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View Poll Results: Is Japan a Western country (please read the thread before)

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  • Yes

    35 9.80%
  • Maybe, depends how you see it

    123 34.45%
  • No

    186 52.10%
  • Don't know

    13 3.64%
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Thread: Is Japan a Western country ?

  1. #276
    Regular Member Han Chan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjones View Post
    You dont need any politics, just look at the map.
    So Australia and New Zeeland are Eastern countries?
    There are good and bad people everywhere

  2. #277
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    I don't class any country as western. If you are European, you are European. Although being North American is a very similar lifestyle with similar morals and technology etc, it isn't the same as being European. Japan is Japan, not China or India.

    Different countries are different places. Heck, Scotland and England have their own differences and they are bordered, talk the same language and have the same gods etc, and are ruled by the same people in westminster, but they are very different people.

    Therefore, I place Japan in the 'Japan' catagory, which is neither east nor west.

    The problem is, if you look at it on a globe from the UK, France is east of you. But it is also west of you. For Japan, China is west, but it is also east. So going like this, everywhere is East and West. :S

    Lol Laters (Sorry, I have to shorten my posts...)

  3. #278
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Yeah. When I take an airplane out of Chicago to Tokyo it always goes west.
    Well, northwest over Canada & Alaska. "we" (most of us on this forum) are all in the North.
    check out this awesome shirt.
    If You're Really a Goth, Where Were You When We Sacked Rome?
    no, i got nothing against goths. just think the shirt is neat.

  4. #279
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    Hmm that's a very good question, I read the information you provided about the nato, and stuff. My opinion is that, Japan will always be an eastern country, in the far east. I would never say that Japan is a western country regardless to what happens in the future. The reason for this is simply because of respect, and manner. if Japan was colonised in the future, which will likely never happen. I'm very sure that the majority of people in Japan, would still like to call Japan an eastern country.

    Even if you have the theory that, Japan might be a western country. It wouldn't be a good idea to share this theory with the public. I have nothing against you, I live in a country where each individual have rights to express what we want to say. We call it freedom of speech.


    Strangely, even this is a "multicultural" country. There are people who are against that. For example last month a group called the "FLQ" resurfaced. They also have a theory similar other people's theories about countries, literature, land, and people.


    I don't mean to sound rude, but I'm just elaborating on how different groups of people have different view on theories.

  5. #280
    Junior Member YAPONLUQ's Avatar
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    geographicaly Eastern
    calturely Eastern
    politicaly neutral

  6. #281
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    is it not possible that Japan is western and asian?

    scotland is western and european, canada is western and north american. norway is western, and so is greece, and they have very different histories, ethnographies and cultures... the west and "white people" aren't one homogenous group:

    i think that if you believe that western means "caucasian" then you are incorrect, as many who live in the west are not caucazoid.

    as japan is a liberal democracy with a fully capitalist economy then it is definitely an "advanced" nation... and that most of the underdeveloped and less advanced countries would consider it as part of the "west". in fact when compared to many european countries you will find that japan's economy is more "western" (liberalised) than the likes of france and italy who have mixed economies.

  7. #282
    Regular Member basuotoko's Avatar
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    Except that the term "Western" was developed by European explorers and traders to describe the geographic void between the countries of Europe and Asia. I think a secondary role is to distinguish between White countries of European origin and Eastern Asian countries. Places like Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central America are not covered.

    Because the US, Canada, Australia, and NZ as we know them today were originally European settlements, and largely White, they fall under the West as well, despite geography. But there are no written rules, this is just how the vast majority of people today think, so it is essentially correct.

    As for economic power, we have different terms to distinguish them. First World and Third World, developed and developing, or even geographic north and south. As far as that goes, Japan falls into the former for all labels, but it is still part of Asia, and hence the East.

    Finally, the Japanese word for the West is 西洋 「せいよう」. Ask any Japanese and they will tell you them self that Japan is not part of it. That alone closes the debate.

  8. #283
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    Finally, the Japanese word for the West is 西洋 「せいよう」. Ask any Japanese and they will tell you them self that Japan is not part of it. That alone closes the debate.
    Sure it may close the debate for Japanese people, however the majority of people posting on this board are not Japanese.

    Personally I think that the term is outdated from it's usage in English.

    However as the term is used here in Japan it refers to not only western nations but for the most part caucasian and non-asian peoples or countries. In a way it is a racial designation as well.

    Ask any Japanese person if they think of Australian's and New Zelander's are 西洋人 or a westerner and you can probably already guess the answer to that.

