Western Hand in Japanland

They used to say that mimicry is the deepest form of flattery. Today we call it “globalization”.

Globalization, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary online, is: “The action, process, or fact of making global; esp. (in later use) the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale, widely considered to be at the expense of national identity” (OED Online). According to this definition, globalization seems to only appear in the business world. I am a Business major and can heartily agree to globalization’s important role in business. However, I can more readily say that globalization happens in our lives every day, whether or not we are dealing with business.

A place where I could observe globalization at its finest is nowhere other than Kansai Gaidai. At Kansai Gaidai, people are from all over the world and come to not only study, but also experience Japanese culture.

In Visual Anthropology class, we watched a movie about globalization in Japan, specifically how American and European ways infiltrated the Japanese culture and how the Japanese reacted and adapted to them. I realized that everyday I see Asian girls with fair skin and light brown hair, as though mimicking the European and American look. Their style of clothing is also an interesting mixture of clothing worn in the 80’s and 90’s with a “cutesy” Japanese flare, of course.

It is interesting to see Japanese girls try so hard to interpret Western style and sing English songs when at the same time we foreigners are trying our luck with Japanese songs and even traditional Japanese culture. From Yukata-wearing to eating with chopsticks, as gaijin (foreigners) we try and accept different parts of Japanese culture.


V.A. Yukata 2

From here, we can go home and globalize even more by teaching our friends and family how to use chopsticks, how to sing Japanese songs, or even how to speak Japanese. Globalization is not just in Japan, but as ryuugakusee (international students) in Japan at Kansai Gaidai, we are helping cultures mix, transform, and eventually spread across the world.


October 28, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. visual gonthros replied:

    Yes, international exchange students are a great example of globalization. Why do international students try to be Japanese and Japanese students try to be foreign? The grass is always greener on the other side? Or is it that because of globalization we all have more choices now? And yes, globalization is much more than business or economics – despite the aims of capitalism disembodying economics from everyday life it simply doesn’t happen.

  2. dlag1689 replied:

    I suppose we like what we can’t have. In general, most gaijin (females and males) don’t dress like Nihonjin. We dress like them not only to fit in, but also because the Japanese style is one that we wouldn’t be able to “pull-off” in our home countries…

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