A few things led to this post, so I guess I’ll start with them first.
A couple days back I was watching reaction videos on Youtube, namely, Koreans and Japanese people react to Anaconda (they were two separate videos).
As you may or may not know, Japanese and Korean are extremely similar languages, and culturally they aren’t THAT different. But there is surprising cultural or perhaps social gap between them? And I don’t mean one caused by war.
See, I’ve always though that Koreans were more open that Japanese people, and in way they are? I mean Koreans are louder, less reserved with their emotions than Japanese people.
But ironically, socially speaking, Korea is actually less accepting than Japan and I never noticed how much until I watched the reaction video.
Japanese girls were admiring Nicki Minaj in the video, citing her to be sexy, confident, cool. The reaction of Koreans, male and female, were the exact opposite, ranging from shock to horror and disgust. And then I actually thought about it…Japan has had WAYY more extreme and provocative music videos in their industry than Anaconda. I mean, sure no one else wore a thong and shook their ass on screen but…freaky entrails, blood, weird montages of …just I don’t even know what is actually pretty common.
I’d go into how socially accepted homosexuals are in both countries but then I’d be straying, so lets go back to the other thing that led to this post.
Anime. I was literally JUST watching anime and there yes another male character who identifies as female. It’s so common in anime that I don’t even bat an eyelash when I see it. Like it’s just a Japanese anime thing. Transgender people, cross-dressers, gays, guys who identify as female…every anime seems to have one. And these aren’t like animes aimed at adults mind you, these are animes like One Piece, Phi Brain. Of course these type of characters are perhaps more pronounced and fleshed out in seinen anime, or anime aimed at an older audience, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re common.
Hell, incest is so common in anime that as someone whose been watching them since she was 3, I actually find it weird when my friends make a fuss about incest in anime. It’s anime logic *shrugs*. Then there’s Yaoi..and Yuri, which are actual GENRES by themselves…and then I remember the giant billboard of like a yaoi comic in ikebukuro…and I realize, yes, Japan is reserved and conservative, but it also very very accepting.
I suppose the word accepting may not be the best word, perhaps ‘indifferent’ is a better word?
Yes gay marriage is illegal in Japan, but gay couples are not rare in Japanese cinema, unlike in the media of other Asian countries. Sure, Japanese society has a clear hierarchy and system but no one bats an eyelash if some cosplaying kid walks down the street.
I’m not saying that Japan isn’t conservative, feminism is still a struggling movement there, but holy crap, look past the surface and Japan is home to so many really extreme and weird communities/things/people/subjects that despite how conservative it is, people really generally quite happy to let some pretty funky shit be.
After coming to this realization, I actually find it rather ironic that Japanese people would find some of what westerners do culturally outrageous. It’s like, yea someone married a character in their favourite dating game, that’s totally normal, but oh my god PDA is so outrageous.
I mean when you think about it, Japan is land so full of contradictions, sometimes it just makes you want to throw your hands up and go ‘Wha!?’