Japan is one of the leading countries in the world that has its own unique culture that contains many interesting facts and myths, which will be discussed below.
Myth One: The Japanese are narrow-eyed and squint-eyed.
The illusion of a smaller size arises because the representatives of the Mongoloid race have the so-called "Mongoloid fold of the upper eyelid" filling the "empty" space of the eye socket. However, at the same time, the orbit itself in Mongoloids is larger than that of Caucasians, so that, since Caucasians are accustomed to a different ratio of the size of the eye and the orbit, and we (Caucasians) are accustomed to considering the size of the latter to be constant, then we have the feeling that the eyes of Mongoloids are already than the Caucasians. But this is nothing more than an optical illusion, by the way, characteristic only for the sensations of Caucasians. The Japanese themselves do not perceive European eyes as wider. A similar optical illusion occurs with "squint". This is also an optical illusion associated with the fact that the Mongoloids have a less prominent nose, and the Caucasians are used to mentally "tying" their eyes to the nose. Since the Mongoloids' nose "begins" lower, it seems to us that the eyes are somewhat slanted.
Myth two: Japan is a small country.
Everything is relative. The territory of Japan is 377 thousand sq. km. This is more than, say, the territory of a unified Germany, and almost equivalent to the territory of Italy. The population of Japan (125 million people) is only slightly less than the population of Russia. From a political point of view, Japan has always been the strongest state in the Far East, even stronger than China, mired in internal conflicts. The nature of Japan is also very diverse - it is not only megalopolises like Tokyo, but also forests, fields, rivers and mountains.
Myth Three: Japanese cities have the highest population density in the world.
This is not true. The three most densely populated cities in the world are Manila, Shanghai and Cairo. The fourth place is Paris, the fifth is Bombay. Tokyo is seventh, Osaka is ninth, Moscow is thirteenth, New York is fourteenth. Of these 105 cities, seven are Japanese and thirteen are American.
Myth Four: Many Japanese are good at martial arts.
This is not true. Yes, some types of martial arts are taught in Japanese schools in physical education classes, but usually this is kendo - the art of using a sword, useless in a duel, since carrying knives is prohibited in Japan. They do not learn any real fighting techniques at school, and very few people have time for extracurricular activities with such things. According to statistics, a person who can fight well because of possession of special knowledge in this area is much easier to meet in Russia than in Japan, since many served in special forces.
Myth 5: Japan has no army.
Indeed, according to the Constitution, Japan does not have an army. But then there is the "Self-Defense Forces", which is a small but well-armed, trained and efficient professional army. Basically, it includes the Navy and Air Force. This army is intended only for the defense of the country, and not for an aggressive military policy.
Myth six: The Kuriles are a primordially Russian land.
This is only partially true. Two different groups of territories should not be confused: the northern and central Kurils, which were actually part of the Russian Empire until 1871 and then transferred to Japan, and the South Kurils (the islands of Shikotan, Kunashir, Iturup and the Habomai ridge), which had never been part of the the composition of any state other than Japan. It is these four territories that are the stumbling block in Russian-Japanese relations. By the way, it was on Iturup Island that the naval base was located, from which in 1941 the squadron of Admiral Nagumo went to bomb Pearl Harbor.
Myth Seven: Japan is an awfully expensive country.
This is not entirely true. Indeed, prices in Japan are substantially higher than in the United States. However, they are close to prices in Europe, say, in France. In many respects, this is the result not so much of inflated prices as of the inadequate exchange rate of the yen against the dollar. And if we compare not prices, but the ratio of wages and prices, then the Japanese will turn out to be no poorer than the inhabitants of the same USA.
Myth Eight: The Japanese, like the Russians, have a surname after the first name.
This is not true. The opposite is true: traditionally, the Japanese have their first name after their last name. Nevertheless, both in Russia and in many other countries there is a tradition of "Europeanizing" Japanese names. It should be noted that this practice does not apply to, say, China. In the name "Mao Zedong", "Mao" is the surname.
Myth Nine: Suicide is common in Japan.
Yes, there is a culture of suicide in Japan. But the real suicide rate is lower than the German and Swedish, not to mention Russia.
Myth ten: The Japanese are hard-working and non-drinking people, not very good at and loving to have fun.
