang
Used as a disparaging term for a member of the white rural laboring class, especially in the southern United States.
A white person regarded as having a provincial, conservative, often bigoted attitude.

maciamo, you live in japan, do not like it sometimes, and you warn others out of philantrophy reasons... i know you are administrator, but it is so much it would fill a book. if you avoid the numbers 4000 etc, probably people like to read about your bad experiences.

Maciamo
Apr 9, 2005, 18:29
. Offensive Slang
Used as a disparaging term for a member of the white rural laboring class, especially in the southern United States.
A white person regarded as having a provincial, conservative, often bigoted attitude.

I suppose that's the definition of redneck. Usually it also implies a lack of education and very self-centered view of the world (I guess that could be associated with being conservative and bigoted). What I meant is that I didn't like people like that, wherever they come from and whatever their ethnic group. What I especially dislike is the ignorant/uneducated aspect, because that is merely up to oneself to learn (it's so easy with the Internet nowadays, but books have always existed for people living now).


if you avoid the numbers 4000 etc, probably people like to read about your bad experiences.

I couldn't quite make sense of that last sentence (numbers 4000 ?).

Eisuke
Apr 9, 2005, 19:16
Japan is not a western country. Japan only looks "western" on the surface.

Hiroyuki Nagashima
Apr 9, 2005, 19:35
I approve of an opinion of "Thekansaikid-san" :-)

Pachipro
Apr 9, 2005, 23:16
To me, Japan felt like a Western country that just happened to be in Asia. Of course, some cultural things are different from Western countries, but the lifestyle is very similar. It seems like many Japanese people would like Japan to be accepted by Western countries as being "one of them". Few of the Japanese people I talked to had ever traveled to any other Asian country, but many of them had traveled to America and Europe.
You are quite correct as I feel the same way. Save for the smaller, uniquely Japanese living quarters and the population density, living in Japan was, basically, no different than living here in the states.


But Japan takes the "borrow" from other cultures thing to a preeminent level. In the past they borrowed from Chinese culture with writing, food etc. Now it is from the west with entertainment, music, clothes etc.

I would say Japan is a very Japanese country ;)
Perfecetly said TKK. I couldn't agree with you more. Although other countires may have invented a particular product or technique, Japan borrows that product/technique and takes it to the next higher level, where westerners wouldn't even consider it as "it's not in the budget", or it'll cost too much money". Whatever they take from western culture they alter it to fit the Japanese culture and society and it then "becomes" Japanese. i.e smaller, more practical, more efficient/economical, etc.

I learned this first hand when I worked part-time for a small Japanese trading company while I was a student back in '78. One of their main products was the importation of antenna rotators that control an external antenna on a building/house in order to receive maximum TV reception. The problem was that quite a few customers said it was too big and noisy.

I was sent to the electronics show in Las Vegas to scope out the competition and to purchase three of the products from different manufacturers. When the items were received in Japan, they were sent to a manufacturer with the instructions "break it down and find out how to improve on it by making it smaller, quieter and cheaper without infringing on their patents." They did. And within 6 months we now had a smaller, cheaper, different and better product that was now a Japanese product suitable for the Japanese market.

I was completely amazed as I soon learned that is what the Japanese did with everything western from the transistor radio, to TV's to VCR's to cars etc. They bought them, broke them down, engineered them smaller and better, didn't infringe on the maker's patents, and sold them cheaper. Thus, things like the Sony Walkman were invented.


Japan is not a western country. Japan only looks "western" on the surface.
True. And it also "feels" western to some extent. However, Japan is still Japan as they have kept their culture and traditions intact. (At least they are trying to.) For this I am grateful. Not only can Japan be and feel western to a westerner it can also be very much Japanese under the surface. This is what makes Japan so unique and a great place to live or visit. You have the best of both worlds!

Maciamo
Apr 9, 2005, 23:50
Oh, I thought this was the old thread Is Japan a Western country ? (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1303), but it appears to be a new one from today. I have already discussed in length this topic since I posted the first thread in December 2002. So feel free to have a look at what has been said.

However, 2 years ago I was arguing that Japan could be seen as a Western country because it had copied so much from the West, but I am not sure anymore.

It is true that Japan is very Westernised, from the political system (e.g. constitution, laws, parliamentary system, etc.) and economical system (Western style companies and management), to the culinary habits (e.g. the Japanese didn't eat beef, pork or any dairy products before Meiji, and also had no beer, wine, bread, pastries, cakes, etc.), the clothes (which they even called m or "Western clothes", as opposed to the kimono/yukata), but also Western technology and sciences, sports (e.g. baseball, football, golf...), hobbies (e.g. Western music and dances), and even the language (thousands of loan words from European languages, Roman alphabet...).

It is sometimes difficult to see that these things are Western nowadays, as most countries around the world have adopted the Western political and economical system, sciences and technology, and even once secluded countries like China now adopt Western colthing, food, music, etc. In fact, Westernisation has almost become synonymous with development.

But since I posted that article, I came to realise that what makes Japan completely un-Western is its radically different education system (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8869), values & morals (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10167) (including the implications it has on the legal system (http://www.wa-pedia.com/society/japanese_backward_legal_system.shtml)), and above all the fact that the Japanese always refer to all foreigners as "gaikokujin" regardless of their nationality, and as opposed to them (concept of "uchi" vs "soto", typical of East Asian societies, but not Western ones).

kirei_na_me
Apr 9, 2005, 23:53
Yes, how could any of us forget Maciamo's thread? To me, it seems it was one of the most popular threads on this site thus far.

alexriversan
Apr 10, 2005, 00:07
I suppose that's the definition of redneck. Usually it also implies a lack of education and very self-centered view of the world (I guess that could be associated with being conservative and bigoted). What I meant is that I didn't like people like that, wherever they come from and whatever their ethnic group. What I especially dislike is the ignorant/uneducated aspect, because that is merely up to oneself to learn (it's so easy with the Internet nowadays, but books have always existed for people living now).


sometimes they know it, somehow, and do not interfere with things they do not understand.
sometimes they say "i do not understand"
sometimes they write/say things they do not understand themselves.
i am self-centered, but i am working at it. at least i add "in my opinion" now.

that's off-topic, but you generalized people using a word which is related to america's history. some workers do not talk too much in, the wrong place, at the wrong time, i would assume.

alexriversan
Apr 10, 2005, 01:34
seen from the east coast of america, japan is a western country. :wave:

the europeans invented the compass in europe, china to the east and america to the west.

quite entertaining.

bossel
Apr 10, 2005, 03:32
didn't infringe on the maker's patents, [...] Thus, things like the Sony Walkman were invented.
Bad example!

Brooker
Apr 10, 2005, 04:39
the Japanese learn almost only what is practical and useful to become richer. But what about all the pop-culture stuff like movies and music? That's not very "useful" and yet they can't get enough of it.

Kirei wrote....
Yes, how could any of us forget Maciamo's thread? To me, it seems it was one of the most popular threads on this site thus far.
Oh, that was before my time. I thought there might have been a similar thread, but I did a search and didn't find it. Well, let's do it again.

Brooker
Apr 15, 2005, 08:36
I've merged the two "Is Japan a Western Country?" threads. I hope that doesn't make things too confusing.

FireyRei
Apr 16, 2005, 03:50
Is Japan a Western coconutree?

Nope. Although it has been Westernized.

Meiki
Apr 23, 2005, 03:49
Japan is Japan, although some things very americanised, it's still has preserved own cultural aspect.

I don't think there is something as western, what's western actually?

I think the western thing comes from America, the US.

No one complains or bith when countries in European took over the western thing from america, like shopping, and other things which makes it the modern life.
Those European countries, where they have their own specific culture, actually copy it. But people labels them with western.

It's very hypocrite, I think it's made up, so that every country that's 'white' can see itself as superior, which they aren't. But a lot of white countries, didn't contribute a lot to the western civilisation, but they took it over.


I mean, democracy is suddenly a western term, but it's invented by the greeks. But a lot countries in the area took it over.


Japan did take things over, but preserved its own things. And I don't think it claims itself as western or westernized. Japan is modern and international. Whereas a lot countries have lost their own culture and just live on the idea of being western.
Well, France, Italy, Spain, and other countries still have their own great cultures. But also a shared modern lifestyle, the western lifestyle.
If I think of it this way, Japan belongs in this group of countries.
Spain has it own cultural things, like certain dances, food, clothing, these aren't western, and it isn't really shared with other countries. Spanish people also have their own way of thinking.
This is the same with japanese people, and French, and Italian and Russian, etc.

Meiki
Apr 23, 2005, 03:56
Yeah, a lot of European countries have been westernized.

celtician
Apr 27, 2005, 22:04
The Japanese have to admit that their greatest cultural ...if not moneymaking capabilities, come first, from China and then from Korea not much from Germany!

That's all.

Aaron Tan
Apr 28, 2005, 09:03
depends on how to see Western,how to see japan!

Index
Apr 28, 2005, 13:55
I don't think it's part of the West. Actually I think the question is more complex than the Cold War distinction between east and west, which was a political dualism and not really representative of much more than a state's alliance with the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.

Samuel Huntington suggests, in his book The Clash of Civilizations, that socially the world is made up of a number of civilizations (which he calls 'cultural enitities') in which people may share a common language, history, religion, customs, and institutions. According to Huntington, Japan is one of these civilizations, and the others are Western, Chinese, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Hindu and African. Clearly according to this view Japan is not Western. I think what some people refer to as Westernization in regard to Japan , such as capitalism or industrialization, are not ideas that are Western as such-they are just associated with the West because of the West's current dominance amongst civilizations. These so called 'westernizations' could (and do in various forms and places) exist in other civilizations (eg. democracy).

