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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

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Thread: Is Japan a Western country ?

  1. #101
    Regular Member cicatriz esp's Avatar
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    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.

  2. #102
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blessed
    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!!!!! )...
    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.

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  3. #103
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    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...;)

  4. #104
    Regular Member -Yu-'s Avatar
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    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.

  5. #105
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Hi Corocoro,

    Quote Originally Posted by 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Yu-
    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.

  6. #106
    Regular Member Reiku's Avatar
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    LOL

    Interesting thread...

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

  7. #107
    Regular Member stupidumboy's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #108
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupidumboy
    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.

  9. #109
    Regular Member stupidumboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.

  10. #110
    Regular Member ippolito's Avatar
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    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

  11. #111
    Regular Member cicatriz esp's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by ippolito
    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'".

  12. #112
    Regular Member ippolito's Avatar
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    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

  13. #113
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    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.

  14. #114
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kei_Shugojin
    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.

  15. #115
    Regular Member Reiku's Avatar
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    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!

  16. #116
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    ...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!
    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.

  17. #117
    Regular Member chikazukiyasui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.

  18. #118
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chikazukiyasui
    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 ?

  19. #119
    Regular Member CGPGroup's Avatar
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    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.
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  20. #120
    Regular Member ippolito's Avatar
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    no

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Can you really put Europe and Africa in the same "Western" category ?
    Cerntainly not....different cultures different governaments..and in Africa democracy is not a very common word in those governements.

  21. #121
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    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.

  22. #122
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    Is Japan a Western country ?
    FUNNY!!!
    Maciamo: What a foolish Japanese person!!!! Are all your people like you?

  23. #123
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    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....
    ~ Parempi hullu kuin tylsä - Better crazy than boring ~
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  24. #124
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    Every country is western, and every country is eastern. It just depends on which direction you travel around the globe to get there XD

  25. #125
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    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"

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