29 January, 2011

Japanese Pop Culture

Ukiyoe Exhibition Poster
Originally uploaded by yujiblog
One interesting thing about Japanese people is that they often appreciate things from other countries a lot while they underestimate their own pop culture.

Please look at this poster of Ukiyo-e.

They are going to feature Ukiyoe pieces coming from Boston!

Sadly, many of the most precious Ukiyo-e pieces are actually outside Japan.

When Japanese economy was boosting like crazy, during the economic bubble period, Japan bought a lot of famous European paintings.

But with the same money, Japan could have bought back some of the Japanese treasures.

I have been to Boston and DC, seen how nicely they those Japanese treasures were kept in their museums. I must say I felt happy about that.

Discovery of Ukiyo-e was by French people. Until then, some Japanese people used ukiyo-e prints as wrapping paper when they exported other Japanese products to France. The prints were treated just like old newspaper.

Probably in the old days, ukiyo-e was considered and consumed as part of pop culture, somewhat like manga is now.

But with no doubt, manga and anime are treasures of Japan that people can be proud of.

One more thing they can be proud of is, that people don't laugh at you if you are an adult and reading a manga on the train.

A lot of adults are playing video games on the train, too!

Just one more thing. If you have some Hello Kitty products (whatever), people don't think you are silly!

P.S. Do people laugh at you if you are reading a comic book on the train in your country?

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