Ok. So I know I said I’d wait till I finished reading JapanAmerica before writing a book review, but as I’m progressing through this book, I’m consistently overwhelmed (in a good way) by the amount of Japanese influence that has reached America. It’s interesting because I’m currently writing an essay concerning Western media imperialism during the American occupation in WWII. Combining what my research suggests with what the author of JapanAmerica is saying, it almost feels like Japan and America’s relationship is purely based on giving and taking. Of course, that doesn’t sound so bad since we’re taught as kids that giving is good but in the context of Japan, she’s pretty much contributing to American culture in a gesture of “owing”. Perhaps it’s not so applicable in the 21st century, but there was a time when Japan essentially gave back to America out of a sense of obligation. That’s just my speculation of it, mind you, so don’t go around spewing this to your friends and family as if any of this is factual. But back to my “speculation”, according to Akio Isagashi*, the Americans chose a very convenient timing in history to impose their Western values and culture. What period in time, you ask? Well, the American occupation of course. After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese were in a constant state of fear and anxiety. They lost their homes and their loved ones, they had lost significant amounts of land and resources. There was the threat of radiation (effects of which still linger around in present day) through which people have suffered long term defects. Among everything else they had lost, they most importantly lost hope and identity. Who is to blame for the bombing after all? Had there been identifiable soldiers running around Hiroshima and Nagasaki shooting citizens at point blank, they could at least link the physical threat to a leader. But with the nuclear bombs (which eradicated along with its victims), there was no verifiable trace. That being said, the Japanese felt utterly hopeless. So it’s understandable that when America occupied, the people of Japan were like sponges. Anything that could give them a sense of identity; if they could just get back that feeling of knowing who they are, they readily and eagerly immersed themselves into American cinema and it was through this abundance of movies that Japan adopted a mindset full of Western values.
Ok. I don’t want to go too much in depth with this topic yet because I want to finish this book and then come back with a bucket full of info. Meanwhile, you can do your own research and correct me if you feel like I’ve misinformed you about certain things. But to be fair, I did say that it was mostly speculation so please don’t hurt me.