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Original | Scanlation: gomidog
LJ Post


■Japan and the Footsteps of Westernization■



The Westernization during the Meiji period that rapidly followed the opening of the country
lead to some strange cultural blending between Japan and the West.



■Japan and Western Culture■



【Meiji Era】
Lasted from the first year of Meiji government, 1868 to July 30, 1912
(Meiji 45/The start of the Taisho Era).
During this era, Japan tried very hard to observe and imitate Europe and America.

During this time Japan was apparently quite fanatical about learning English, and
you would often see cute scenes of people using English words randomly all over the place.

In Japan it was very chic to play with English by writing
comical limericks (dodoitsu), combining both English and Japanese words.

【France's Sneeze】

In French, the Japanese "hakushon!" is "atchoum!"
I've heard that when someone sneezes, others say
"A vos(tes) souhaits!" (May your wish be granted!)




■Westernization and Occult Japan - 1■

Clairvoyance was a fad for a while.




【Clairvoyance】
At the time in Japan there was a sensational boom in interest in this kind of ESP power.
Around then, all sorts of people claiming to be capable of unthinkable ESP
started appearing left and right, so a variety of scientists began to to study clairvoyance.
In the end, however, the truth remained a mystery.


By the way, the vision that Japan had showed the sceneof carnage typical of a cartoonist's work.
In every era, cartoonists had a rough job, eh?


【Walking Corpse】


An enemy from the horror game "Siren."
If I look at them closely, their mischievous nature and their appearance
which evokes a feeling of nostalgia makes them seem very cute to me.

In Japan, too, in the summer and before deadlines there tends to be a huge outbreak of them.


【Ponchi-e (Cartoons)】

What we would call manga today.
The first person to publish a manga magazine in Japan was an Englishman.

In the beginning there were things called "Gekiga" (Dramatic Pictures) and
"Kyouga" (Crazy Pictures) that were the predecessors of current day manga.
They took some of their cues from western culture
and then blossomed in a variety of different directions.




■Westernization and Occult Japan - 2■

America came over.






【Table Turning】

Everyone would stick their hands together on a three-legged table and ask
questions, and if the table moved once it meant "yes," twice it meant "no."
It was a method of fortunetelling kind of like a western version of Japan's "kokkuri-san."
They say that this was the origin of "kokkuri-san."

At the moment of modernization when this game entered Japan,
it became enormously popular and in Meiji 19 there were even specialty table turning shops.


■Japan and Western Youths■





【Revival of Old Customs】

In the middle of the rapid westernization there was a movement
among the common folk to revert to the old traditions,
with the attitude that perhaps their cultural past was better.
In the end, Japan calmed down and came to the conclusion
that Japanese things were alright after all.


【Some things that established themselves in Japan during the Meiji Era】



【Beer】

Beer was also one of the things adopted into the Japanese lifestyle during this period.
The first brewery to produce beer for the general public was built near the spring in Yamate.


As the fresh water of Japan was ideal for brewing beer,
an American named Mr. Copland set his eyes on Japan and thought
"I can make some great beer here!!"
He quickly founded a company called "Springbury Brewery."


Known as "Bia-sake," the drink spread far and wide in Japan, and eventually
became so popular that they even began to export beer that had been made.
However, business conditions went downhill and ownership of
the brewery was transfered to a Japanese company.


That company, Japan Breweries, was the precursor to today's Kirin Beer.


The first person to make beer in mainland Japan was Kawamoto Sachitami,
who attempted to replicate the beer that he had gotten when Perry landed in 1854.
He is also known for being the founder of modern Japanese Chemistry.
Sugita Genshiro was another person who decided to try making beer after he had tasted it.






【Coffee】
Coffee was first imported into Japan in the 5th year of Ansei (1858)
It was after Japan began trading freely with other countries.

At the time, it was considered an extremely high class drink.


It appears that coffee entered Japan before that,
brought by Dutch ships into Nagasaki during the Edo Era,
and so there is some speculation that the Japanese people there drank it as well.

In 1804, a certain comical tanka poet wrote
"Today I drank some coffee/Uwah, what is this!/It tastes burnt."

The reason why coffee never made it's way out of Dejima was probably because
it was the kind of drink that would produce the reaction of
"Uwah, what is this!" to those with Japanese tastes.

Axis Powers Hetalia and its characters belong to Himaruya Hidekaz and Gentosha comics.