Anyone here obsessed with Japanese culture (i.e. anime/manga, cherry trees, samurai, kendo, taiko, karate/judo/aikido, sushi, teriyaki, Kurosawa, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano) and things related to it (Little Tokyo, Comic-Con) and consider themselves or have been called a Japanophile?
I find America’s rising obsession with Japan so interestingly ironic. 20 years ago in elementary school and throughout high school, anyone who looked remotely Asian was called Chino or China.
My mother and other Japanese tenants in nearby apartment buildings in Boyle Heights were and still are called Chin@ by neighbors.
Nowadays, elementary and high school students carry “manga” (Japanese comics) books with them and are fascinated with Japanese culture. Some high school students I’ve worked with are so obsessed with Japan that they are studying the language via podcast and the internet on their own so that they can one day travel there.
An American Caucasian friend of mine who now lives in Tokyo with his Japanese girlfriend has told me that he feels most at home when he arrives to Narita Airport. Another Mexican American/Chicano friend has told me he believes he was Japanese in his past lifetime because of his deep interest in Japan and the culture.
Oh, how I wonder what it would have been like to be “cool” for bringing salmon and riceballs to school in my pink New Kids on the Block lunchbox while envying my classmates who had normal sandwiches and bags of pepinos.
An article by Oxy professor, Morgan Ptelka. http://www.discovernikkei.org/forum/en/node/1709