In case you missed it, I'm addressing some issues Gaijin Goomba had with Japan in a recent video.
Last time, I discussed a broken education system, racism and discrimination of various forms, an overly coformist national attitude, and a general attitude of tradition good/new ideas bad.
Now for more!
I will once again preface this article by stating that I am not an expert in Japanese culture, and that this is merely meant to inform and encourage discussion and further research.
Now then, on with the edjumucshun!
Sexual objectification of women
This is an issue in many countries, including the United States, but Japan seems to have a talent for this practice.
Take the ads and products which market women as being just one step above giant dolls, and crank it up to 11. Much like in the West, young women are often used to market products towards a largely male demographic with disposable income, and to this end, pop idols are often employed.
While show business is always cutthroat, the idol business is particularly merciless, with many idols beginning their careers barely into middle school, and being ousted by the next 'cuter' idol by the time they're adults.
Women are often portrayed in media (particularly, but not limited to, games, manga, and anime) with unrealistic, nigh-unobtainable features, and often behave in a manner which could be considered rather degrading.
At home, a culture of familial isolation breeds an environment for abuse among women in an intimate relationship.
Much like the US before the women's rights movement, Japanese culture has a bad habit of justifying domestic abuse as being a 'private matter' which outsiders have no business in. As such, women are expected to endure this isolation for the proper image of the family, and breaking this isolation is consider very taboo. Very reminiscent of Nippon's history with the rest of the world, hm?
Ridiculous work hours and expectations
How many of you g1s recognize the term "Salaryman?"
If you know anything about Japanese culture you should.
The Salaryman is your typical office worker, working your typical 9-5 office job. Did I say 9-5? Because in reality, Salaryman will almost always be expected to stay late.
From Getsuyobi (Monday) to Kinyobi (Friday). Until he either manages to retire (good luck with that) or, more likely, succumbs to his inevitable karoshi.
Karoshi translates as "death from overwork."
Yeah. These guys actually made a word for it.
Generally, once a poor schmuck gets outta university (which he probably bled himself half dry just to get into), Salaryman-san will immediately begin working at whatever firm the kami deem him worthy of, with almost no chance of moving on to something else.
When you join a business, you're expected to stick with it 'til death do you part, and an employee leaving for another job is almost unheard of.
With all that pressure, it's no wonder many salarymen choose to become train marinara rather than live through another tedious day.
Alienation of fellow Japanese who live abroad
You may not know this, but Brazil has a considerable Japanese minority. Hell, Peru even had a Japanese President once. And I don't think I need to tell anyone in New York or LA or any major city/university in the United States or elsewhere that, as my brother's ex-girlfriend once said, "There's so~ many A~sians!"
Southern gals, am I right?
Point is, Japanese get around.
Thing is, if you happen to be of Japanese descent, or you're one who left Nippon and have been living away from the islands for a considerable amount of time, your ancestoral home may not be so willing to see you back.
The Japanese are very sensitive about their culture and ethnic identity, and like things 'just so.' The harmony of both is highly valued, and when someone shows up who doesn't quite fit that image, it makes them feel...uncomfortable.
Former natives and those born/raised outside the islands to former natives are seen as almost 'corrupted' by outside influences. Displaying even the slightest quirk that betrays them as a non-native is likely to earn them unwlecome glances from the locals, perhaps even open hostility.
Needless to say, find a place in a society with such a defined national identity is a challenge in and of itself.
Over-emphasis on visual appearance
Beauty may be skin deep, but you'll never convince Japanese society of that.
Much like EVERY CULTURE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, Japan tends to judge people by what they wear and hpw they present themselves.
Etiquette is a huge deal in Japan, but that's only part of the problem. Apply the subjects of media discussed in the objectifcation of women, then include men to a lesser degree.
Fashion is a very big deal on the islands, perhaps moreso than any other developed nation. Being "unfashionable" can be a societal death sentence in some cases, leading to social isolation and ridicule.
A media which emphasizes being attractive above all else leads to unrealistic expectations of beauty and a general shallowness of the people who buy into the myth. Side effects may include self-conciousness and a general sense of inferiority.
Pressure on women to be "cute" and quiet
Some of these points seem a tad redundant, but in case you haven't figured it out yet; JAPAN DON'T TREAT ITS WOMEN RIGHT.
"Kawaii" is a term I'm sure everyone is sick to death of hearing, but in Nippon, its all the rage.
There's something just a tad disturbing about wanting your female population to be "cute," a term typically used from very young women or girls, as opposed to being "attractive" or "beautiful," something you'd use for a more mature woman.
Part of it may be cultural difference, but when most female protagonists in Japanese fiction are under the age of 18, it raises more than its fair share of eyebrows.
And then there's the matter of silent obedience.
Traditionally, the woman of the household is expected to look after the home, the kids, and to attend to their husband's needs dutifully.
Outspoken women are seen as undesirable, intimidating, or even delinquents. A society that values its own needs over those of an individual considers a self-minded person as a potential threat to its stability, and with their roles so clearly defined, a woman who won't "get in line" is rarely tolerated.
Ridiculous racial and geographical stereotypes
As you may or may not (I'm guessing not) remember from my first round of topics, Japanese culture still has a long way to go when it comes to racial tolerance.
Blacks inparticular were, and to some extent still are, depicted in a rather exaggerated fashion.
While I'm not entirely certain of the specifics, it seems that when portraying Japanese from other prefectures, there is a tendency to present them in an overly stereotypical fashion.
For exam, people from Osaka have a dialect that is comprable to a Amercian southern or western accent, and therefor are often portrayed in such a manner.
Honestly, this is the subject I have the least expertise on, as I'm still somewhat unfamiliar with all the differences between prefectures. It may be best to study the subject yourself, but I know you won't because there's pron to watch.
Japanese girls under the age of 30 in general
The concept of the "sexy older woman" is fairly new here in the West, and cultures like Japan are only now beginning to grasp this idea.
Still, as a species we tend to seek younger mates, simply because they are best suited for producing healthier offspring, although in most cases this is not what we're immediately concerned with.
The fashion- and technology-centered culture of modern Nippon has produced a generation of Japanese who, at times, can be very shallow about their ideals.
As GG mentioned in the same video these issues were derived from, Japanese women typically seek Sankou or "Three Highs" from their potential mates; education, salary, and stature. Failing to meet one or more of these criteria would almost always mean that a man would have no chance with that vixen.
In other words, the lowering of standards is almost unthinkable to young women in Japan, and a well-meaning dupe with a moderate degree, low pay, and stubby legs might as well curl up with his body pillow again, 'cause he ain't gettin' any of that! And by "that" I mean pussy.
While this is not true of all young Japanese women, it is a damaging trend that threatens to destablize the population of the islands.
Wrap it up!
Okay okay. This has gone on long enough.
This information contained above has been made to the greatest accuracy I could muster from my limited knowledge and resources, so follow up research is highly encouraged.
While I have no illusions that this will make any lasting impact, I still felt that this issues should be expanded upon as much as possible, because as gamers (and this is a gaming website), Japan is a very important part of our culture, and addressing its issues can only help it become a better place, and by extension, a better prodcuer of games.
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