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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. #126
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukipenguin
    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.

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  2. #127
    Regular Member Keeni84's Avatar
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    Why...

    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?
    n|BBB

  3. #128
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keeni84
    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 to understand how deeply Japan has adopted Western ways, not just economically, but culturally.

  4. #129
    Regular Member Keeni84's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #130
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keeni84
    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).

  6. #131
    squabblemaker ax's Avatar
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    I vote for No. However I think Chinese used to call Japanese ml.

    ax

  7. #132
    Regular Member Keeni84's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #133
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    Is Japan a Western Country?

    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?
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  9. #134
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    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!!

  10. #135
    Regular Member TheKansaiKid's Avatar
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    Wink remember that cheesy Tom Selleck movie Mr. Baseball?

    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 ;)

  11. #136
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKansaiKid
    I would say Japan is a very Japanese country ;)
    I love that line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    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.

  12. #137
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    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 )

  13. #138
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by If time can talk...
    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.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.

  15. #140
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexriversan
    . 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 ?).

  16. #141
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    Japan is not a western country. Japan only looks "western" on the surface.

  17. #142
    TAN Hiroyuki Nagashima's Avatar
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    I approve of an opinion of "Thekansaikid-san"

  18. #143
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booker
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheKansaiKid
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheKansaiKid
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eisuke
    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!
    Do What You Love And You'll Never Work Another Day In Your Life!


  19. #144
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Oh, I thought this was the old thread Is Japan a Western country ?, 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, values & morals (including the implications it has on the legal system), 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).
    Last edited by Maciamo; Apr 10, 2005 at 00:26.

  20. #145
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    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.
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  21. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.

  22. #147
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    Talking

    seen from the east coast of america, japan is a western country.

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

    quite entertaining.

  23. #148
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro
    didn't infringe on the maker's patents, [...] Thus, things like the Sony Walkman were invented.
    Bad example!

  24. #149
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.

  25. #150
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    I've merged the two "Is Japan a Western Country?" threads. I hope that doesn't make things too confusing.

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