What is the current state of the Japanese culture in the face of extreme globalization? Some people may argue that slowly, the authentic tradition of Japan is disappearing due to the introduction of technology and modernization. This fact is not a surprise because Japan is one of the most modern countries in the entire world. It is considered as the nesting ground for technological breakthroughs. In the streets of Tokyo for example, both the locals and tourists are welcomed by the blinding lights that tend blind the people from who they were in the past. Many Japanese cultural experts would argue that Japan as a country in general has not forgotten then cultural identity. They even differentiated customs from traditions to set their point. First customs are defined by their purpose. On the other hand, traditions are defined by purpose that may not necessarily be relevant today.
What are the implications to today’s context? Globalization runs rampant in the world. It is affecting the lives and cultures of not only Japan but the entire world. Globalization is simply defined as putting Western ideologies to the local cultures of different countries such as the Asian (Eastern) nations. Globalization made the world smaller and borderless because it allows information and trade to run freely and openly. Japanese popular culture, for example, stands out.
Why is Japanese culture so big? It is a big business because it encourages people to experience the creative Japanese culture. Anime, Japanese Dramas and Music are huge markets not only in the local scene but also abroad. The market is an opportunity for the Japanese people to mix their past and modern tradition to a wider audience. For example, there are animes that carry with them the theme of samurais which are historical personas in most Japanese literatures. These characters are personification of the Japanese brand of bravery and honor. Some of themes of Japanese anime also provide a modern flare such as introduction of artificial intelligence and gigantic robots (i.e, Gundam and Voltes Five). A few of these titles made it big in Western Television. After the World War II, the world became more accepting to Japan. It also marked the time wherein the Japanese culture injected itself into the culture of others.
Other popular Japanese figures that are embraced in the world include Hello Kitty, Astroboy and Spirited Away. These Japanese characters and films are embraced by people even from the Western civilization due to their charm and appeal. One of the major themes of Japanese media revolves around family orientation that many people could relate to. Some people are even inspired to take care of their family with the help of Japanese shows that highlight the significant of family orientation to people. Close family ties, for example, are not common amongst
What is the Consequence of Globalization?
Despite the obvious benefits of globalization, what is the negative aspect of this phenomenon? First is that people tending to be selective when it comes to their traditions. They asses their tradition based on their relevance to their day to day life. And as result, they forget the traditions they feel are irrelevant today. The traditions that are forgotten are killed. If people continue to label their customs then the list of preserve traditions continue to dwindle down into a small number.
What is the challenge? Should globalization be considered a hindrance in preservation of culture? It is not. On the contrary, globalization must be taken advantage in terms of introducing to the world a nation’s culture. Take Japan’s story as inspiration. It would be a different story for Japan if the phenomenon of globalization did not occur. The reach of both their traditional and popular may only extend up to their locals and ASEAN neighbors. The power of globalization is yet to be maximized as it offers more and more opportunities for different nations to introduce their respective culture to a wider audience. The range of the audience range from young to old meaning that Japanese popular culture appeal to people across all age group.
On a personal note, preserving a countries cultural identity must be the responsibility of everyone in the country. It is always important to take into account that a country will not be where it is now without their past. No matter if the tradition is still relevant or not today, the bottom line is that people are the ambassador of their nations. Culture must be embedded deep within everybody’s system so that there is a strong sense of ownership in everyone. It is not difficult to understand why people are having difficulties in finding their cultural identity because of the many trends happening around the world. These trends would affect one cultural identity by changing a cultural or even ‘killing’ a tradition. Japan is not the only country being affected by these changes. As the saying goes, change is inevitable. Culture is also changing based on how the world is shaping. There are instances that traditions are altered in order to survive the demands of today’s people.
Compromise is often the method being considered to ensure the survival of various traditions. For example, some festivals in Japan are given a modern flare for them to be appreciated by the youth and tourist. Japan is actually using their festivals to increase their tourism and at the same time promote their culture. As a result, there is a growing sense of diversity in the country. This heightened diversity promotes individualism that is very uncommon in Asian countries like Japan which is known for its collective identity. Despite being collective, Japan is actually slowly embracing the notion diversity and individualistic tendencies as shown in their street fashion. People are free to wear what they want even cases of cross-dressing are accepted and encourage in Japanese fashion. The otaku culture, one of Japan’s most popular cultures, for example, shapes people to express their creativity in various fashions styles such as Lolita and Goth. People look like young children and wants to look ‘cute (or kawaii)’ because that trend is accepted in Japan. Many people invest good money and resources in such fashion and also inspire various conventions in different parts of the world.
Summary and Conclusion
In conclusion, the sense of cultural identity cannot be easily forgotten. No amount of globalization can easily shake the people’s general identity. In the case of Japan, despite the introduction of technology and other western culture, the country still remains culturally strong. Testaments to these claims are the high regards of the Japanese people to the past. Despite the ‘dark days’ of Japanese history, they built monuments so that the younger generation would not forget what was Japan in the past. It is a difficult task to preserve culture especially in a time filled of modernization; the younger generation tends to turn their backs on the past due to the fact that they feel no relevance in preserving those traditions. The inculcation of cultural studies to the educational system is one good move from Japan to encourage their youths to continuously embrace their identity.