Travel Shows Mirror Japan’s Imagined Globalization

JAPANsociology got its first mainstream media citation, in a column by Philip Brasor in the Japan Times, “Travel Shows Warp True Globalization.”

Brasor notes the parochial nature of Japanese travel shows, which often depict the world outside Japan as worthy of fear and caution. To paraphrase Jennifer Robertson, such events are about presenting the world in a way that reduces the ontological anxiety  Japanese may experience when worrying about Japan’s place in the world.

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo follow the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Each event was to usher in a new era of internationalization, strengthening Japan’s connection to the rest of the world. Instead, we see the more things change, the more they stay the same. The question isn’t whether Japan is connected to the rest of the world, but how the Japanese people interpret that connection.

As WI Thomas and DS Thomas wrote in 1928, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”