Maciamo
Apr 29, 2005, 09:59
According to Huntington, Japan is one of these civilizations, and the others are Western, Chinese, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Hindu and African. Clearly according to this view Japan is not Western.

Does this guy actually separate China from Japan in term of civilization, while he puts all Africa or Latin America in one category ? If so I wouldn't trust him very much. Until Japan's westernization from 1868, Japanese culture was closer to the Chinese one than the Tibetan, Thail or Indonesian are to the Chinese. Confucianism has remained extremely important in today's Japan (sempai/kohai system, seniority system, respect for the elder, indebtedness of children to their parents, "sensei" mentaility, etc.). Apart from that, Taoism (as in Zen Buddhism or cult of the ancestor at O-bon), Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, the kanji, the Chinese zodiac and lunar calendar, etc. are all clear signs that Japan (like Korea) is historically almost part of Chinese culture, probably more so than Greece, Portugal, Finland or the UK are part of the same "Western" culture.

But the question in this thread is much more complex than just discussing whether Japanese culture is Western or not. It's obvious to anyone who knows a bit about Japan than Japanese is not culturally (or ethnically) Western. The question of this thread was "Is Japan a Western country ?". Country and culture are very different things. Being from Belgium, I know that even a small country can have more than one culture (in Belgium's case, Flemish or Walloon, which are probably as different as Japanese and Korean cultures). The US is another obvious example that a country can accommodate a huge variety of cultures, languages and ethnic groups.

I started this thread because I found it interesting that although some countries that were not ethnically and linguistically Indo-European (e.g. Finland) could be considered as "Western", while others than were almost purely "Aryan" (descendant of Indo-European langauge speakers) and who spoke a Greco-Romance language are sometimes not considered "Western" (e.g. Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Portugal, Greece...), or not as Western as English, German, French or Dutch speaking countries.

I was quite shocked when opening a book about body language, the Australian author considered that the "Italians" were not Westerners. What country can be more Western than Italy, heir of the Roman Empire, Western Christianity, the Renaissance, Humanism, and even fascism ?

On the other hand, the US, which is only 71% "white" (much less than Argentina or Uruguay) is typically called "Western". For other people, countries like Bolivia or Peru, which only have a minority of "whites" (15% and 12%) are considered as Western because it is part of the Western sphere of influence, and use a "Western" political and economical system. As the definition of "Westernness" is not clear, I was arguing that if Bolivia, Peru or Mexico can be called Western, then Japan also should, as it is more Westernized than these countries. Remember that the original question is about the "country" not the "culture".

Japan is culturally Chinese/East-Asian, but Westernized as a country, because it has copied the political, economical systems as well as the technologies, dress code and even many eating habits of Western countries.

Index
Apr 29, 2005, 11:45
Does this guy actually separate China from Japan in term of civilization, while he puts all Africa or Latin America in one category ? If so I wouldn't trust him very much.


He does, but remember that his notion of civilization includes the idea of culture as only a part of the definition, as well as other things such as language, institutions, religious customs and history. If you look at it this way then Japan is quite distinct. Other writers such as Gregory Clarke have also put forward the notion of Japan as being a distinctly unique entity; part of Clarke's thesis is that Japan is significantly different because of a lack of outside influences in it's development. He claims that Japan is almost in an earlier state of cultural and social 'evolution' because of this, in the sense that other civlizations have moved on, or added something to their makeup, as a result of the interaction with others.


. The question of this thread was "Is Japan a Western country ?". Country and culture are very different things.

If you are not talking about the concepts that make up the idea of civilization (as defined above), then what do you mean by country? Do you mean the sovereignty of the state then? I don't quite see the distinction you are making Maciamo, could you be a little more specific?


I found it interesting that although some countries that were not ethnically and linguistically Indo-European (e.g. Finland) could be considered as "Western", while others than were almost purely "Aryan" (descendant of Indo-European langauge speakers) and who spoke a Greco-Romance language are sometimes not considered "Western" (e.g. Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Portugal, Greece...), or not as Western as English, German, French or Dutch speaking countries.

Well that's because the term 'western' refers to more than just language. Again, at the risk of being repetitive, if you consider the idea of 'civilization' and it's defintion, it might make more sense. As a matter of fact, in making this statement you have shown that language itself is not adequate in explaining the question of what it means to be western.


I was quite shocked when opening a book about body language, the Australian author considered that the "Italians" were not Westerners. What country can be more Western than Italy, heir of the Roman Empire, Western Christianity, the Renaissance, Humanism, and even fascism ?

That does sound peculiar. I wonder what he had in mind.


On the other hand, the US, which is only 71% "white" (much less than Argentina or Uruguay) is typically called "Western". For other people, countries like Bolivia or Peru, which only have a minority of "whites" (15% and 12%) are considered as Western because it is part of the Western sphere of influence, and use a "Western" political and economical system. As the definition of "Westernness" is not clear, I was arguing that if Bolivia, Peru or Mexico can be called Western, then Japan also should, as it is more Westernized than these countries. Remember that the original question is about the "country" not the "culture".[/QUOTE

Well it's not a matter of ethnicity either-state and nation are two disitnct concepts too. Nations can exist without a state (eg. Kurds), and states can consist of more than one nation.

In my mind Peru, Bolivia or Mexico wouldn't belong in the Western group. Are these countries really considered as Western?

[QUOTE]Japan is culturally Chinese/East-Asian, but Westernized as a country, because it has copied the political, economical systems as well as the technologies, dress code and even many eating habits of Western countries.

What is it about Japan that you would say it is culturally like China Maciamo?

I think dress code is insignificant because most of the world has taken on so called 'western ways' of dress to some degree, including China for that matter. Anyway, don't forget that what you say is 'western' clothing is quite distinct from traditional European dress for example. Maybe you mean 'American' way of dressing in relation to casual styles?

What do you mean by eating habits? Do you mean diet, cutlery, number of meals per day, meal times?

How relevant is political system? Western European states have had various forms of government, not always consistent accross states at any one particular point in time, yet they are Western. China is a communist state, like Cuba, North Korea and the former U.S.S.R., yet these countries are clearly not in the same 'civilization group'.

As an interesting point,these days the distinction between north and south has become popular, rather than east and west. ie. developed vs. developing.

Maciamo
Apr 29, 2005, 12:16
He does, but remember that his notion of civilization includes the idea of culture as only a part of the definition, as well as other things such as language, institutions, religious customs and history. If you look at it this way then Japan is quite distinct.

Do you mean more distinct than the hundreds of unrelated African ethnic groups speaking about 240 languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#Languages) belonging to 6 families of languages ?

Japanese language is closely related to Korean (about 70% of similarity, including most of the grammar). Ethnically the Japanese come from Korea, so nothing unique there too.


If you are not talking about the concepts that make up the idea of civilization (as defined above), then what do you mean by country?

This thread is not about civilisation but country, in the modern sense of the term (nation-state, with a government, institutions, companies, people, products...).


Well it's not a matter of ethnicity either-state and nation are two disitnct concepts too. Nations can exist without a state (eg. Kurds), and states can consist of more than one nation.

Then we could say that as a nation Japan is not Western, but as a state it is. Maybe that is also how Bolivia, Peru or Mexico are considered. Btw, if these countries aren't Western for you, are Argentina, Chile or even Brazil Western or not ? (and why)


What is it about Japan that you would say it is culturally like China Maciamo?

Well all the things I mention in the first paragraph : Confucianism, Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, the Kanji (and with them half of the words in Japanese), the Chinese zodiac & calendar (although this latter was changed to the Western one, but the traditional Japanese New Year (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15652) was the same as the Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese one), legends (e.g. tanabata), traditions (e.g. hina matsuri), martial arts, traditional architecture, ancient political system, fireworks, traditional "Japanese" paper, etc, etc.


I think dress code is insignificant because most of the world has taken on so called 'western ways' of dress to some degree, including China for that matter.

Most countries in the world have become at least partly Westernized. But 99% of the Japanese now wear Western clothes on a daily basis, a much higher percentage than in Middle-Eastern countries, Africa, India or even Bolivia.


How relevant is political system? Western European states have had various forms of government, not always consistent accross states at any one particular point in time, yet they are Western. China is a communist state, like Cuba, North Korea and the former U.S.S.R., yet these countries are clearly not in the same 'civilization group'.

You seem to forget that communism is a Western concept, and for me the political system of China is as Western as it gets from this point of view. The old non-Western political system of Japan before Meiji was very different, in the way that there was no central government but "countries" () ruled by a daimyo, no parliament, no sense real nationality, no family names registered by the government for all the people, no such concept as civil law, citizen's rights, etc. Of course, all these developed quite recently in the West too (well, the first parliament was 1000 years ago, and family names for everyone over 500 years ago in some countries, but citizens' rights didn't appear until the 18th century). But other countries could have developed a modern political system culturally distinct from the Euro-American one. Instead, Japan or China decided to adopt Western systems, so they became westernized.


As an interesting point,these days the distinction between north and south has become popular, rather than east and west. ie. developed vs. developing.

Well, Japan is a pretty Southern country - same latitude as the South of Spain and Italy, North Africa, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc.

Index
Apr 29, 2005, 16:42
Do you mean more distinct than the hundreds of unrelated African ethnic groups speaking about 240 languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#Languages) belonging to 6 families of languages ?

Japanese language is closely related to Korean (about 70% of similarity, including most of the grammar). Ethnically the Japanese come from Korea, so nothing unique there too.



Like I said, civilization is not a matter of just one thing. Language, culture, history, institutions and religion are also relevant.


