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Americanization, Comparison with Japan



     Siegfried Ramler of the East-West Center in Hawaii is the incarnation of East-Westness, since he was born in Vienna and knows Germany well; now living in Hawaii, he makes frequent trips to Japan and other Asian countries. He sees a comparison between the Americanization of Germany and of Japan:
     Manifestations of nationalism, whether strategic, economic, or cultural, while they are evident to a larger or smaller degree throughout the world, are not considered politically correct by a nation like Germany which still bears the scars of its national socialist past. Hence identification with Europe is "in", as is the acceptance and absorption of American cultural characteristics.
     It is interesting to compare this phenomenon with Japan. There American culture also has a very strong impact, especially in contemporary music, art and entertainment, but it is superimposed on a base of Japanese traditions and lifestyle, unique and clearly evident even to a casual visitor to Japan.


     My comment: While the success of the United States has resulted in imitation all around the world, in the case of Germany and Japan, it is compounded by the humiliation of utter defeat. Siegfried says the Americanization is superimposed on Japanese culture, and the same is true of Germany.
     The big question is: Will there be a reaction and a reversion to the old nationalism? The Weimar Republic was westernized, but the reaction came with Nazism, and how! Could this happen again?

Ronald Hilton - 1/7/00


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