Is globalization making our world homogenized?

by Chika Yamamoto

We often hear the word “globalization” these days in everywhere and we actually see and feel all the outcomes of globalization. As we talked in the first class, it is often said that globalization makes our world similar. For example, if you go to the big cities such as New York, London, Vancouver, and Tokyo, there are not so much differences in the buildings, companies, shops there. Big cities always have high buildings and skyscrapers, and we see lots of common international corporations such as Macdonald, Starbucks, Gap, Zara, Louis Viton, Nike and so on. Now we can find sushi restaurants everywhere in the world. All the signs in those big cities are in English even though it’s in non-English-speaking countries. So, people say that the world is getting similar. But, is it really true? Are all the international companies are selling exactly same things? Do people feel that they are in Japan when they are in Macdonald in New York? I think globalization is not making our world homogeneity but is actually making our world more various and diverse.

Here is one of the examples of the variety and diversity resulted from globalization. Sushi is getting really famous and popular food in the world. When I went to Canada, I was surprised at a huge number of sushi restaurants there. I guess there was the same number of sushi restaurants in Toronto and Montreal as the number of convenience stores in Japan. If we explain that you can find sushi restaurants anywhere in the world, it may mean that world is getting same. However, are those sushi sold in Canada same as Japanese sushi? Some restaurants sell the real Japanese sushi like “nigiri sushi”,but it seems common to have “their” sushi. The most common one is California roll that contains avocado and crab mixed with mayonnaise. Not only that, but also they have whole bunch of “their” sushi we’ve never seen in Japan. So, sushi is arranged to fit in that culture.

According to Matsumoto (2002), there are sushi restaurants in New York that serve specific sushi topping for Jewish keeping “Kosher”, the rule of what they can eat and cannot eat. In South America, some people dip sushi in salsa source instead of dipping in soy sauce, which is targeted for Latin people. Thus, sushi has spread all over the world changing the content of sushi and the style in order to fit in that culture and society. I think those sushi are not “Japanese” sushi anymore. People around world get an idea from sushi and they create new types of sushi for people living there. As a result, sushi culture is enriched and now there are various kinds of sushi in the world.

In conclusion, I think globalization enriches cultures in the world. In other words, new types of cultures or way to provide international products are appeared when culture is influenced by other culture or when people try to adopt foreign products or culture. I show only one example, however we can say the same thing about menu of Macdonald or clothes of H&M and Gap. I guess that’s because globalization is always strongly tied to economy, and market place differs in different places. So, naturally it results in varying their culture and their products. And, I think it is really important to have their color or flavor in internationalized cities. Therefore, I believe that developing countries that are going to be like world cities had better take account of this idea and apply this so that they won’t lose their culture and they will develop themselves. I think that is the good way to be globalized.


Matsumoto Hirotaka (2002). ”お寿司、地球を廻る” Kobun-sha.