One of the reasons for this blog is to provide sets of data that perhaps refute popular notions people hold about Japan. As the primary language of this blog in English, I mostly address the foreigner population. However, in Japan there is a popular genre of … I want to write fiction, but I should say opinion so as not to appear too biased, called Nihonjinron, basically the premise that Japan and the Japanese are some not just unique, but the most unique (yes, that’s deliberately semantically incorrect) nation, with the implicit race equals nationality undertones. This fuels a huge book industry (putting the term into Amazon.jp gives me 2,065 hits), reinforcing this perceived uniqueness that the (usually Western) traveller to Japan soon encounters. The unique four seasons (let’s ignore the rainy season), intestines being three times longer, penises are shorter but thicker (the first part of this last one at least is true); or, since the Japanese often view themselves as a whole, they also assume all Westerners are alike, so we can’t use chopsticks, dislike adzuki bean paste, and can’t learn Japanese fully.
It seems, according to an article the NPR forum, that there is a plan underway to write a book exploding the myths of Nihonjinron, which I hope is being written in Japanese. It would also be worthwhile, I think, producing an English anthology of some of the more bonkers Nihonjinron arguments.