  9. #284
    Regular Member Elizabeth van Kampen's Avatar
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    East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

    I think that is true. We Westerners can love the East, can live in the East but we will never really become a part of the East.
    And that also counts for the Orientals trying to become Westerners, only werternized in a Oriental way.

    We can love each other, admire each other, respect each other, laugh together, but we can only try to understand each other.

    I don't think that the difference is only on the outside ( I have seen many blond Japanese and Chinese lately) it is much more a diffence in our religions and superstions ( very important).
    Or am I completely wrong?

  10. #285
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    were the terms "east" and "west" used as "cold war" terms?

    and if so, perhaps they are archaic terms.
    invented for propaganda purposes to get people to buy into the non-thinking
    totalitarianism of such statements: "you're either with me or against me",
    such as spoken by Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader as he turned to the bleak, black, dark side.

    some people tried to do the whole "non-aligned movement".
    but people in washington didn't want to hear such stuff and continued to overthrow governments as they saw fit.

  11. #286
    ~tanoshii StandAlone2323's Avatar
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    well, geographically speaking, Japan is Eastern. However, it has acted very western the past 200 years. A huge ego towards the rest of the world, industrialization at an incredible rate, as well as colonization. Not to mention that they showed the world that they were as powerful as any western nation by dealing Russia a humiliating defeat. I think they were one of the first Asian nations to draw immense nationalism from the people (also very western).

    But its not like Japan was trying to be something its not, they simply recognized that the world was being gobbled up by the west, and if they wanted to keep their independence, they had to act fast. Industrialization was actually a good decision for the country, because they could've wound up like China under Mao had they wanted to keep their traditional culture and receive no western influence.
    倖田來未 Kingdom:2008年1月30日

  12. #287
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StandAlone2323 View Post
    well, geographically speaking, Japan is Eastern.

    they could've wound up like China under Mao had they wanted to keep their traditional culture and receive no western influence.

    It depends who draws the map.
    Since Europe and its off-shoot the US, have dominated for the past number
    of centuries, North is on the top of most maps.
    Have you ever seen some maps from the 50s (i hope they aren't used anymore)
    with the US/Americas in the center and Asia divided on either side:
    http://www.world-atlas.us/world-map.gif
    And the sun revolves around the flat earth...

    it is all perspective
    http://www.wall-maps.com/World/UpsideDownWorld.gif
    or
    http://www.flourish.org/upsidedownmap/mcarthur.jpg

    or this interesting perspective of Japan
    down.http://www.nihonkaigaku.org/e_hp/index1.html

    The Americas are also East of Asia.



    Some Chinese might argue about Mao & traditional culture.
    Not something I'd be able to debate.
    But again, perspective.
    But I might agree Mao & co wanted to keep westerners from
    colonizing them and their resources.
    Now Chinese elites colonize their own people hand in hand with transnational corporations.
    ha
    (not a fan of Mao)

  13. #288
    Who is Number One? EmperorHirohito's Avatar
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    I did notice there is no mention of the Soviet Union on that map from the 1950's.

    I wonder why that is so?
    Water water everywhere, and all the boards did shrink,

    Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.


    Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

  14. #289
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmperorHirohito View Post
    I did notice there is no mention of the Soviet Union on that map from the 1950's.
    I wonder why that is so?

    if that particular map (the first on listed) is actually from the 1950s or not, i do not know. i only used that one as an example of ones i've actually seen in real life when i was in grade school in the 80s.
    for all i know such maps could be still around.

  15. #290
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    In terms of cultural values, Japan is probably the least "Western" country in Asia. Singapore probably the most "Western". Nothing good or bad about either......... that is my humble opinion in my capacity as a Beijing peasant girl

  16. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by YAPONLUQ View Post
    geographicaly Eastern
    calturely Eastern
    politicaly neutral

    2 out of 3


    Politically Opportunistic is my 2 yen worth!

    or

    Politically Insignificant for a country of its economic size. Quality cars are made in Japan. Its foreign policy is made in America.

  17. #292
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Politically Insignificant for a country of its economic size. Quality cars are made in Japan. Its foreign policy is made in America.

    youch.
    there are Japanese that would agree with you

  18. #293
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    Oh man, how did I not notice this topic before. I'm in heaven.
    I wish I didn't come into this topic so late.

    In many ways yes. But most importantly I'd like to say that terms like eastern and western are quite blurry and hard to define to begin with. To an Odalist, Abrahamic religion is most certainly not Western religion, even though it is generally viewed as such.

