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  • Iri Novak

Made in Japan

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Learn how the Land of The Rising Sun can help you to become a better person.

Photo credit Labyrint

The Japanese are led from childhood to precise performance which may cause slight frustration but also increase enrichment. Among other things, one has learned to be patient and focus on details that can be key to the success.

I know it from personal experience. As a kid I was obsessed with not disappointing anyone. Parents, teachers, coaches.

I was a perfect child with no troubles. "Be serious and patient". That was my rule. What happened then? As a teenager I left my attitude and became a first-class slacker.

Emo girl

I only focused on my emotions, which I satisfied by reading Russian literature, watching American serials, and loving guys who did not love me back. I wanted to be beautiful and unhappy as Anna Karenina, provocative as Lolita, and live in LA as the heroes of Melrose Place.

If I had lived in Japan that time, I would feed my hungry soul by reading manga. I love to read them now but back in my teenage history Japanese comic had never reached me. Not even movies or video games. Until recently, I hadn't known what I was missing. But then I have discovered Made in Japan book focused on Japanese pop culture, which broadened my horizons in a pleasant way.

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How to describe a magic of Japanese culture, which has an attraction for the whole world? It is a harmony of the present and the past, which are not separate but intertwined. Looking at the past does not mean memories, but inspiration for the present moment.

History is always ready to offer a new impulse for creative activity. The Japanese are masters of joining different levels. They can perfectly mix their own and foreign sources of ideas and transform them in unique way. They look at the same things as others, but from a different perspective. The collective poetic form of renga gradually developed by other authors is great example.

Ordinary Heroes

The ability to communicate through images is also unique. The illustrations are on the same level as the texts. Thanks to the strong power of visual elements, culture comes into everyday life no matter of level of education or status of audience.

Dividing culture into 'high' or 'low' is completely unknown to the local environment. There is less space for prejudice then, so typical for Western culture. Deal with it also help topics such forbidden love, teenage girls or stressful office life are. Heroes of Japanese comics can be quite ordinary people who live a life similar to the readers themselves.

Ordinary Heroes

Such an ordinary heroine is Miss Sazae, created in 1946 by Machiko Hasegawa, one of the first manga authors. Although Sazae is experiencing unpleasant problems, typical for all residents of postwar Japan, she can stay on top of things with a mild sense of humour, which brings hope to a difficult kind of life.

The main character changes as she starts a family life. Previous modern woman enchanted by Western lifestyle transforms to a typical Japanese wife for who are husband and kids in the first place.

Games and Movies

Other chapter is about Japanese movies, animated videos, video games and otaku (passionate fans of anime series and manga comics). All of the topics were interesting to me, including games which I wasn't fan of earlier. But I live with the gamer who is playing one Japanese game right now.

It's called Dark Souls II and as I have read in this book, it's an RPG where you focus to defeat enemies step by step. You can defeat several bosses by skill you have trained when fighting weaker monsters. As next of authors Jan Miškov writes, RPG games reflects the Japanese perception of success, where the reward can only be obtained through clever tactical parties with persistence. This is certainly true and I will keep repeating it to myself. Maybe I will came back to my childhood philosophy and after years of slacking I may achieve some sort of success:)

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