This thread is not about civilisation but country, in the modern sense of the term (nation-state, with a government, institutions, companies, people, products...).

Is this the definition of a nation-state? Sounds like the definition of a civilization to me. The idea of a nation-state has only been around since the Treaty of Westphalia, in the middle of the sixteenth century. Governments, institutions, companies, people and products, on the other hand, have been around for much longer. Nation-states differed from what existed before in that they gained sovereignty.

Actually, the idea of sovereignty is in question these days and one could ask whether it will be around for much longer. The rise of multi-national corporations, international war courts, NGO's, and events such as the U.S. led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan are changing the way nation-states and their sovereignty is being perceived. Alternatively, institutions, companies, people and products (ie. civilizations) will continue to exist even if sovereign nation-states do not.


Btw, if these countries aren't Western for you, are Argentina, Chile or even Brazil Western or not ? (and why)

Good question. I might have to get back to you with a more thought out answer later. For now I would say that it is because South America has a distinct history from that of Europe (and the U.S. as an extension) and also differences in ethnicity, language, and culture. Do you think economy is relevant here?


Well all the things I mention in the first paragraph : Confucianism, Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, the Kanji (and with them half of the words in Japanese), the Chinese zodiac & calendar (although this latter was changed to the Western one, but the traditional Japanese New Year was the same as the Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese one), legends (e.g. tanabata), traditions (e.g. hina matsuri), martial arts, traditional architecture, ancient political system, fireworks, traditional "Japanese" paper, etc, etc.

I meant to ask you about civiliation, rather than culture but no matter. All the things you mention may have come from China (though Buddhism is originally from India), but they have evolved and taken on their own distinctive nature in the Japanese environment, resulting in something distinctive enough for Japan to be considered a separate civilization. Martial arts are not Chinese; there are forms of it all aver the world as I mentioned in your 'Greatest Japanese Inventions' thread. Fireworks also exist in western culture, but that does not mean the west is Chinese in culture, does it? Ideas are born and exported to other parts of the world, where they continue to develop and make up the tapestry of civilizations and their culture. The west now uses the Hindu-Arabic numeration system, but that doesn't make the west Middle Eastern, Arabic, or Islamic.



You seem to forget that communism is a Western concept, and for me the political system of China is as Western as it gets from this point of view.

The light bulb is also a western invention but it doesn't make the countries which use it western. Obviously this is a simplistic analogy, but ideas may be born in one place and can evolve and change in other places. Chinese communism is quite different from what the Soviets knew. The Soviet Union was never considered western either, despite being communist, nor were the countries behind the Iron Curtain (which soon will be considered western no doubt).


The old non-Western political system of Japan before Meiji was very different

It was a form of feudalism, which existed in Europe also. The Japanese didn't take it from Europe however; it evolved concurrently and independantly, like many inventions do as a matter of fact. The point is that it communism or democracy could have developed on their own in China or Japan, just like feudalism did.


Well, Japan is a pretty Southern country - same latitude as the South of Spain and Italy, North Africa, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc.

Maybe the distinction comes from northern vs. southern hemisphere and the countries which are in each. Northern states means developed, whilst south refers to developing.

Meiki
Apr 29, 2005, 18:55
Japan is culturally Chinese/East-Asian, but Westernized as a country, because it has copied the political, economical systems as well as the technologies, dress code and even many eating habits of Western countries.



Well, then I consider other white countries also westernized, because they also copied the political, economical systems of the Roman Empire.
And Holland and Belgium, etc. have also been westernized, because they have copied the dresscodes and eating habits.

It's actually what you call westernization. The modern western lifestyle comes from the US.

Countries like Holland, Belgium used to go to the US to see the technologies there and bring it home. So they copied the technologies from the US.
Shopping as leisure also comes from the US.

I don't think you can put all white countries under the term western culture.
Because, democracy comes from Greece.

Other countries copied it, including Japan.

All countries have their own eating habits.

But I think the most known are the american ones. They are considered by us as normal. We also copy the american eating habits.

A lot of European countries have been heavily influenced by the US.

But I love the fact some of these countries have spared their own cultural aspects, like France, Italy and Spain. They have things that you can only encounter in their countries.

If Japanese like to salsa-dance, is that also copieng a western thing.
I don't think so. Salsa is something latin. And we shouldn't just include it with western things, just because we can feel good about it.

Anyway, every country has its own culture.

Maciamo
Apr 30, 2005, 15:20
Well, then I consider other white countries also westernized, because they also copied the political, economical systems of the Roman Empire.
And Holland and Belgium, etc. have also been westernized, because they have copied the dresscodes and eating habits.

It doesn't make sense to say that countries that are by definition Western are Westernized. Do you even know how much the political and economical systems of Europe have evolved since Roman times ? It looks like you have little idea about what you are talking about. Eating habits and dress code ? Are you saying that the eating habits and dress code are the same in ANY modern European countries as in Ancient Rome ? We surely do wear toga everyday. :D Most of the European cusine now didn't exist in Ancient times, btw.


It's actually what you call westernization. The modern western lifestyle comes from the US.

:D Rarely heard such nonsensical comment. Take a good look at American public buildings, courts, the White House and Capitol, etc. What does it remind you of ? Ancient Greece and Rome. Look at US laws (e.g. common law). Does it come from the English legal system ? Don't the agrarian and industrial revolution come from Europe ? Doesn't economic liberalism come from Britain ? Universal suffrage was first proclaimed in New Zealand (in 1893), then in 10 European countries and Canada before the US. Feminism originated in Western Europe in the 18th century. There are more Italian or French restaurants in the US than American ones in all Europe (including McDonald's). Most sports commonly practised in Europe originated in Europe. Most of the food eaten in Europe in European (with Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese or American food only becoming popular a few decades ago, but only in restaurants - people don't normally cook these at home). Most of the fashion world is dominated by European (mostly French, Italian and British, but also German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish...) designers. So how could you say such things as "the modern western lifestyle comes from the US" and not be embarased ?


Countries like Holland, Belgium used to go to the US to see the technologies there and bring it home. So they copied the technologies from the US.

What are you talking about ?

Just have a look at this (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16138), and see how many inventions are from the US.


A lot of European countries have been heavily influenced by the US.

I think European countries have influenced more the US than the other way round. Even the democratic ideals of the American revolution come from European thinkers of the Enlightenment period.

Your whole post doesn't make much sense as Europe and the US are the same civilisation (group of culture with the same roots), and each countries have always influenced each others, even ruled each others, in history. What's more most of the languages are related too (except Basque, Finnish, Hungarian...).

AngkorianKnight
Jun 3, 2005, 03:44
I don't think Japan is western, but it is influenced by western pop culture. They sort of make things their own.

Tonysoong
Jun 8, 2005, 05:28
An oriental in a western coat, which suits well though.

Ma Cherie
Jun 8, 2005, 05:37
I am late, of course, but even after reading some of the post, I don't believe Japan is a Western country. We all know it's been influenced by the West possibly more than any other Asian nation.

Tonysoong
Jun 8, 2005, 05:49
More by the west than any other Asian county--- in modern times, Ma Cherie

Tim33
Jun 8, 2005, 06:32
It is has evolved into a better standard of living like most western countries have. Its government/wealth/social scene is more western then other asian countries.

Tonysoong
Jun 8, 2005, 16:28
It is has evolved into a better standard of living like most western countries have. Its government/wealth/social scene is more western then other asian countries.

Sure, a general trend since the beginning of modern times, in which Japan has taken the lead as far as it goes now. But there is something deep in the culture you can't expect to change, like religiion, ancestry and its heritage.etc. it would be too radical if otherwise, i think. :-)

Anatolian
Jun 11, 2005, 10:18
Looking at Geographically Japan most certainly is NOT western! But technology-wise they are. However why should the US and Europe not be called Eastern then because Japanese Technology far surpasses theirs : )

I hope Japan never loses its ancient roots and customs to a relentless wave of "western" influences. Even though modern Japan intrigues me, there's something about old Japan, and the noble Samurai heritage that is mystical to me. Maybe they echo my forfathers of Attila and the Turkic warriors..

Brittany
Jun 11, 2005, 11:21
Japan's landscape is so intruging, beautiful, and different from America's .. and Japan is so advanced in a lot of things such as technology so I wouldn't call it a Western country.

It's true that Japan was/is influenced by Western culture, but Japan still has its own roots.

Kimota
Jun 15, 2005, 00:21
Japan modeled almost all of its modern institutions on Western countries. In this respect, it is Westernized.

The only country I've visited in Asia more Westernized than Japan is Singapore.

Meiki
Jun 20, 2005, 05:35
yeah, but the idea of democracy comes from Greece. I don't think it's fair to put all certain things under the term western. Cause some countries are just in the 'western' area and didn't contribute **** to the so-called western 'civilisation'.
Why don't we cut out with the 'western' ****. Even though the word 'eastern' exist, could you really put China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, and any other asian country together in one group? One has/had a far greater influence, makes/ made a greater contribution, and rocks the other out.
In terms of modern live, I think it's the USA, 'we' gave people Mc Donald, cornflakes, refridgerator, shopping as a spare time activity, and what not. But then countries in Europe take it over, and then it's like 'western'. Right. I do have respect for the contributions France, England, Italy, Greece and Germany made though.
Japan actually seem only to think of America when it comes to a country other than east-asian ones.

Maciamo
Jun 22, 2005, 00:26
Looking at Geographically Japan most certainly is NOT western! But technology-wise they are. However why should the US and Europe not be called Eastern then because Japanese Technology far surpasses theirs

Westerness has little to do with technology. It's more about the system and cultural, political and scientific heritage. Let say that the Western vs Eastern division originally means Europe vs Asia, but was shattered by the European expansion in the Americas and Oceania. Well, if it was only for the American continent, we could still say that Europe and the Americas were Western because of geography. But that doesn't work with Australia and NZ. So Western has come to mean people who have inherited, as I said, the system, culture, etc. of Europe.

