The United States of Japan
May 5, 2018 6:30 PM   Subscribe

The United States of Japan "Japan made itself rich in its industrial era by selling things like cars, TVs, and VCRs, but it made itself loved in those Lost Decades by selling fantasies. Hello Kitty, comics, anime, and Nintendo games were the first wave—'the big can-opener,' as the game designer Keiichi Yano put it. Now those childhood dreams haven given way to a more sophisticated vision of a Japanese life style, exemplified in the detached cool of Haruki Murakami novels, the defiantly girly pink feminism of kawaii culture, the stripped-down simplicity of Uniqlo, the 'unbranded' products of Muji, and the Japanese “life-changing magic” of Marie Kondo." - Matt Alt
posted by gen (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmm but the “more sophisticated vision” stuff is all decades old

Is the point that they weren’t culturally salient in America then, but they are now?
posted by grobstein at 7:09 PM on May 5, 2018


Ohhh cool it is that and something else, too
posted by grobstein at 7:10 PM on May 5, 2018


Just got back from Tokyo and wanted to share Gudetama, an insufferably lazy egg yolk who has a penchant for showing his butt crack.
posted by furtive at 10:39 PM on May 5, 2018 [8 favorites]


No mention of Aggretsuko? Which I just finished watching in Netflix btw and was pleasantly surprised.
posted by emjaybee at 10:57 PM on May 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just got back from Tokyo and wanted to share Gudetama

have i tried to do the dance in the bathroom mirror? none of your business.
posted by wibari at 11:24 PM on May 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


muji and Uniqlo dominate in my daily life
posted by infini at 12:25 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


furtive:Just got back from Tokyo and wanted to share Gudetama, an insufferably lazy egg yolk who has a penchant for showing his butt crack.

Not only his crack...
posted by Captain Fetid at 1:23 AM on May 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


[Couple deleted; Meta requests better hashed out in Metatalk.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:39 AM on May 6, 2018


What is the difference between Japan and Germany Denmark and Finland? It seems like they have the exact same problem yet I don't see any breathless articles written about those countries.

I don't want to say that this reeks of orientalisme, but it seems to quack a little bit like it.
posted by tedious at 6:39 AM on May 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


What is the difference between Japan and Germany Denmark and Finland? It seems like they have the exact same problem yet I don't see any breathless articles written about those countries.

From an interior design/household mgmt perspective, Scandi design and the concept of “hygge” have received as much recent media play in the US as Marie Kondo and “Japanese minimalism”.
posted by jilloftrades at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


At least in Spain, there are more books about hygge than about ikigai, but Marie Kondo hasn't made a splash. It seems that the latest Japanese fad to arrive here is shinrin yoku, there were three or four books about that on the fancy displays last time I went to fnac.

For that matter, I've had to explain Muji as "like IKEA, but Japanese" and Uniqlo as "like H&M, but Japanese (and lots of technical clothing)" because they only have a handful of stores in the country and I have to go to Barcelona to get to a shop.
posted by sukeban at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


What is the difference between Japan and Germany Denmark and Finland?

Weebs.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


You know, every time I see the word Weeb I just think about the bizarre etymology of the word, especially how there's already a perfectly cromulent word for people that spend too much time thinking about Japan.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:03 PM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


> At least in Spain, there are more books about hygge than about ikigai

Hector Garcia, a Spainiard who has been in Japan for many years, has a book out on 'ikigai' in Spanish, iirc.
posted by gen at 4:21 PM on May 6, 2018


Yeah, the weird thing is that someone else wrote about ikigai too. But still, fewer books than about hygge and no Marie Kondo in sight.
posted by sukeban at 11:13 PM on May 6, 2018


What is the difference between Japan and Germany Denmark and Finland?

I dunno, my latest acquisition is a summer dress by Marimekko for Uniqlo (hee!)
posted by infini at 1:09 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I took a quick look and oh my god they've just dropped the Rose of Versailles collection and now I've bought four tees with Oscar, André and Marie Antoinette :______D

Also the Weekly Shonen Jump UT collection but I haven't cared that much about Naruto and Bleach for years now so whatevs
posted by sukeban at 1:37 AM on May 7, 2018


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