Japan’s culture and globalization


Japan’s national identity had been protected by a policy of almost complete isolation from the rest of the world, but despite the resistence to the idea of globalization, in recent years Japan has seen adopted global standards and substantial foreing penetration in the international market. 1

In The Clash of Civilization, Samuel Huntington, says because of Japan difficulties of creating an economic entity in East Asia, Japan is a unique society and civilization itself. Fo that reason, Japan developed a more integration with others economic regions, such as Europe and North America and established a unique position as an associate member of Huntington called the West.

Globalization has been an ongoing process in the modern world and some of the most significant changes the people notice with this event are the economics, and this way people have started learn another language for economic reasons. 2

And while globalization projects the image of diversity, it also implies cultural homogenization influenced by global satardarnization of economic activities and a flow of cultural goods from the centre to the periphery.

The process of modernization in Japan, occurs in a very fast way after the Sencond World World and after that the japanese society adopted  some amercian values. In this way, it is possible to observed in Japan a deeply change in its society, like for example there are in the country many American franchise store and fast-food restaurants there now. Another example of how globalization process permeated the japanese people and  how it impact on it culture is in the use of English language in the country.3

The reconfigured English in Japan and education

In order to expand and deepen its international relations, Japanese governement has created and supported the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). The objective of this program is to promote the interaction between japanese students and exposed them to a non-japanese culture at earlier stage of their life. As a result , it has been reported that those student are becoming more communicative and less shy. Another impact of globalization is the way that English language is used in Japan.

There are two main ways in which English has influeced japanese society. The first its called loanwords, which in Japan they called Gairaigo and produces a uniquely japanese lexeme, though one which in both provenance and semantic meaning is directly related to a word in the English lexicon. But ther is another type of loanword known as Wasei-eigo, which performs a further act of naturalization by significantly alterning the semantic meaning of the original. An example is the japanese word Mashon, phonetically derived from the english word Mansion but having a meaning closer to Apartament.

The second way in which English is absorbed in japanese society is through its use in advertising and popular culture. The extent to which English words and phrases, written in Roman alphabet rather than the Katakana syllabary, appear on posters, adverts, clothes, is often remarked on by visitors to the country and it is quite remarkable in comparison with non-English speaking societies.4

In both these forms of adoption, the English language is not imported whole as a communicative tool, but unpacked and its component parts reconfigured in unfamiliar contexts.

This show the result of English’s global influence  and the power of English as an international language, which can be, also an exemple  of how a local culture can refashion foreign influence to produce something unique. In the japanese case, globalization contributed to the diversity rather than the homogenization of cultures. Also the rapid process of globalization of the recent decades bhrought with it the need for people of diverse linguistic backgrounds to communicative effectively, which allowed English as an international language almost organically.


6 comentários sobre “Japan’s culture and globalization

  1. Japan also hires ESL teachers from the US who basically travel to teach english in Japan. I think this way also the teachers will come back to the US with affected by the Japanese culture, actually I know some of them and they love Japanese culture like food, lifestyle, and other different things.


  2. I’m positive about the fact that English has influenced Japan in the context of language and many other sectors like food and commerce, movies and politics, so has Japan. Through is unique culture and innovations such as Japanese animation, sea foods, way of carrying fashion and so on. Hence it can be said the globalization influence other ways, can’t it?


  3. cultural globalization in china, have being positively influenced with the introduction of English language and learning the american values but basically i know for sure the language in china cannot be lost, which is a strong identity to hold on


  4. Globalization in Japan has a great advantage to their people ,knowing how they brought English language to their country and how seriously they took it. Will be interesting to know more about other aspect like their food, attire etc and if there is a tradition attached to it.


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