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Explore Japanese culture, Japanese language and Japanese art from a slightly eclectic, off-beat perspective. Experience both high and low culture in Japan like an insider.
"Most of today's young people grew up in the absence of some important values. They aren't positive about being Japanese, nor about their own identity. They are losing their integrity because they always pretend to be like someone else."While Ms. Kudoh is right to caution against the elevation of American culture over Japanese culture, she does stray a bit into some typical anti-Americanism at times; yet it can be forgiven because of the larger point she is making:
"We are negative about our culture: traditional things are seen as old-fashioned, and everything new is good. Social order and moral standards have disappeared. Some people are even obsessed with denying their Japaneseness."And when Ms. Kudoh urges young Japanese people to look at their history for that which is good, honorable and useful, she is far too modest in calling these things "hidden" in Japanese history. She notes:
"We need the confidence with which to see the good qualities hidden in our history and tell the world about them. We need a flexible mind with which we can learn about mistakes in our history and turn them into positive lessons."The war crimes and political oppression of the first half of the 20th century in Japan must be forever denounced, but Japanese culture is so rich in cultural treasures that one must work hard to ignore them.
"Japan's 'apology first' culture makes it possible for gaijins (foreigners) to get out of most jams with sumimasen. Sumimasen...is equivalent to 'excuse me.' It is, however, just as useful for apologies and some Japanese prefer to say sumimasen as they think it is a more refined apology 'for grown ups' than gomen 'nasai. Saying sumimasen is also a clever way for gaijins to hide their limited vocabulary."
"PingMag has been running for 3 and a half years now, and over that time literally millions of you, from every single corner of the planet, have visited, read our articles, left comments, linked to us on your blogs, sent us letters of support - some of you have even flown to Tokyo to join us!"