Japanese are naturally keener savers than Americans
MYTH! “Japan did everything it could to facilitate exports while making sure that its own citizens were careful to save- slowing them down, if need be, with heavy commodity taxes” The Reckoning pg 426
MYTH! The Japanese traditionally ate from individual tables and trays rather than from a common table, the chabudai was introduced in the Meiji period specifically to Westernize dining habits.
Japanese traditional wooden housing is good at withstanding earthquakes
MYTH! “Homes built by Canadian carpenters conspicuously survived the [Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995], spotlighting the structural superiority of platform-based two-by-four construction over post-and-beam construction” Saying Yes to Japan pg 79
John Manjiro was the first Japanese to visit North America
MYTH! “Hasekura Tsunenaga and the 180-member diplomatic mission that he led en route to Europe in 1614… travelled… up the east coasts of Florida and Georgia before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Spain” letter to the Japan Times, 9 Mar 08
Karate means “empty hand”
MYTH! That kanji is now used to write its name (空手) , but its original name came from kara meaning Chinese (漢 ??) and te for hand (手), as the Okinawans who developed it (to fight against the Japanese who were trying to take Okinawa over) had developed it from Chinese marshall arts.
Kabuki means song dance acrobatics.
MYTH! – Although kabuki is now written with the kanji with that meaning (歌舞伎), it originally came from the unconnected word kabuku,meaning “fashionable” or “twisted”.
The advent of Christian weddings is killing the old tradition of weddings in shrines
MYTH! In fact, before the Meiji period weddings were usually held at home. Moving them to the public space of a shrine was a response to exactly the same pressures of showing off in a world where not everyone is a neighbour as the present changes
Taiko drumming is traditional Japanese music
MYTH! “The style of taiko best known today is not more than fifty years old… The first recorded use of taiko drums was as a battlefield instrument; the drums were used to intimidate and scare the enemy, …and to coordinate movements” Uneasy Warriors pg 193
Tokyo is the ultimate dehumanized metropolis.
MYTH! The crime figures alone are enough to suggest this is not true (yet). Unlike in London, most people in Tokyo have both strong family ties, a link through at least one parent or grandparent to a smaller hometown or village (often visited), an emotional connection and dedication to their work or company, and/or a connection to the area where they live. Looking at how many of the high profile crimes and suicides in Tokyo involve people that is not true for and how many more people in the UK lack those ties and/or are being brought up by parents who lack them, you might understand my despair for the future mental health of the UK
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was the only building to escape the 1923 Kanto earthquake unscathed.
MYTH! Lots of Western buildings still stood after the quake, the Imperial Hotel was just lucky in being in an area with no fires.
There were so many fires after the 1923 Kanto earthquake around Tokyo because it was lunchtime and people had their fires lit for cooking.
MYTH! In fact chemicals were the single largest cause, followed by electric wires- both of which there are a lot more of now in Tokyo than in 1923. A little worrying…
Lifetime employment is the Japanese way
MYTH! “According to one estimate, only about one-fifth of all Japanese workers enjoy the lifetime employment and other benefits that supposedly characterise Japanese labour relations” Yankee Samurai by Dennis Laurie pg 90
It is perfectly okay for an adult to read manga and everyone does it.
Not true! Explanation somewhere else on this site…