    I also agree with the OP about religion. The Phillipes is more Christian than most "Western" countries.

    To me, Eastern religion is real Western religion since alot of our pre-Christian religious ideas came from India, a Asian country.

    Japan is a first world, industrialized country. A Capitalists democracy, which is a big part of something being considered "Western". Just like OP says.

    Here's another signifier, language. European countries speak European languages, Indo-European languages. Japanese is not a Indo-European language. However there are a few languages spoken in Europe that are not Indo-European. Uralic languages are not, and Finland and Hungary are definitely European countries. And last time I checked wikipedia Turkic was considered European. Japan is quite possibly an Altaic(Turkic) language if not a isolate, so that would make Japanese a European language.

    To me the terms Eastern and Western are outdated, meaningless concepts. Not only are the terms too flexible, but the East means East of Europe, which makes Europe seem too important. To travel from the US to Japan I travel West, so Japan is more West than I.

    The similarites between I an American and Japan is a good thing, that means less wall between us.

    Eastern and Western may be invalid terms, but if I were to choose one to describe Japan, it would be Western.

  19. #294
    Regular Member ~Dei~'s Avatar
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    Japan isn't a Western country.

    The fact that it is industrialised and developed doesn't make it "western".

    Many parts of the East are also catching up with the West.

    These countries are retaining they're culture as well as taking onboard aspects of foreign cultures.

    They don't suddenly become a Western country because they have money.

  20. #295
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    Ok, economy is one thing. But please eloborate. I'd like to know of all the things that makes Japan not Western.

  21. #296
    Regular Member ~Dei~'s Avatar
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    Apart from geography, people and culture?

    Japanese is officially a language isolate and so your argument that the language makes it European is invalid.

    Also, I do not see how Japan's unique mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism can be thought of as western.

    I agree that Eastern and Western are outdated concepts unless you're talking about geography.

  22. #297
    Sister Earth Goldiegirl's Avatar
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    What is western and who cares? Really? I voted no Japan isn't western, but now thinking about it, I don't know that "I" am even western, because I don't really know what I would be saying about myself. Am I western because of geography, lifestyle, religion, language, skin color....the list goes on.
    I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it. ~Jack Handey

  23. #298
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Dei~ View Post
    Apart from geography, people and culture?
    Japanese is officially a language isolate and so your argument that the language makes it European is invalid.
    Geography? Silly Eurocentric concept. Depending on the map the Americas are more Eastern than Japan.

    The classification of Japanese is heavily disputed. And everything other than Tamil and Austronesian points to some sort of Western relation.

    And if Japan truly is a language isolate then that doesn't make it particularly Eastern per se, by uniquely Japanese.
    Quote Originally Posted by ~Dei~ View Post
    Also, I do not see how Japan's unique mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism can be thought of as western.
    Shinto is unique to Japan and not necessarily Eastern or Western. As for Buddhism it's an Indian religion. Modern day Western religion may be Christianity, but the Pre-Christian Europeans worships Gods which were largely Dharmic in origin. For instance the Goddess Danu.

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Dei~ View Post
    I agree that Eastern and Western are outdated concepts unless you're talking about geography.
    Geography too.

  24. #299
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    Individualistic Vs collective culture. Almost cliche to say Japan is collective society but its true(er) for them than Europe + North America. Though Some Scandavavian countries are quite socialist by nature and tend to be "for all people" esque.

  25. #300
    Fear my Niftyness MadamePapillon's Avatar
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    Wow, very oldish thread but interesting.

    Is Japan a western country? I'd say no.

    I'm not taking into account geography because 'western' isn't a definite spot on the map, necessarily, but more a combination of peoples, values, culture, politics and language.

    A lot of people think 'white' when they think western but I would argue that Jamacia or Spain or Mexico is considered western by many people. Hell, some people even consider Cuba to be 'one of the group'.

    It's almost like a community of similar peoples. In a 'western' country we tend to share close ties and histories with other western countries, our languages are similar and often latin based...it's hard to explain but you know when someone is western. I've been around lot's of people from all parts of the world and there's always a sense of alikeness with other western people (even if they don't speak the same language) that I find very hard to find with people from, say China or Japan. Our culture and histories are so different that you're always thinking on just a slightly different frequency than each other.

    So though Japan is copying many aspects of western life, politics, and fashion it's not actually a 'western' country because we're still so far apart culturally and historically. Deep down inside Japan is still an eastern country.
    All Hail to the HYPNOTOAD *clap* *clap* *clap*

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