But it is no limited to people of European descent, as many africans, asians and 'mixed races' both in Europe and the Americas have also become Westerners, absorbed by the culture and system of the country they reside in.

The purpose of this thread was mostly to determine whether the Japanese have absorbed enough of the Western system (politics, economy, sciences, education...) and culture (incl. language, food, clothes, music, lifestyle...) to be considered Western. If we only compare one European/North American country with Japan, the answer seems to be 'no'. However, looking at how Japan was before the Meiji revolution (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/meiji_revolution.shtml) and how it is now, we can only say that most things found in Japan have been Westernized and very little remain of the original culture. Ironically, what remains most of the 'Japanese' culture and system is what came from China, i.e. the Kanji, Confucianism (e.g. seniority system and politeness system)...

About everything else has been Westernized : the clothes, food (e.g. dairy products and meat, none of whcih were eaten before Meiji), political system (democracy with political parties), technology and education (copied on the American model after WWII)... Even the main Western 'traditional events' such as the New Year (Japan used the Chinese New Year before Meiji, but now celebrates it on 1st January), Xmas or Valentine's have become more important than the traditional Sino-Japanese or Buddhist ones.

But looking at it like that, few countries in the world if any have resisted westernization. Japan is however one of the most Westernized countries in Asia, along with Singapore and South Korea. Sometimes I am really surprised at how many English words are used in everyday Japanese. I think no European language uses nearly as many.

Meiki
Jun 28, 2005, 00:02
"But looking at it like that, few countries in the world if any have resisted westernization. Japan is however one of the most Westernized countries in Asia, along with Singapore and South Korea. Sometimes I am really surprised at how many English words are used in everyday Japanese. I think no European language uses nearly as many."


Whahahaha, will you cut out with the western crap. It's not like your country Belgium has done a lot for Japan. Belgium has been influenced a lot by the US. A lot of modern stuff comes from the US. Not only the US, but also France, Germany, etc. Democracy is Greece, for example. WhAHHAHAHAHA European nationality, your sucky country could never ever ever become a superpower or anything significant by itself, that's why. And I know Belgian chocolates are really yummy, but chocolate is not an original belgin thing.

bossel
Jun 28, 2005, 10:27
"But looking at it like that, few countries in the world if any have resisted westernization. Japan is however one of the most Westernized countries in Asia, along with Singapore and South Korea. Sometimes I am really surprised at how many English words are used in everyday Japanese. I think no European language uses nearly as many."


Whahahaha, will you cut out with the western crap. It's not like your country Belgium has done a lot for Japan. Belgium has been influenced a lot by the US. A lot of modern stuff comes from the US. Not only the US, but also France, Germany, etc. Democracy is Greece, for example. WhAHHAHAHAHA European nationality, your sucky country could never ever ever become a superpower or anything significant by itself, that's why. And I know Belgian chocolates are really yummy, but chocolate is not an original belgin thing.
You quote him about English language in Japan & then you criticise him on being Belgian? What's the point?

Kinsao
Jun 28, 2005, 16:59
I haven't read the thread from the beginning unfortunately... but I agree with Maciamo's interesting comment about Westernization.

Also, though, there are other ways in which cultures are shared and balances get redressed. At the moment there seems a lot of countries 'Westernized' in the sense of having absorbed a lot of the culture that originated from Europe (and later from the US). But with better communications, more people find out about all different things... other countries and cultures... I think in the future, perhaps 'Westernization' isn't so rapid. I can envisage that some cultural things become more homogenous and less 'cultural divide', between all countries. It can already be seen happening - but of course, I look into a far future rather than the near one.

Oh, and let's not insult each other's countries, OK? :(

Silverbackman
Aug 7, 2005, 17:36
Well it does depend how you look at it sort of. Japan is a very modern rich country but if we are going to say that modern and rich countries are western I think that is a bit rude;).

I think it more has to do with values. Despite the fact that Europe is becoming largelly non-religious, it still holds still to judeo-christian values. Even those who classify themselves as non-religious still partake in many western judeo-christian traditions such as christmas. Even if a nation is not religious the traditions and culture from it are enough to classify them.

For example in th East many Japanese still hold true to many shinto-buddhist values despite many not bein religious at all. In fact there are only 4 million actual shinto-buddhist followers, the rest of the 100 million are only shinto-buddhist by name. Despite this fact many still partake in shinto-buddhist traditions.

Japan has been heavily influenced by the west and some people would say Japan is the most "western" of all countries.

However when it comes down to the fundementals Japanese have a very different culture and tradition than people of Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA, and Canada. The West has more judeo-christian traditions and culture while Japan has more shinto-buddhist traditions and culture. It has nothing with being religious, it more based IMO more on culture and tradition;).

celtician
Sep 4, 2005, 22:46
Japan is basically a Chinese/Korean country with many other races ...that's why they are so confused!!

celtician
Sep 4, 2005, 22:56
Just have a quick look at their faces Mostly Mongolian plus Chinese mostly and Korean and a lot of other races to improve their strength, stock and (esthetically) beauty by mixing with Belgians, Americans, French,British etc. Japanese want to improve their poor stock to produce the Jap ideal ....The KawAIEEEEEEEE! not beautiful. to be sold on in the next advertising campaign.

celtician
Sep 4, 2005, 23:05
Japan is Different, Different than any other place on earth, it is the most technoligacally advances socity in the world while at the same time holding some of the oldest traditions. Asian a weird term, most people almost always think ""Chinese" when you say Asian. and no one considers Russia Asian, Russia is very western and takes up basically half of the contanant of Aisa. Japan is Asian but is becoming more western everyday!
A "square boy" who doesn't realise that japan has copied every tech. development to get where it is today. japan is retro

Kinsao
Sep 5, 2005, 00:19
I agree with Silverbackman. 'Western' or otherwise has more to do with culture than whether a country is rich or technologically advanced. With better information communications, and travel, people of different cultures can find out more about other cultures, and so naturally things tend to get a bit intermingled, with various things getting 'stolen' from one culture into another... but I think at this stage that Japan is still quite different from 'Western' countries because of its different roots, despite a kind of pervasive Western 'veneer'.

@ Celtician: I hope you're not saying that Belgians, Americans, French and British (and the etc.!) are aesthetically better-looking than Japanese? Or are you saying that you feel that's the way Japanese marketers perceive it? :? Because to say they are 'poor stock' is nonsense.

Ravenwood
Jan 22, 2006, 04:47
I do not believe Japan is a Western country and, frankly, why would they want to be? They were better off when their country was unpolluted by Western habits and "cuisine".

傫AJl
Feb 5, 2006, 09:07
its getting there

yukio_michael
Feb 5, 2006, 23:30
its getting thereIn what way? Family structure, diet, work environment, social mores, ideology, national identity, economy, luxury good consumption, education, health care, poverty, quality of life?
In what way is it "getting there?"


I do not believe Japan is a Western country and, frankly, why would they want to be? They were better off when their country was unpolluted by Western habits and "cuisine".What is your agenda with Japan and its diet? You might try visiting the country before you decry the brutal imperialist conquest of the Western food industry--- what you're saying is simply ignorant conjecture mixed with some idealistic personal opinion.

You act like the backpackers who wont pay more than five dollars a day for lodging and complain about a new McDonalds ruining their version of Thailand. Guess what, the world is not your amusement park.

Ravenwood
Feb 7, 2006, 07:47
Yukio -

I do not understand your hostility toward me. I have great respect for your country.

I have followed the negative influence of Western culture in your country very carefully for many years. The US is ruining your culture. Does that not disturb you?

Vilifying me and essentially calling me a cheapskate with unreasonable expectations is unfair. It happens that I live in a landlocked state in the US and I pay a fortune to eat Japanese cuisine. I do so without complaint because it is so healthy.

If you want to be nasty to someone, choose someone who deserves your ire. There are plenty of people who are far more appropriate targets.

UPDATE -

I have reviewed your profile and observe that you are an American. Your opinion has, therefore, become irrelevant to me. I assumed you were Japanese.

All you have done is further erode my opinion of my own countrymen. My opinion about the effects of Western culture on Japan stand.

America has polluted Japan and Japan is the worse for it.

Puff
Feb 7, 2006, 08:26
I guess that is depends on each person's views. I don't know if Japan is a western country but that is just me

godppgo
Feb 7, 2006, 09:16
I do not believe Japan is a Western country and, frankly, why would they want to be? They were better off when their country was unpolluted by Western habits and "cuisine".

Would you care to elaborate more on what "western habits" have polluted Japan?

One of the reasons why I like Japan is how motivated it try to constantly "update" itself from observing others. If you are interested in the origin of Japan's westernization, I would suggest reading Fukuzawa Yukichi's { and 脫_. From an asian point of view, I can assure you the pros of being westernized is much more than the cons in today's world.

J44xm
Feb 7, 2006, 09:57
One of the reasons why I like Japan is how motivated it try to constantly "update" itself from observing others. [...] From an asian point of view, I can assure you the pros of being westernized is much more than the cons in today's world.
That's a nice view of things you have. And it's true that being at least partly westernized is beneficial in several ways. Japan isn't "western" but it certainly is westernized to a substantial degree. The amalgamation of eastern traits and western traits is one of the subjects about Japan that interests me the most, honestly.

