August 28, 2008

#32 Nipponophilia

Nipponophile- One who advocates Japanese thought and culture

Malaysian people are strangely attracted to Japanese culture and its influences. While it would be easy to assume that this phenomenon was established and sustained since the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s, this would not substantially validate it. But before we ascertain the rationale for this Nipponophilia, we must examine how it has weaved its place into Malaysia's cultural fabric.

If we look at the typical diet of a Malaysian person, it would consist of rice as a staple food. Therefore, it's easy to make a transitive relation that Sushi appeals to them unequivocally. Which explains the copious amount of Sushi and Japanese restaurants in Malaysia. If you are with a Malaysian person who orders food in Japanese, it means you are dealing with an advanced level Malaysian who considers himself to be a connoisseur. Be careful with what and how you place your order. Your social status could be compromised by asking for the crabstick.

Besides Japanese music and TV shows, the Japanese persuasion is also felt through manga, anime and cosplay. Gone are the days when people silently appreciated these artistic formats with repeat readings and obsessive collections. Now Malaysian people live out their fantasies in full costumed glory at conventions and gatherings. This appeals immensely to Malaysian people as they get to take on a personality or gender (crossplay) more desirable than their own and justify hundreds of dollars spent on theatrical obsessions that otherwise would have gone to therapy bills.

Of course, being Malaysians, there is the need to go more than the whole nine yards. Manga, anime and the like are child's play for Malaysians who practise the extreme art of Nipponophilia integration. Thus, much like the sushi connoisseur, you will encounter Malaysians who take their Nipponophilia very seriously. It is not enough for these Malaysian people to study Japanese language and culture, they also have Japanese names, act kawaii or wear "harajuku" clothes. Therefore you should appreciate the effort made by Yuki Minami aka Tan Mei Ching to inject some diversity into the Malaysian demographic by thanking them properly with Arigatou Gozaimasu.

More information on this topic here.

Thanks to Synical for the idea behind this post.


oOFooi said...

I think because we were all Asian, hence acceptance is higher than westerns. :)

kaioucat said...

There's a reason why animation is created. That is to capture things that can never look as good in real life. Why don't people just accept the fact that anime and real life are different, and let anime be anime? I don't get cosplay...i just don't...

Grace said...

This post makes me feel ketinggalan
I haven't caught any Nippon virus yet.

Ashleigh said...

There is a Nippon virus?!?! Now I feel ketinggalan zaman like Grace said.

B.H. said...

If you've ever watched a Japanese serial or been to a Japanese restaurant more than once, you've caught some form of it.

Consult your resident physician if condition worsens.


Grace said...

oh I'm immuned from the virus I suppose! I don't like Japanese food, I don't like manga, anime nor the Jap sob stories.. although, I have learnt the Japanese language for two semesters (not by choice though!)
Don't worry ashleigh :) We're the lucky ones!

Gray said...

the CORRECT term is "Japanophilia"

Poppy said...

Sushi King fucking sucks. To think that an actual Japanese person owns it. I think he's playing a practical joke on us.

Raw salmon that's *warm*? Hello, salmonella bacteria, anyone? Butchered instead of sliced? Unagi rolls with the unagi the size of a booger divided by two?

Same thing with Genki Sushi. Anyone who puts supposedly fresh salmon and mayo and bacon bits together (outside of California) should be killed.

It's like how someone would say Pizza Hut is the pinnacle of perfect pizzaness.

HoneyBee said...

Sushi King is a joke, in case many people still haven't got it, just like supermarket sushis.

But personally I don't see anything wrong with Nipponophilia. It's another way to learn to be creative, a good example is GempakStarz which brought out our local talents to shine. Maybe Nipponophilia is a good thing, we get out of our repressed world.