Oddly enough, this applies to Japan in exactly the same degree as to Russia. Yes, the Japanese work a lot, and sometimes they "earn" to death, but the expression "burn out at work" was invented in Russia. The number of people who died from overwork in modern Japan and Russia in the early 1980s is about the same. The Japanese are also not fools to drink, often more than they need to, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Japan is constantly growing.
The Japanese idea of entertainment is also in many ways similar to the Russian one.
Recreation in nature or with friends is very popular.
In addition, Japan is a massively reading country.
Another thing is that they read manga more often than books themselves, but this is an indicator only of cultural characteristics, and not the level of culture.
Myth Eleven: The Japanese are very difficult to understand.
This is not true. The Japanese are no more difficult to understand than the Americans. They are practical and rational, not at all inclined to philosophical allusions and profound reflections. Another thing is that the Japanese are polite and very rarely directly refuse or express a negative opinion, for which they are often accused of duplicity. However, this is a characteristic feature of many polite people of any nation, and a polite Russian in this sense is no easier to understand than a polite Japanese.
Myth Twelve: Japanese culture is very difficult to understand and Japanese is very difficult to learn.
No more than any other culture and any other language. There is nothing particularly difficult in Japanese culture. And the Japanese language is complicated only by Chinese characters, with which, by the way, many Japanese also have problems.
Myth Thirteen: Japanese children study a lot in school.
On average, no more than Russian children. True, they still go to juku - tutoring courses for college or high school. But such courses also exist in Russia. In general, the volume of requirements for Japanese schoolchildren does not exceed the volume of Soviet school requirements of the 1960s. As in the USSR of that time, much attention is paid to memorization and cramming, because in Japan it is believed that school is the place where the child must learn to be industrious and diligent.
Myth Fourteenth: The Japanese are not resourceful.
Japan holds the second place in the world (after the United States) in terms of the number of patents registered annually for inventions, and the relaxed thinking of their writers and artists can only be envied. For example, floppy disks were invented in the late 1940s in Japan.
Myth fifteen: The Japanese are sex addicts.
And there is nothing close. In terms of the number of rapes, Japan is many times behind the United States. In Japan, there have never been epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, which were the scourge of Europe in modern times. In general, no special attention was paid to sex in the Japanese tradition - it was an ordinary part of everyday life and the source of many jokes, but not the subject of complexes and torments. That is why most of the types of sexual entertainment in Japan are not associated with sex in themselves - usually these are "games of perversion", known in tsarist Russia, very provocative, but quite innocent. Most modern Japanese people, both women and men, lose their innocence only after marriage.
Myth Sixteen: The Japanese Mafia is cool.
There is nothing special about the Japanese mafia. In many ways, the behavior of the Japanese yakuza resembles the behavior of our "brothers". Similar cars, way of dressing, manner of speech ... Only the Japanese are usually a little more cultured and less aggressive. As in Russia, they control the shadow economy and illegal business, but their presence does not make them less safe on the streets of Japan. But unorganized crime, which is the most dangerous for ordinary citizens, is significantly less in Japan.
Myth seventeenth: The Japanese are sadists.
There has never been anything more terrible than what the participants of the Civil War in Russia did to each other. But this is not a reason to consider the inhabitants of Russia sadists. And for everything that the Japanese did in China and Korea during World War II, the Japanese government apologized and admitted its guilt. This cannot be said about any other country in the world.
Myth Eighteenth: The Japanese are poor at languages.
No worse than the people of Russia or the Americans. Most Japanese people do not need knowledge of languages other than Japanese in life, but others have enough English. Moreover, those who often use it usually know it very well.
Myth Nineteenth: Contemporary Japanese popular culture is secondary to American popular culture.
This is not entirely true. Yes, the general structure of popular culture was borrowed by the Japanese in the United States. But in this structure, the Japanese laid their own, rather original content, and therefore modern Japanese music and mass literature begin to conquer not only Asian, but also American and European markets, which would never have happened if they were only a cheap repetition of the already existing Western culture ...
Myth Twentieth: Japanese people like it when foreigners can say a few words in Japanese.
No more than the people of Russia like it when people try to speak with them in broken Russian. To some it seems flattering, to some it is very annoying. In general, you shouldn't try to look silly and say phrases you are not sure about the pronunciation or meaning.