Ravenwood
Feb 7, 2006, 10:13
Would you care to elaborate more on what "western habits" have polluted Japan?
One of the reasons why I like Japan is how motivated it try to constantly "update" itself from observing others. If you are interested in the origin of Japan's westernization, I would suggest reading Fukuzawa Yukichi's 勸學 and 脫亞論. From an asian point of view, I can assure you the pros of being westernized is much more than the cons in today's world.
Food
Clothing
Hair Styles
Youth Attitudes
Foul Language
Vulgar Public Behavior
Erosion of Cultural Values & Traditions
Ghastly Music

. . . to name a few.

Do you not see the irony in an American mourning Japanese culture? My culture is ruining yours and you do not seem at all concerned. It is shocking and very sad.

Do you not care about the integrity of your culture?

J44xm
Feb 7, 2006, 10:45
Foreign food, clothing, and hair styles are intrinsically bad? Should Japanese people not be allowed to try and even like western food? Youths never had attitudes, neither was there foul language nor vulgar public behavior, before exposure to western influence? As for the erosion of cultural values and traditions, I'm pretty sure that cultures evolve, sometimes even assimilating values and styles from other countries. They don't stay locked in some sort of freeze-dried wrapping for all time. Too, I'm pretty sure Japan has discarded a number of values and traditions over the centuries, far predating before western influence. And "Ghastly music"? That doesn't even sound serious.

I think that, first, you are probably confusing westernization with industrialization, to some degree; and second, that you have a very romanticized view of Japan itself and of culture in general.

godppgo
Feb 7, 2006, 14:07
My culture is ruining yours and you do not seem at all concerned. It is shocking and very sad.
Do you not care about the integrity of your culture?

Your culture will influence mine either through force or affection. The former usually results in colonization and systematic wiping out the culture being colonized. The latter is a more passive and slow adaptation of a new culture. Japan suits the latter case. However, many Asian countries had to go through the former process. The superior culture will ultimately consume the inferior ones as a result of human pursue for a better way of living. If you are from a country of western origin, then it might be hard for you to imagine how it feels like to be overpowered by another culture. Survival becomes the priority of all matters, integrity of my culture is secondary. Sounds harsh but history proves itself to be not too kind to cultures of less influence.

Elizabeth van Kampen
Feb 7, 2006, 14:38
Japan a Western country?
It has always surprised me that even long before WWII the former Dutch East Indies considered as the Japanese as Westerners, but not so the Chinese.
I lived 9 years in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1956 till 1965 and also there the Japanese were considered Europeans but the Chinese were considred as Asians just like the Indians.

The Japanese government worries about the possible future empress, she could marry a foreigner with blue eyes ... a nightmare for the Japanese.

I find the young Japanese generation very modern but most certainly not Western

gaijinalways
Feb 7, 2006, 21:12
Certainly Japan on the surface has some Western concepts; clothing, music, some mannerisms, language, etc.. but the main concepts behind the logic used here which influences society and the manner of governing are definately not Western. Likewise, the values system underpinning all of this is not Western, so in that sense, Japan is not a Western Country.


Note; the old definition of Western based on geographic location no longer seems to apply, though historically, for a country to change completely its ideology usually take a number of years, and it may take on a new form.

Chris Davison
Feb 10, 2006, 00:32
Whale hunting and animal rights show the big differences between Japan
and the UK for example . OK there are anti whaling people in Japan
but many say whale hunting is "Japanese culture" if so, take my word for it
Japan is not "western"

yukio_michael
Feb 10, 2006, 03:33
I have reviewed your profile and observe that you are an American. Your opinion has, therefore, become irrelevant to me. I assumed you were Japanese.I don't think I really care if someone from Wisconsin thinks my opinions on a country I live in are invalidated because I happen not to be Asian.

In any case, don't worry--- what you think is going on, isn't going on... People in Japan largely listen to music, wear clothes, and eat food that is Japanese by nature---

Your opinion is more typical than it is shocking, the fact that whenever someone who is Japanese wears jeans, cowboy boots, or listens to rock-n-roll, they have shilled their ethnicity to the evil West... it's just boring and, frankly--- wrong.

juvi
Feb 10, 2006, 17:01
Whale hunting and animal rights show the big differences between Japan
and the UK for example . OK there are anti whaling people in Japan
but many say whale hunting is "Japanese culture" if so, take my word for it
Japan is not "western"
I don't think this is quite right, I'm from Norway and we have been hunting for whales for ages. And as well as I know we are considered to be western. And I personally don't see anything wrong in it. If we are going to keep on fishing in the scale we do now, we have to kill seals and whales to, but of course in quota.
This was not meant offensive in any way, and I want to make it clear that a lot of people in Norway feel the same way as you Chris Davison this was my opinion.
I just want to say that I don't consider Japan as western, but a mix between Asia and the west.

J44xm
Feb 11, 2006, 00:55
I would not say Japan is western. I would say it's a modern, industrialized eastern country.

Onigiri Chan
Feb 11, 2006, 01:31
I absolutely agree, Japan is not a western country though without a doubt it has been greatly influenced, and so changed.
A culture does not lose its integrity by adopting different clothing styles, hair styles, or music genres. And I'm positive that youth anywhere has attitude. :)

But more than that culture does not lose its defining backbone so easily. Aggravatingly the old "don't judge a book" can be applied here in a number of ways (especially in response to Ravenwood's apparent certainty of the ingredients that make up the "new" Japanese culture)

Ravenwood -- simply because Americans have gained a new respect for an elder culture it does not mean that they are entitled to experiencing it as they see fit.

gaijinalways
Feb 11, 2006, 17:13
A culture does not lose its integrity by adopting different clothing styles, hair styles, or music genres. And I'm positive that youth anywhere has attitude.

Well put. As long as Japan retains a mixture of Confucian and collectivist values, it will never be Western, regardless of the surface (a similar thing was said about Hong Kong before the handover, looks Western, but when you scratch beneath the surface, it's all Chinese). Is that a good thing or bad thing, depends on what values you favor.

Ravenwood -- simply because Americans have gained a new respect for an elder culture it does not mean that they are entitled to experiencing it as they see fit.

Ravenwood, maybe you would be happier over at 'Young Dude's guide to Japan'. Most of the people in that forum live in Japan and are infatuated with it, to the point they don't see any bad qualities in Japan (or just don't want to see them talked about). But if you go over there, wear an abestos suit, the flaming is constant.

Minty
Apr 11, 2006, 01:36
Most Japanese have grown up with American pop culture alongside the japaneseMany Japanese, especially the younger generations embrace more and more Western values, many even give their children western names.

I think there are more Chinese with English/Christian names than Japanese; the Chinese immigration outside of the mainland is by far bigger than Japanese because of communist China. Most immigrants have English/Christian names. American pop is everywhere in Asia except very strict societies like mainland China (which is now changing) and North Korea. If you go to Singapore, Thailand, Hk...etc they are very much influenced by western cultures too. You are right I wouldnft consider these sorts of behaviours as part of the arguments for a country to be considered a western country.:haihai:


Japan... difficult to say. Hmmm, don't you notice the western media like New York Times and the Economists don't really include Japan in Asia? It is always Japan and Asia. Not Japan of Asia.

Thatfs because Americans have preferences for Japanese. This seems more like politics to me.


I was quite shocked when opening a book about body language, the Australian author considered that the "Italians" were not Westerners. What country can be more Western than Italy, heir of the Roman Empire, Western Christianity, the Renaissance, Humanism, and even fascism ?

Hmmm from what I Know there are certain amounts of people who donft see Italian as westerners because they are not gwhiteh enough, due to Ottoman Empire invasion. I definitely classify them as westerner. Why do you think Italians have been called gwogsh by some Australians.


On the other hand, the US, which is only 71% "white" (much less than Argentina or Uruguay) is typically called "Western".

Hmmm well for certain people, as long as the "white people" are in power it is considered as a western country.:hihi:


Well put. As long as Japan retains a mixture of Confucian and collectivist values, it will never be Western, regardless of the surface (a similar thing was said about Hong Kong before the handover, looks Western, but when you scratch beneath the surface, it's all Chinese). Is that a good thing or bad thing, depends on what values you favor.

Yes I agree. I think Japan is classified as an Eastern nation still; even she has been very cooperative with the western countries and is a very developed nation.:haihai:

osias
Apr 12, 2006, 01:51
This is a strange question considering the fact Maciamo always refers to himself as a westerner in contrast to the Japanese.

Wang
Apr 12, 2006, 02:07
Japan is not a western country. Only on the surface does it look kind of western, but not if you dig deeper.

I find it funny and sad that this old topic is still going on although one of the reasons for that is that many new people on this forum repeat the same questions over and over about Japan probably.

Meiki
Apr 15, 2006, 04:33
What does ''western'' mean?

I know that Japan is more advanced in several fields than other countries. In some things Japan is like the US, but also more 'unique' and traditional in other fields.

Problem is that people refer to white people as westerners, while black people are as American as their white fellows.

Japan is certainly no 'white-people's'-country.

I was thinking how Japan might have contributed more to modern society than some other countries outside of Asia or what people call ''western'' countries. Like how they shaped youth's free-time with their game-consoles, games.
And in one period little kids with Pokemon. But a friend of mine who is working in the fashion-field spoke about how Japanese designers made big innovations, contributions to modern clothing, with their special cut's and such.

Maciamo
Jun 4, 2006, 17:28
Hmmm from what I Know there are certain amounts of people who donft see Italian as westerners because they are not gwhiteh enough, due to Ottoman Empire invasion.

