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  • What does it mean to be Japanese in 2017?
  • What does it mean to be Japanese in 2017?
    Toomore Chiang, Creative Commons (2016) ©

A Cultural Snapshot of Japan

What’s got Japanese people worried about their work-life balance? Why are more men staying at home to raise the kids? And how did Halloween become a national holiday? This Cultural Snapshot uses local stats and case studies to explore behavioural norms shared by Japanese people in 2017.

Location Japan

Culture is notoriously difficult to define. You might know culture when you see it, but could you describe it? For us, culture means the behavioural norms shared by a group of people – the things that are learned socially, rather than inherited genetically. So culture doesn’t drive the desire to eat, but it plays a big part in determining what food you choose.

It’s also constantly on the move. Some aspects of it faster than others. Anthropologist Grant McCracken divides it into ‘fast’ and ‘slow’. Slow culture shifts over centuries, while fast culture can change in just a few ...



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    Sake 2020: taking native booze beyond Japan

    Sake may have waned in popularity in Japan, but the demand for rice wine is rapidly growing elsewhere in the world. The Sake 2020 Project, formed in anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics, is leading the effort to ‘create a better environment to promote sake to foreign customers’.

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    Gudetama: the lazy egg that’s winning hearts in Japan

    Mascots have long been used to front brands in Japan, but Gudetama – a lazy anthropomorphic egg – is a far cry from the cutesy characters typically seen. It now appears on around 1,700 items, boasting its own Twitter feed and pop-up cafés, but how has it won the hearts of people nationwide?

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    Who are Japan’s Gen Y worshippers?

    Blessing ceremonies? Power stones? Cultivating one’s ki energy? Gen Yers in Japan aren't just embracing these things – a growing number are spending on them, too. Amid economic turmoil and rampant Americanisation, young Japan is turning to religion for both their personal and national identities.

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    Ariana Miyamoto: how a hafu beauty queen is challenging racial stereotypes

    When the daughter of a Japanese mother and African American father entered the 2015 Miss Universe contest, she knew the controversy she would face if she won. Now, representing Japan in her freshly-won crown, Ariana Miyamoto is challenging Japan's racial stereotypes.