GUIDES

Stereotypes all Japanese People Hate

Asuka Langley action figure from Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo Japanese Anime
Asuka Langley action figure from Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo Japanese Anime | Photo by Ryan Yao on Unsplash
Dave Afshar
21 December 2022

While stereotypes exist for nearly every race, country or culture, Japan has the unfortunate honor of being one of the most stereotyped nations on Earth. Below are some of the most commonly believed – and despised – stereotypes about Japan and its people.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Japanese People Eat Sushi Every Day

Do Americans eat cheeseburgers every day? Do Germans eat sausages and drink beer every day? Sushi is the most obvious staple food of Japan, but it is far being the only one. Furthermore, and this may come as a shock – some Japanese people do not enjoy raw fish.

Japanese People Can’t Hold Their Liquor

Tell that to the ojiisan (elderly man) who just drank you under the table at the local bar or izakaya.

All Japanese Girls Love “Kawaii”

Anime girl | Photo by Z Graphica on Unsplash

While Japan is famous for cute things, not all girls are interested in dressing up like a doll and speaking in an absurdly high register. This might come as a surprise to some travelers who only know the country through anime and TV dramas.

All Japanese Women are Subservient and Docile

While Japan still lags behind most Western countries in terms of gender equality, younger Japanese women have become more empowered and individualistic in recent years, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Everyone is Extremely Polite at all Times

On the surface, this seems to be the case; people are quiet on the subway, they don’t litter, and friendly bows are exchanged when friends meet up or part ways. However, most Japanese are about as polite or impolite as anyone else in a casual or informal setting.

All Japanese People Love Manga, Anime and Cosplay

Cosplay | Photo by Aung Khant Maung on Unsplash

This is like assuming that all Americans love baseball and handguns. While the country is often associated with these things, not every single citizen enjoys them.

Japanese People are Still Bitter Toward Americans Because of WWII

This is just flat-out false. In fact, most Japanese people – especially younger ones – share a curiosity and appreciation for the Western world, and if you show respect for their culture they will likely extend the same treatment to you.

Japan is the Weirdest Country on Earth

Thanks to a number of sensationalist news outlets, Japan has earned the reputation of being the epicenter for all things weird. This is simply not the case, and most of the bizarre fashions or hobbies you read about online are only appreciated in very small circles.

All Japanese Students are Diligent and Hard Working

Enroll in a university course here – or better yet, try teaching one, and then see if your perspective on this matter has changed.

Japan is a High-Tech Wonderland

This may have been true during the bubble in the 70’s and 80’s, but don’t let the bright lights of Shibuya crossing fool you. Japan is now lagging far behind its neighbors in China and Korea, as well as most of the Western world. Diplomats and foreign workers in Japan are usually shocked to find they still need to use a fax machine at the office.

Whale, Dolphin, and Horse Meat are Staple Foods at Every Dinner Table

These foods exist in Japan, but they are hardly a staple; if you do come across any of these items, it will be in a specialty restaurant and certainly not in a Japanese family’s home.

Japanese People are Bad at all Sports That aren’t Sumo Wrestling

Baseball match, Tokyo, Japan | Photo by Stefan Lehner on Unsplash

Baseball is hugely popular in Japan, as is tennis, soccer, swimming, basketball, track and field – the list goes on. Just because they originated here, there is no reason to assume that sumo wrestling and karate are the only athletics Japanese people excel at.

There is no Good Beer or Liquor in Japan, only Sake

This is an outdated belief left over from post-WWII Japan, when a cheap beer substitute called hoppy became popular among ordinary citizens who could not afford to drink real beer. That was nearly eighty years ago, and the Japanese have since become proficient brewers of beer, whisky and wine. Yamazaki single malt whisky was even ranked the #1 whiskey in the world in 2015, much to the chagrin of Scottish distilleries.

Everyone Hides Their True Feelings at all Times

Everyone who has Japanese friends knows this is not true.

Young Japanese People Have no Interest in Dating or Romance

Traditional Japanese wedding in Kyoto, Japan | Photo by Samuli Jokinen on Unsplash

Recent articles on the nation’s declining population and marriage rates have painted the Japanese youth as uninterested in dating or finding a romantic partner. Even the Japanese press have perpetuated the stereotype by giving the phenomenon a name: sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”. However, fewer babies does not mean people have stopped having sex – it means they are not having babies, which is more an indicator of a struggling economy than lack of romantic prowess.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Memories from our trips