Ottomans invading Itay ? Not white enough ? Maybe Sicilians, but many northern Italian are undistinguishable from French people. Some even have blond hair and blue eyes (esp. in the North-East).

ricecake
Jun 13, 2006, 11:02
Japan is NOT a western nation, or at least that is my opinion. I have to agree with what Thomas said about them being "industrialized" not western. They don't have the same beleifs that we do. That is the main factor that seperates them.

Well said .... Japan indeed is AN ORIENTAL COUNTRY.

I would loosely say,Japanese suppress their " eastern-ness " in order to win approval from THE WEST.

godppgo
Jun 14, 2006, 17:28
Well said .... Japan indeed is AN ORIENTAL COUNTRY.
I would loosely say,Japanese suppress their " eastern-ness " in order to win approval from THE WEST.

I beg to differ, Japanese suppress their eastern-ness in order to avoid forced-westernization by the west.

Minty
Jun 16, 2006, 07:11
Ottomans invading Itay ? Not white enough ? Maybe Sicilians, but many northern Italian are undistinguishable from French people. Some even have blond hair and blue eyes (esp. in the North-East).

Yeah I know, such nuisance isn't it, maybe it's because of advertising or stereotypes, the typical European descendant people that are shown in Asian media have green or grey eyes with light brown or blonde hairs.

These kinds of comments would only come from people who never travelled or lived in the Western world.

But in the olden days in Australia I think is because of white Australian policy.

It is a fact Italians were called wogs, along with Persians, Lebanese and Syrians back then.

Minty
Jun 30, 2006, 07:22
I forgot to mention Greeks were also called wogs back then.

ex-gaijin
Jul 16, 2006, 04:41
I always say ther is Japan and the rest of the world. Japan is not a western country.
1) Having signs and announcemnets in English doesn`t make it a western country.
2) Shopping at Prada, Guggi, Armani doesn`t make a western country.
3)Trying to emulate the western model in everything, from fashion to food, from houses to cars doesn`t make it a western country.

Also, the Japanese mind-set is somewhat unintelligible, something completely different form any other people on earth.

Money, industries, cars an skyscrapers do not necessarely mean western.

The desease of modern Japan is its rapid westernization!

Sukotto
Jul 16, 2006, 05:11
Rather than East/West, another division, though less heard in the industrialized countries is North/South. (Well, less heard of in the US for sure.)

North is the industrialized north, i.e. former colonial rulers,
and South is the 'developing' ex-colonies.

The Group of 7 industrialized countries known as G-7 (now the G-8) are of the North.
The G-77 (now 132 members) to work together to promote their interests.

The Wold Social Forum (which I know little of) might also address views of the G-77/South nations.


Japan is definately of the North


I cannot speak of how it is from other Northern countries,
but from the US there has seemed to be a kind of unspoken assumption that
countries of 'the south' or those without technology were some how un- or less civilized. Messed up, I know.

Sukotto
Jul 16, 2006, 05:22
Also, the Japanese mind-set is somewhat unintelligible,
Um, I think you might want to rephrase this.

ex-gaijin
Jul 16, 2006, 07:02
yeah...English is not my first language, it`s my fourth!

their mind-set is unitelligible..not easy to understand...

lu_bu1977
Jul 17, 2006, 01:06
Guess I will add my opinion as well... No, Japan is certainly not a Western country by any stretch of the imagination but a rather Westernised one.

Some Western folks have made the mistake of thinking it as a Western country and have paid the price by realising their folly first hand when they enter its judicial system. What they would have gotten a slap on the wrist for back in their own countries, e.g. possession and usage of certain narcotics, they end up sitting (literally) in jail for many, many years in Japan. Yes, in spirit, Japan is as east-asian as it gets. The rights of the individual seem to take 2nd place to the good of the majority.

An interesting read:
http://www.phaseloop.com/foreignprisoners/prison-japan.html


ex-gaijin, maybe the word inscrutable would be a more appropriate term.

ex-gaijin
Jul 17, 2006, 04:06
thanks for clarifying...

caster51
Jul 17, 2006, 12:52
japan is not western country at all .
we never had a judge system like a witch hunt....:blush:
anyway I still dont understand what difinition of western is...
politics
culture
army
ideology
religion......
???

osias
Jul 17, 2006, 22:22
It's a westernized country, rather than a western country.

Kinsao
Jul 17, 2006, 23:53
In a lot of ways, the term 'Western' or even 'Westernized' is a bit misleading, because they both make the focus kind of 'geographical'. Whereas really, when people think of 'a Western(ized) country', what they are seeing is a country with certain characteristics associated with countries that are in the West. E.g., industrialization, technology, Gucci... the list can go on. But really, the only thing that makes these things 'Western' is the fact that (geographically) Western countries got them first. Sukotto makes a good point, although referring to north-south issues, in that it's often the degree of 'development' that people think of when thinking of 'Western'-ness.

Sukotto
Jul 18, 2006, 00:06
Would 'westernization' mean the mass consumerism and commercialization that seems to plague the US and Japan?

As far as I'm concerned, in the US at least,
once something, say....music, becomes commercial it looses much of
its culture, if it ever had any in the first place.

Look at the US. So many different cultures.
But you look at television and it looks nothing like any of them.
Perhaps something has to be stripped of culture in order to become commercial? This is speaking from the US only.
I'm not an anthropologist nor have I lived in Japan for any period of time.
I could not answer the question.

caster51
Jul 18, 2006, 11:44
when people think of 'a Western(ized) country',
japan was not westernnized.
Indeed Japan learnt new things from wenternnized country in meiji era.
it means it is not westernized
however basics or fundamentals was better than them even edo era like cvilization , industry, ideology art.....so on
Today's sense of values in the world is subjected by the basis of value of the Western.
Japan must fight in the same ring.
that is why We are following it bacause of the experience of War.

lu_bu1977
Jul 18, 2006, 14:55
Perhaps the most accepted meaning of the term "Westernized", is the degree of uptake of Western-produced technologies and Western (Anglo-saxon) cultural norms.

caster51
Jul 18, 2006, 16:32
I think Japan is not westernized.

However I can say japan is just modernized country.
japan is still isolated
that is why many of them want to westernnize japan even in this forum.
and also china and korea want to easternize Japan :relief: ...
japanese values and thire values are so different, too

ricecake
Jul 18, 2006, 17:09
I think Japan is not westernized.However I can say japan is just modernized country.

japan is still isolated

and also china and korea want to easternize Japan

japanese values and thire values are so different, too



Japan is " technically " westernized modern Oriental island nation.

Japan is still isolated ? :lol:

How can a traditionally Eastern Asian island nation like Japan be "
easternized " by other East Asians ? :lol: :?

Koreans and Japanese " appear culturally Chinese ",but has own respective culture.Japanese is based on shame culture/shame-driven,oppose to both Chinese and Koreans like the Europeans are based on " guilt-driven/consciousness " therefore we are closer to Westerners in this regard.:cool:

caster51
Jul 18, 2006, 17:36
easternized means it is chinalized:relief:
I think china is individualism country more than westerner even though they are ruled by ccp.

osias
Jul 19, 2006, 01:53
,
japan was not westernnized.
Indeed Japan learnt new things from wenternnized country in meiji era.
it means it is not westernized
however basics or fundamentals was better than them even edo era like cvilization , industry, ideology art.....so on
maybe you should define first what you mean by" westernization" and "modernization", and the difference between the two (if there is any).


Today's sense of values in the world is subjected by the basis of value of the Western.
Japan must fight in the same ring.
that is why We are following it bacause of the experience of War.
Quite right. It's like a japanese samurai fighting with a western swordsman. Only the western rules apply on the battlefield, which places the former somewhat at disadvantage, but he gradually learns to follow the western ways.

osias
Jul 19, 2006, 01:54
easternized means it is chinalized:relief:

Never heard the word chinalize.
Sinicization would be a more appropriate word.

ricecake
Jul 19, 2006, 06:07
This one 1980's Japanese TV Meiji Era epic dorama has a scene with narration explained Japanese ruling elites of that time implemented " 2 faces of Japan " policy to present to the world.

The internal side stays as Japanese on preserved traditions,the other side is westernized version of modern Japan to the outside world.

This is what we've generally perceive the artificial-westernized Japanese,in reality Japanese are basically Orientals.

Sukotto
Jul 19, 2006, 07:40
I don't really like the term 'western'. For one thing it and others like it are just more labels to keep us divided. What does the term mean? And who defines it? People in the US? Japan? W Europe? China? Africa? South America? Are S. American countries 'western'? African countries?

Although I never did get around to reading it, the late Edward Said's "Orientalism" written in the 70s is supposed to take on the idea of 'the orient'. An idea constructed by the colonial west to define 'the other', i.e. Asia. According to Said, the Middle East as well as East Asia have historically been considered 'the orient'. Because of his background being of Palestinian descent he focuses mainly on the M.E. with this cultural construct of the 'orient'.

Maybe Said can help us?

Han Chan
Aug 13, 2006, 00:15
I don't really like the term 'western'. For one thing it and others like it are just more labels to keep us divided. What does the term mean? And who defines it? People in the US? Japan? W Europe? China? Africa? South America? Are S. American countries 'western'? African countries?
Although I never did get around to reading it, the late Edward Said's "Orientalism" written in the 70s is supposed to take on the idea of 'the orient'. An idea constructed by the colonial west to define 'the other', i.e. Asia. According to Said, the Middle East as well as East Asia have historically been considered 'the orient'. Because of his background being of Palestinian descent he focuses mainly on the M.E. with this cultural construct of the 'orient'.
Maybe Said can help us?

I read Orientalism. It is a great book.

Said argues that the image of the people of the "orient" have been more dictated by the European dominance and in many cases the images have been more or less inversions of the way Europeans understood - or liked to see themselves.

