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Debunking Japanese Stereotypes


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Another must-read, so it seems.

Viewpoint: Debunking Japanese Stereotypes

David Matsumoto of San Francisco State University has an interesting new book for sale that basically says we are all wrong when it comes to analyzing the Japanese. In his book, "The New Japan: Debunking Seven Cultural Stereotypes," put out by Intercultural Press earlier this year, the psychology professor argues that the typical take on Japanese culture -- collectivist, conscious of the needs of others, dedicated to their jobs, et cetera -- is simply not supported by most data.

=> Recent Newsletters | www.japaninc.com

More about David Matsumoto and his book

=> http://www.davidmatsumoto.info/Publications/books1.htm
I have not read the book, but from the review it soundsas if the author is using the current Japanese generation to debunk stereotypes from 20 to 50 years ago. I would be interested to read the book.
SilentWolf: Welcome to JREF. Your question would best be answered if you search more relevant threads and ask there or, failing that, to start your own thread with the question. I believe Maciamo has made some relevant threads concerning English in Japan, but I can't remember which.

Well, it's actually nice that the thread's been brought up again. There have been a couple of entries in Bookslut.com (favorite literary blog) recently about Asian stereotypes, particularly Japanese:

Authors Behaving Badly

He then went on to read us the letters he'd sent to the Japanese chairman of the film company in question where he asked repeatedly to have his name removed from the film. The letters were about, generally, the US kicking Japanese *** in World War II, the inability of the Japanese to defend themselves against Godzilla, some more fascinating invective about the US defeating the Japanese, a touching bit about Pearl Harbor, another about the Bataan Death March, a touch more about the Japanese surrender and then, of course, a bit about Mothra, too. Each letter was addressed to "Mr. Teriyaki." (Internment camps were not mentioned in any of the letters, which I assume was a simple omission on Mr. Koontz's part and will be rectified in the future.)

Harajuku Girls

Now she has 4 things all together, the Harajuku Girls. I want to like them, and I want to think they are great, but I am not sure if I can. I mean, racial stereotypes are really cute sometimes, and I don't want to bum everyone out by pointing out the minstrel show. I think it is totally acceptable to enjoy the Harajuku girls, because there are not that many other Asian people out there in the media really, so we have to take whatever we can get. Amos 'n Andy had lots of fans, didn't they? At least it is a measure of visibility, which is much better than invisibility. I am so sick of not existing, that I would settle for following any white person around with an umbrella just so I could say I was there.

I would argue that such stereotypes are actually not as productive as Margaret Cho suggests, because they demean the stereotyped in the first place. In general we don't exactly champion blackface these days, do we... Besides, the aspect of invisibility is itself part of that stereotype, too, albeit socially enforced, because it suggests a level of passivity.

This is the first time I've heard of the Harajuku Girls, but I'm not sure I like the concept.
SilentWolf said:
umm....Can anybody here tell me what percentage of Japan speaks english/Japanese?

Depends on your idea of "speaks English", but most would concur that it's very, very low.... much less than is lead to believe by all the attempts at English on signs and shirts.
Harajuku garls just goes to show that everything in Japan is for sale That is just the beginning ground then they move on as age takes them. English spoken? forgeddit!!
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