I was talking with a friend today about people’s amazing tendency to judge other people based solely on incorrect information… and it occurred to me that the average American and the average Japanese both have views of the other which are based in pure fiction. I’ve been asked what it’s like to eat hamburgers every day. Similarly, Americans have asked me questions about Japanese people that make me confused.

So, let’s list out some common myths about Japanese people and then debunk them:

1) Japanese people do not like sweet things and rich foods.

In fact, Japanese people love sweet foods; however, there’s a set idea of when these foods are good to eat. Usually Japanese people are very health-conscious, so “junk” foods are considered good occasional snacks. You’ll also find that their portion sizes are a lot smaller than what we serve in America. So they like sweet and rich just fine–but in moderation.

2) Japanese people are perverts.

I’ve heard this so many times… let’s see. Japanese people are no more or less perverse than any of us, they’ve just decided to market it. Rather successfully, too, despite the attempts of the government to censor sexual content (and we all know that just makes people get -creative-). Instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, they openly accept it and manage to make money from it.

3) Japanese people are sexist.

Mostly, people think this because of Japan’s “gentlemen clubs,” where guys go to get flirted with by pretty waitresses. What they often don’t realize is that there are ALSO “lady clubs,” which are the exact opposite. In fact, there are many more types of clubs dedicated to giving women attention, with all sorts of themes. You’ll never see THIS on a Japanese clothes tag:

4) Japanese people are really, really good at math.

What list of myths would be complete without the “Asians = math geniuses” one? In fact, my roommate and most of my floormates HATE math and are not good at it. This myth stems from all of the Japanese students studying abroad who are in fact the best and brightest and therefore set a good paradigm that most Japanese students can’t be arsed to live up to:

5) In Japan, anime plays on TV all day long and you see cosplayers everywhere.

Wanna know how many episodes of anime I’ve seen since I got here? What about cosplayers? I’ll give you a hint; the number’s less than one. Japanese TV in fact hardly ever shows anime. They don’t have an anime channel unless you buy an extra packet of stations. And though I’ve seen two people with dyed hair, I haven’t seen a single cosplayer. Maybe in Tokyo you get this, I dunno, but not here. So, to repeat. This is not my class:

Annnd now for some about Americans:

1) Americans eat hamburgers every day.

Just thinking about trying to eat a hamburger every day even for a week makes my stomach churn. I tried explaining this to my floormates and they sort of eyed me disbelievingly. Apparently seeing me live off of broccoli, carrots, rice, and tofu hasn’t convinced them yet. -sigh- Damn Windows-sponsored Burger King commercials…

2) Each American has four significant others and is easy.

I’ve actually been asked how many boyfriends I have! When I answered “Imasen. (I don’t have any)” They looked stunned. “Did you break up before coming here?” “…No.” As per the usual, I blame television. Japan gets (and loves) all of our action movies, and those movies perpetuate this incredibly sexual and promiscuous belief. Of course, our celebrities may also be to blame:

3) Americans are all fundamentalist Christian and homophobic.

I can… sort of see where this one comes from… with the Tea Party on TV every day raving about some new nonexistent injustice or another, and our incredibly ridiculous aversion to anything “gay.” In Japan, masculinity is less defined along the lines of being “macho,” so most Japanese are either ambivalent or accepting of homosexuality. To be fair, homosexual marriage is still illegal in Japan as well, but at least you don’t see this at military funerals:

4) Americans all drive expensive sports cars.

Again, I blame television. All those action movies with the cool cars usually blowing up in impossible ways… it’s no wonder Japanese think that all Americans own four cars and at least one cherry-red convertible among those.

5) Americans don’t know anything about the world.

Oookay, this one may NOT be too much of a myth… but it’s less that we don’t know and more that we don’t CARE, per say. Apathy is a new sport among American youths–is it any surprise that the world sees us as ignorant? I mean, honestly, one of my classmates in history pointed to Britain and said it was Thailand… Luckily, not ALL of us think like this:

Any of these sounding familiar? My goal is to hopefully dispel some of these myths, as they’re just plain stereotyping. Maybe you’ll disagree with me, but in my opinion, stereotyping = bad.

All pictures belong to their respective owners… I mean no copyright infringement, I make no money off of this, and this is all for fun.