Quote from Wikipedia: "Said emphasized the relationship between power and knowledge in scholarly and popular thinking, in particular regarding European views of the Islamic Arab world. Said argued that Orient and Occident worked as oppositional terms, so that the "Orient" was constructed as a negative inversion of Western culture."

One strange thing is that sometimes people in Asia have used the orientalist constructions regarding their world as "blue print" to be copied. I once wrote a paper sowing who people in India have used the colonial British romantic image of the harmonic selfsustainable village as the image of the true India. M. Gandhi used this image of the selfsustainable village as a powerful ideal/image in his political struggle!

I find that many of the strange misrepresentations you often find in this forum are products of "orientalist" images. Actually I sometimes find that the way japanese describe themselves are products of western scolars orientalist constructions.

Japanese have embraced western culture for some 150 years. So it is hard to say if japanese are "eastern or western". I guess you could say are among the asians who have been most influenced by "western" culture.

nurizeko
Aug 15, 2006, 16:54
I always figured "Western" refers to majority white culture and parts of the world.

Like, you can be black and born and raised westerner, but you live in a majority white country.

so basically western is Europe and all its white majority former possessions.

That was my take on it.


So no, Japan wouldnt be western by that criteria.

gaijinalways
Aug 15, 2006, 20:45
Geographically and ethinically, Japan would hardly be Western. Also philosophically again, hardly Western. Hard to see how any one would define it as Western, except for usage of some later developed western technology.

nurizeko
Aug 15, 2006, 23:25
Also technology is hardly owned by a race or ethnicity or culture, technology is technology, which is as universal as the sciences its based off.

Its just down to who got to it first.

China and the west had the wheel, it was technology, yet it wasnt Chinese or Western.

Sukotto
Aug 16, 2006, 02:19
I always figured "Western" refers to majority white culture and parts of the world.
Like, you can be black and born and raised westerner, but you live in a majority white country.
so basically western is Europe and all its white majority former possessions.
That was my take on it.
So no, Japan wouldnt be western by that criteria.



This one sort of makes sense.
Given that, I would not defend "western" culture or society as superior
others. Unfortunately it seems like a global version of the KKK's so-called
defense of whatever is "white". And I hear the former in mainstream as well as AM radio talk-shows in the US.
Sad and disgusting.


China invented gun powder, noodles, the compass, whatever else.
Arabic cultures invented the concept of zero and much else.
"Western" culture invented the modern form of rascism and atomic bombs.
Whatever. No one culture, nor group of cultures is superior to another/others. period.

nurizeko
Aug 16, 2006, 03:37
Arabic cultures invented the concept of zero and much else.

Modern numerals, zero and all, originated from the Indian sub-continent.

Just a minor well intentioned correction. :cool:

Maciamo
Aug 21, 2006, 15:52
China invented gun powder, noodles, the compass, whatever else.
Arabic cultures invented the concept of zero and much else.
"Western" culture invented the modern form of rascism and atomic bombs.
Wow ! What a biased view of world history. You'd better check the thread Which country invented what ? (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16138). Nurizeko already corrected you about zero. I don't see much contribution of the Arabic culture into my daily life though.

As for China, we discussed some time ago about Chinese inventions (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19748), and said at the time, after close scrutiny, that China had not made any major invention since the Antiquity. Even then major (non-cultural) inventions can be summarised in a 3 words : paper, block printing, black powder (although not gun powder as they did not invent guns). We are not sure whether the compass was really invented in China.


Whatever. No one culture, nor group of cultures is superior to another/others. period.
I hate that kind of Christian-inspired political correctness and hypocritical statement. In the same way as no two indviduals can be equal, no culture or country in the world are equal. East Asians are much less reluctant than Westerners to admit it because Confucianism (still strong in Japan and South Korea) teaches them that in social relations, when two people meet there is always a person hierarchically higher than the other, based on their age, gender, status, etc. I think that this is a very old-fashioned, sexist and agist (toward younger people) way of seeing the world. But I agree that people are different, in experience, knowledge, intelligence, kindness, mental and physical strength, physical appearance, resistance to diseases, flexibility and a multitude of other things. Societies and cultures are also different, and although it is even more difficult to make the sum of all factors or rate the importance of each factor for cultures than individuals, as we humans cannot help but have values and thus judge, it is inevitable that given a good knowledge of two individuals or two cultures, we will have a preference for one over the other.

It is probably better to compare achievements rather than personal cultural preferences in juding cultures/countries. The fairest way to do it would be to rate the importance of achievements for human kind in general all over the world. For instance, Westerners can live well without cultural Chinese inventions like the accupuncture, arched bridges or traditional Chinese clothes. Likewise the Chinese can live well without Renaissance European garments, medieval armours or Roman acqueducts.

The most difficult thing in comparing cultures is to set a geographic limit to the boundaries of the culture. Should we compare China to England, the UK, Western Europe or all Europe ? I think that Europe is the adequate level, as China also has lots of languages and smaller regional variations in culture, like Europe. Then both are about the same land area (again depending where Europe and China stop geographically - e.g. shall we include Tibet into China and Russia into Europe or not ?).

caster51
Aug 21, 2006, 18:11
Korean Courtiers Observation Mission's Views on Meiji Japan and Projects of Modern State Building

http://www.geocities.com/volodyatikhonov/Huhenglish.htm

moffeltoff
Aug 21, 2006, 18:50
On the one hand yes because Japan has a simular "pop culture" to most other western countrys on the other hand no ,because morality and ethics have a totally different root.

moffeltoff
Aug 21, 2006, 18:53
China invented gun powder, noodles, the compass, whatever else.
Arabic cultures invented the concept of zero and much else.
"Western" culture invented the modern form of rascism and atomic bombs.
Whatever. No one culture, nor group of cultures is superior to another/others. period.

Ehhhmmm... no actually you are totally wrong a person or a group of persons from China or from arabian background developed these things not the whole nation ;)

Dutch Baka
Aug 21, 2006, 19:07
It's easy, Japan is Japan.

Neither Western, nor Asian. Just Japan, so let it be :)

Sukotto
Sep 6, 2006, 03:45
Wow ! What a biased view of world history. You'd better check the thread Which country invented what ? (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16138). Nurizeko already corrected you about zero. I don't see much contribution of the Arabic culture into my daily life though.
As for China, we discussed some time ago about Chinese inventions (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19748), and said at the time, after close scrutiny, that China had not made any major invention since the Antiquity. Even then major (non-cultural) inventions can be summarised in a 3 words : paper, block printing, black powder (although not gun powder as they did not invent guns). We are not sure whether the compass was really invented in China.
I hate that kind of Christian-inspired political correctness and hypocritical statement. In the same way as no two indviduals can be equal, no culture or country in the world are equal. East Asians are much less reluctant than Westerners to admit it because Confucianism (still strong in Japan and South Korea) teaches them that in social relations, when two people meet there is always a person hierarchically higher than the other, based on their age, gender, status, etc. I think that this is a very old-fashioned, sexist and agist (toward younger people) way of seeing the world. But I agree that people are different, in experience, knowledge, intelligence, kindness, mental and physical strength, physical appearance, resistance to diseases, flexibility and a multitude of other things. Societies and cultures are also different, and although it is even more difficult to make the sum of all factors or rate the importance of each factor for cultures than individuals, as we humans cannot help but have values and thus judge, it is inevitable that given a good knowledge of two individuals or two cultures, we will have a preference for one over the other.
It is probably better to compare achievements rather than personal cultural preferences in juding cultures/countries. The fairest way to do it would be to rate the importance of achievements for human kind in general all over the world. For instance, Westerners can live well without cultural Chinese inventions like the accupuncture, arched bridges or traditional Chinese clothes. Likewise the Chinese can live well without Renaissance European garments, medieval armours or Roman acqueducts.
The most difficult thing in comparing cultures is to set a geographic limit to the boundaries of the culture. Should we compare China to England, the UK, Western Europe or all Europe ? I think that Europe is the adequate level, as China also has lots of languages and smaller regional variations in culture, like Europe. Then both are about the same land area (again depending where Europe and China stop geographically - e.g. shall we include Tibet into China and Russia into Europe or not ?).



I guess I stand corrected on a number of semi-popular myths.


I'm not sure if the idea of no one culture being superior to others is christian inspired. I must say I have euro-american roots which would mean christianity probably influenced some of my thinking, so if it is christian inspired, then I guess so.
Given European history in the Americas and the countries that spawned from it, one could easily claim an idea that is inspired by christianity is rather that christians or christianity majority societies are superior. Look at how america's first nations were slaughtered. They were called heathens. Christian peoples mass slaughtered people of supposedly inferior cultures in Germany in WW2.
Such mass slaughters going on in the world today are not unique to those parts of the world. What happens in Rwanda or Liberia or South Africa in recent years happened in other parts of the world already.


But maybe you are right on some cultures being inferior.
The culture of militarism. It's opposite is far better.

I don't mean to make it sound like I think China is better.
Or even Arabic cultures.




I would say that the existance of more or newer technology does NOT make one's culture or society more civilized than than one without it.
"Does an eskimo need a freezer?"

You have an mp3 player? I guess you are more civilized than I with my phonograph or even 8-track - not.


I may be missing some of what you are saying, but I am out of time for right now.

Carlosx2
Sep 6, 2006, 18:56
as far as i see it. The western euro countries are those that put them down on the list to co-oporate with each other in several matters that they all share. That is woh this term came to life. As for when this started, i think the first time was in the second world war when the now euro countries started to work with each other. I know that USA and AUS ect are also western but that more defined by the state of wealth. It are those countries that are far behind or just not near europe (the countries that are connected in one way or the other to each other) or that are no called western by us.

