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14 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  atf-admin 5 months ago
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    Mark Bookman

    Hey Ivan,

    Maybe it’s because of my position in the academy, but I tend to reject any blanket statements like “Japanese people think X” or “Japanese culture is Y.” There’s so much diversity in Japan it’s hard to pin down any one strain of thought as being essentially ‘Japanese.’ I suspect the same is true for your own country.

    Having said that, there are certainly histories/legacies of discrimination like those that you mentioned. But I think they’re very much in the minority: like racists or misogynists in any other country. If your concern is that ‘all people in Japan are samurai’ you’re putting too much weight on the thought of one individual. Besides, what the hell does it mean to be a samurai anyway? Different people will interpret the meaning of samurai in different ways, and their interpretations will govern their actions. It’s kind of like the myth that Japan is a homogenous society – it wants to be, and may present itself as such, but it certainly isn’t in many social, political, economic, and cultural ways.

    I’d be happy to chat more about this if you like.



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    I have been helped thousands of times by random strangers here, so I know from first hand experience that Japanese people are very kind.

    I think Yuriko’s comment was a “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” situation.  I think people who travel and have a good time in another country (she travels a lot) project that good feeling on to everyone in that country, and when they return home they start comparing their great experience with their everyday life.

    I know it is the same for me.  I am originally from Canada (a country with an image of being friendly) but when I visited Japan for the first time I felt it was so much more friendly. But it was just that I was used to Canada so it seemed boring and I just wanted to go back to Japan because it was new and exciting.

    Since this is a travel forum, the thing I would suggest is to come and visit Japan to see for yourself!  You already have some friends waiting here. 🙂

    I love accessible travel so much I started this website and Accessible Japan!
    Power wheelchair user.

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    Hi Mark,

    Yes, I agree. I’m also against blanket statements that are meant to be definitive. I wasn’t trying to make such statements in the first pace. Diversity exists anywhere, but somehow there is always an generalized, superficial image that represents each country. That image is never a 100% correct but there’s some truth in it. I’ve always though that Japan is an extremely polite country because that is what I keep hearing, and which is why I found it hard to believe otherwise when i read those articles.

    There’s a huge difference between “all people in Japan are Samurai” and “Japan is a samurai Culture”. Of course They are not all Samurai, but they are influenced by the traits that make up a samurai culture. Such traits could represent a physical side like strength, health, combat… Or a more intellectual side like peace of mind, discipline, respect… All of these traits combined, make up the culture that Japan is today. So what I think Yoriko was referring to, is the physical strength and dexterity that the samurai are most known to, traits that those with “physical” disabilities lack, which is why she also stated that Japanese people don’t know how to help a weaker person.

    Objectively speaking, with my disability aside, it’s fascinating to me how the Japanese culture is evolving, disabled friendly or not. But spilling some feelings into it, I feel that the Japanese people are one of the top respectable and polite people as a whole. But I guess to be sure I’ll have to visit and see for myself.



    Hi Josh,

    That makes sense, we compare based on where we come from. I’m from Lebanon originally, and Lebanon is a third word country with an image that isn’t considered so pretty to the rest of the world. So when I went to live in the U.S for a year, I clearly saw a huge difference in terms of accessibility, quality of life, opportunities and so on. But to my surprise, I encountered countless U.S citizens that kept complaining about how unhappy they feel about certain things in the country, and most of them praised countries in Europe for getting such things right. But to me, in the U.S, everything felt right. I’m sure I’m going to feel the same way about Japan when I visit, because the difference between here and there would be huge, for the better of course. And I’m honored to be your friend, Josh. Thank you 🙂

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