Sources: 1 2 3 4+4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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Oookay, folks, buckle up cuz this gonna be a long one.
Tl;dr: These “facts” are all misleading and not typical of Japanese culture. Please stop essentializing and misrepresenting other countries and their cultures. It spreads stereotypes and leads to mistreatment and discrimination when the people from these countries do not live up to popular myths. Japan is a unique country…as are ALL countries. Stop the “weird Japan” bullshit, please. Please. Same goes for Korea, China, India, and all of the countries the West likes to pretend are homogenous and super foreign and strange all the time.
In depth, on the individual “facts” (for those who care and want to educate themselves, you should do individual research as well. I have lived in Japan, but I am not a Japanese person):
1. While some of these facts are true, statements such as “The Japanese take hygiene seriously” are offensive. They essentialize an entire country of many different people. There are also very dirty people in Japan. There are hoarders, non-bathers, unclean homes and apartments full of trash, just like any place where many different humans reside.
It’s like the often repeated BS, “Black people are great dancers.” Let’s think about these statements and the millions of people that get left out and invalidated when we (especially ‘we’ as people not of that background) say them. I have Black friends who feel embarrassed and ashamed that they have no sense of rhythm or can’t dance well, because of all the pressure put on them to be a “great dancer”. These so-called “positive” stereotypes actually hurt people. If someone can’t dance, are they not allowed to be Black? If someone is messy, are they not Japanese?
2. These “hot food vending machines” do not exist outside of certain areas of Tokyo in my experience. They are pretty rare. Most of the time hot 24hr food is found at convenience stores.
3. There have been many flavors of Kit Kat in Japan, but they are often limited time offers, and usually there are not more than two or three flavors for sale at any one store at the same time. You will have to look very hard to find ten different flavors even if you stay for a full year.
4. Most Japanese people never visit these places. Many Japanese people have never even heard of the “cat island” that is so popular on English websites.
5. This is true, but the “Buddhist practice” bit is debatable. Shinto-Buddhist influence vs. Confucian vs. indigenous culture.. it’s hard to say where exactly traditions and practices originate from.
6. This is one dog in one place.
7. I have never, ever heard of this. In fact, I think it would be pretty rude in most cases, especially if you are expected to be carrying out certain tasks and instead you’re napping.
8. It seems this is a little-known, obscure event started in 2006 by the “Devoted Husband Association.” They do it every year, but it is not a national holiday nor a common practice.
9. Square/Heart watermelons are not common and are pretty expensive.
10. This is not from a game show, it is a single episode of a variety show featuring well-known comedians and commentators, similar to the “Today Show” but with more people. Not all Japanese shows are game shows. Most are variety, comedy, or travel shows, and they are often detested by foreigners for being “boring,” “annoying,” and “predictable.”
*** If you go to Japan or talk to a Japanese person with these assumptions, you will be confused and disappointed. ***