JAPANESE CULTURE IN THE UK
Japan has had a huge influence on the UK and the West, particularly over the last three decades. Japanese culture is built on innovative electronics, fashions and food, and has played a significant part in the development of popular culture. A string of childhood crazes have originated from Japan, including the well-known Pokémon and Power Rangers franchisesand of course the iconic Tamagotchi which took the UK by storm in the 90’s. The magna movement has a large following in the United Kingdom and elsewhere too. One Japanese games console, the PlayStation is so iconic that a 20th anniversary edition sold for $129,000.
Entertainment and cuisine
Nintendo is one of the most successful gaming organisations in the world and was the company that gave us Super Mario, Tetris, the Gameboy, the Wii and the Switch. Japan doesnot just dominate youth culture – works by artists like Masahiko Matsumoto first started being enjoyed by UK adults in the 1950s, and the anime series Attack on Titan is just one of the latest titles to win a sizeable UK following. The town and cities of the UK are dominated by Japanese-themed eateries, including Wagamama and Yo! Sushi as well as independent restaurants, whilst growing numbers of people are signing up for Japanese cooking classes to make their culinary adventures more authentic.
Fashion, cosmetics and literature
Japan has also had a massive influence on fashion in the UK and beyond. The country has had a significant impact on style in the UK over the past 40 years, with influence from key designers including Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe. Japan also holds the most high-profile fashion week of any country in Asia, where the fashion-conscious from cross the West pay close attention to the new innovations being showcased during the event. The Japanese cosmetics scene is built around increasingly-popular highly-efficient products based on natural ingredients.
Renate Bergman, CEO of Japanese Cosmetics Company KiraKira Studio recently said, “The Japanese manufacture forward-thinking advanced cosmetics technology that isnot currently matched in the Western world.”
Ms Bergman made the statement after the announcement that her latest Japanese Cosmetic product, called AHA, will be available in the UK as of August 2017.
Literature across the UK has also been highly influenced by Japanese works and writings. Some of the most well-known Japanese writers in the UK include Banana Yoshimoto and Haruki Murukami.
Music and cosplay
The musical genre J-Pop has received growing levels of exposure over recent years and fuses Western sounds with traditional Japanese music. The scene is known for its so-called “idol groups”, some of which include Hey! Say! JUMP! and Morning Musume. The Japanese cosplay movement involves custom play that takes place outside of theatres and sees people dressing as characters from video games, anime, magna, novels and comics. A number of Japanese culture conventions celebrating this craze take place in the UK ever year. The popularity of Japanese culture in the UK shows no signs of slowing down.
Over the next decade we can expect to see even more influence for the creative and contemporary culture.