The Western world has had a sizeable influence on Japanese culture over the centuries and vice versa. For a long time, Japan was closed to outside influences other than those of China and Korea, but this all changed in the 19th century when many Japanese people began to research the languages, technology and sciences of the West.
Following the Meiji Restoration, Japan started to take more and more inspiration from Western governments, banks, educational systems, military organisations and more. The West began to influence fashions, hairstyles and sporting activities greatly. Though there was a reaction towards the Western influence in the 1890s, interest in the West began to re-emergence around WW1. More interest in Western fashions appeared, and more people started to flock to coffee shops and listen to classical music. Another decline in Western influences occurred during WWII, but the West has had a constant influence on the way the Japanese live their lives since this point.
Western cuisines and pastimes
Japanese movies, fashions and music have all borrowed a great deal from Western trends since the second World War, and Western foods including burgers and pizzas have played a huge part in culinary habits, particularly amongst the young. Activities such as skateboarding and rollerskating are popular pastimes amongst the youth of Japan, and the ports of Kobe and Yokohama even have their own Western districts built on the cultures of Europe and North America.
A mutually-beneficial relationship
Japan has been an ally of the US since the war, and its economy grew significantly following the Vietnam and Korean Wars. The quality of its exports grew dramatically between the war and the 1970s, and Americans have spent hundreds of billion pounds on Japanese products, with the country also having a notable impact on Western culture. Movements such as anime, magna have a huge following in Europe and America, whilst western cultural exports such as music, movies and games have equally enthusiastic levels of fandom in Japan. The mutually-beneficial relationship between Japan and the West is showing no signs of coming to an end.