But as you can see Turky which is an Asian countrie will also join Europe. And only because it is a better way to oppose other big nations like the US, Chine ect.

So i think as far of Japan it is almost as western in our oppinion as possible (maybe not for the human rights but many other western countries lack that). IOt sure is the power house of the Asian countries.

Carlosx2
Sep 6, 2006, 19:00
It's easy, Japan is Japan.

Neither Western, nor Asian. Just Japan, so let it be :)


that is not correct. Japan is as asian as it gets. The place on the globe, the artitechture. They will have shared many things with other asian countries. Just look at all the similiarities in martial arts. That is because exchanging styles and thoughts.

Japan is real asian

:souka:

Han Chan
Sep 6, 2006, 19:24
I know that USA and AUS ect are also western but that more defined by the state of wealth.

Japan has a higher Gross National Product per person than most European countries. So this point counters what Carlos tries to argue. As a person who newer went to Japan Carlos argues that the architecture in Japan is asian. It is certainly true if we are talking about traditional architecture, but modern japanese architects are today extremely modern and part of the global community of architects. Many of them were educated in Europe and USA and many are also working in these countries.

Those of us who actually went to Japan are facinated with the mix of traditional and modern - eastern and western which is appearent all over in Japan today.

Maciamo
Sep 6, 2006, 23:21
Japan has a higher Gross National Product per person than most European countries.
This may have been true 10 or 15 years ago, but things have changed a lot since then. Japan now only ranks 14th for GDP per capita (nominal) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita) and 16th for GDP per capita at PPP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita), after almost only Western countries (+ Qatar). Japan ranks 18th for GDP per capita per hour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita_per_ hour), a better indicator of productivity.

If you consider the high number of poor foreign residents (non naturalised immigrants) in the UK, France and Germany, and the huge black economy of Italy (estimated around 15-20% of GDP by the Economist magazine), all these countries easily beat Japan in GDP per capita of their nationals.


So this point counters what Carlos tries to argue.
The terms "Western" or "Eastern" refer mainly to a country's culture and ethnicity, not its economic level. Otherwise Hong Kong would not be Eastern while being part of China, and Eastern Europe, Greece or Portugal wouldn't be Western, which is nonsensical.

As a person who newer went to Japan Carlos argues that the architecture in Japan is asian.
I suppose he meant "East Asian". Obviously Japan share little 'Asianness' with Iraq or Bangladesh.

It is certainly true if we are talking about traditional architecture, but modern japanese architects are today extremely modern and part of the global community of architects.
So do China or Korea. But tall glass and concrete towers are certainly more a feature of modern East Asian culture than European ones.

Those of us who actually went to Japan are facinated with the mix of traditional and modern - eastern and western which is appearent all over in Japan today.
Again, same for Korea and China, and even Thailand and Malaysia, which kind of proves Carlos' point.

Han Chan
Sep 7, 2006, 01:33
When starting this thread Maciamo wrote:

....First, the geographical opposition between Europe and Asia, but that alone has turned out to be a too simple definition, as Australia or New Zealand are more East than Asia, but definitely Western. So is it a cultural or ethnic distinction rather purely geographical ?
Secondly, Western used to refer to the Capitalist world during the cold war. The East-West opposition was especially valid for Europe, but on a global point of view, America the NATO countries laid West, while the communist world (not only the USSR, but also China and North Korea) laid East.
Finally (I think), most Europeans consider that a Western country is about the same as an industrialised/developped one.
The 2 latter points, Japan is definitely Western.

....and today in response to my statement: "Japan has a higher Gross National Product per person than most European countries." - "This may have been true 10 or 15 years ago, but things have changed a lot since then. Japan now only ranks 14th for GDP per capita (nominal) and 16th for GDP per capita at PPP, after almost only Western countries (+ Qatar). Japan ranks 18th for GDP per capita per hour, a better indicator of productivity."

Does this mean that you changed your mind regarding Japan beeing a industrialised/developped country?

As Japan ranks close to UK and Germany I would still regard it as very wealthy. There are so many European countries below this level, but still you would not argue that Portugal or Poland is Eastern. Or would you?

I agree that the term Eastern is rather cultural than economic. However even from a cultural perspective Japan today is very much influenced by "Western" culture. Japan is unique - and maybee that is why it does not fit well into any category.

ricecake
Sep 7, 2006, 03:16
Japan is as asian as it gets.They will have shared many things with other asian countries.

Japan is real asian



Yep,a few Japanese are white-wannabes and vise-versa.

It's the Japan-phile Westerners prefer Japanese as NON-Asians,it feeds some people's egos for sure.

ricecake
Sep 7, 2006, 03:28
Carlos argues that the architecture in Japan is asian. It is certainly true if we are talking about traditional architecture, but modern japanese architects are today extremely modern and part of the global community of architects. Many of them were educated in Europe and USA and many are also working in these countries.



There are NON-Japanese Asians world class engineers and whatnots,do you ever regard them closer to Western Club ?

S Korea,Singapore,Malaysia,and Hong Kong have many visible modern architectures with a few are designed by native sons and educated in Europe and USA.Do you ever include these NON-Japan Asian nations,a part of so-called Western Architecture Cultural Club ?

The bottom line is who you rather FANCY,as often reflect this view in your posts.

It's the subservient Asian-mentality traditional culturally-Oriental Japanese girls Western men romanticize.Where is the Western-ness,entertain us please ?

Han Chan
Sep 7, 2006, 04:22
There are NON-Japanese Asians world class engineers and whatnots,do you ever regard them closer to Western Club ?
S Korea,Singapore,Malaysia,and Hong Kong have many visible modern architectures with a few are designed by native sons and educated in Europe and USA.Do you ever include these NON-Japan Asian nations,a part of so-called Western Architecture Cultural Club ?
The bottom line is who you rather FANCY,as often reflect this view in your posts.
It's the subservient Asian-mentality traditional culturally-Oriental Japanese girls Western men romanticize.Where is the Western-ness,entertain us please ?

I do not claim that there are not other people in Asian countries which are influenced by western culture. However, after its isolation during the Edo regime, Japan has strived to learn from the outside world. I am not the one who want to divide the world into East-West. Actually as the world is becoming ever more globalized it becomes more and more imposible to fit ever more diverse countries into generalized categories.

The only reason for be to mention architecture is the fact that Carlos claimed that japanese architecture is "real" asian. To this I would claim that most modern architects all over the world including, japanese and other asian, are working across borders and freely cross-fertilizing each other with ideas and inspiration.

And yes, I am a man from the "west", but I do certainly not fit into the stereotype of "romantizicing the subservient Asian-mentality traditional culturally-Oriental Japanese girls". Actually I think you either confuse me with someone else or you are merely trying to provoke me?

doinkies
Sep 7, 2006, 04:33
And yes, I am a man from the "west", but I do certainly not fit into the stereotype of "romantizicing the subservient Asian-mentality traditional culturally-Oriental Japanese girls". Actually I think you either confuse me with someone else or you are merely trying to provoke me?

Yeah, I don't think Han is that kind of person...ricecake must have been confusing him with Ghettodoink :p

Maciamo
Sep 7, 2006, 05:03
When starting this thread Maciamo wrote:
....and today in response to my statement:
...
Does this mean that you changed your mind regarding Japan beeing a industrialised/developped country?

Do you realise that this thread was started almost 4 years ago ! What is more, since the beginning of the thread I have questioned the definition of "Western" before being able to give an answer so as whether Japan can be called a Western country or not. My opinion has only been made in the course of this thread (over the years), and I have come to the conclusion (after years in Japan) that Japan is a quite economically developed country (although not so regarding social laws), but with a clear Eastern Asian culture, with a mentality still strongly influenced by Confucianism and Taoism (not so by Buddhism though), and with many cultural elements copied or adapted from China (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19765) (something that I would not have believed a few years ago, but which a deeper analysis revealed).



As Japan ranks close to UK and Germany I would still regard it as very wealthy.

But one of the foundation of individual wealth is one's home (the most expensive purchase in a lifetime for most people), and Japanese home just cannot compare in size, level of comfort or esthetical beauty with good European houses (I am not talking about the tiny working class terraced houses built during the industrial revolution).


There are so many European countries below this level, but still you would not argue that Portugal or Poland is Eastern. Or would you?

Exactly ! I have come to the conclusion that "Westernness" is defined by a European heritage, be it cultural and/or genetic. A country's system (e.g. parliamentary democracy and capitalism) alone does not qualify for Westernness.

Han Chan
Sep 7, 2006, 06:29
Dear Maciamo

Thank you for the clarification. I do think that we agree in general. When you reflect on the experiences you get as foreigner in Japan you become aware that Japan is so many things at the same time. Sometimes the image becomes blurred and apprently there are even many conflicting issues. Further the country is constantly evolving. It think that this gradual change in perspective is natural and the more you know a country - just like a person - you accept that the image becomes more and more detailed. I can certainly see that you have gathered a lot of usefull information and great links in this website.

What makes my blod boil is when a person who have not even been to Japan can flatly state: "Japan is as asian as it gets". I think everyone is entitled to their point of view, but when people who have not even been to Japan comes with very black and white statements like this I get a bit provoked.

Before I knew any japanese I had heard that it was imposible to communicate with them. I was told that they only said: Hai hai - aa so desu ka? Actually since I got to know japanese - both friends and my family - I realised that communication with japanese is very easy for me. Actually all the stereotypes I had heard about Japan had been countered by my own experiences. Therefore I am very much against people merely repeating stereotypes and generalizations. One of the great things about this forum is that people can get a more detailed - and maybe true - picture of Japan.

:wave: