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Different waves of Japanese invasion

Titilaok Oct 13,2012 0 Comments

Words by Michael Luchico

There are many things around a Filipino’s life that are greatly influenced by Japanese culture.


This is no hypothetical question since the Japanese Invasion has come to the Philippine’s scenic shores in different waves. The first invasion came in 1941. The Japanese booted out the Americans and began the Japanese occupation. This left some lasting effects in the Philippine society like the slew of angered women who was harassed by the Japanese. Their first coming is not as pleasant as a country would desire.

The second invasion came in the 1970s. When kamikaze fighter jets and ships came roaring in the 40s, it was robots and giant monsters that came this time around. Mazinger Z, Grandaizer, Daimos, and the more famous giant robot, Voltes V. This Japandemonium hit a critical mass only to be cut short at its peak. But not by robot beasts, or endearingly called robeasts, The Marcos regime had the last Bozanian like laughter when he ordered that all violent cartoons be put out of commission.

And in the 90s, the Japanese cartoons, now called anime, came back. And that time they stayed for good. The re-entry of the Japanese was met with open arms. Super Sentai, and super color-coordinated, Biomen, Mask Rider Black, and Maskmen came and captured the imagination of many. Animes like Dragon Ball Z, Yaiba, Gundam, Slam Dunk, Time Quest, Ghost Fighter, Mojaco, Doraemon, and the like followed suit. Voltes V and Daimos even made their triumphant return and finally the children of the 70s saw the ending to their beloved cartoons. Every kid was striking poses with their friends to imitate Sentai warriors and they were even mimicking the rolling of hands for the kame-hame wave. This trend continued and helped in raising a generation that was not aware of the injustices in the 1940s and very much receptive of the innovative Japanese.

Japanese pop lore also became a sub-culture in the Philippines. There are now people who make costumes of their favorite heroes and act like them. These are called cosplayers. They brave the criticism of other people just to walk in the streets and conventions and show their love for their heroes. It was a struggle to gain acceptance from the general populace. But recently, the cosplayers hit the main stream with the emergence of Alodia Gosiengfiao. Alodia, the Japanese-looking-Pinay so-called-cosplay goddess, became the poster child of the sub-culture for the average Juans. Her contributions to cosplay are still up for debate for the purists of the art form. But nowadays it is not far flung to see Naruto walking along the halls of Megamall.

Japanese music also tickled the rhythmic fancy of the Filipinos. J-pop had its moment under the sun. The young ones moved and grooved to J-pop parties. And speaking of move and groove, a Japanese woman visited the country last year. And her arrival moved men. Maria Ozawa, true-blue-Japanese vixen, came to the country and caused a stir among the boys of the island.

The prior Japan invasions may seem too skewed to the young and the young-at-heart. But as of late, more and more parts of the Japanese culture are coming in and they are targeted at the more mature Filipinos. A good example is the arrival of the shop, Muji. The name, ‘Muji’, is known in Japan as the retail company that sells a wide variety of household and consumer goods. It is known for its minimalistic approach to design, recycling and having no logos on their products.

After Muji, Uniqlo came to the country. Uniqlo is another famous fashion chain in Japan. The Filipinos waited long and even lined up for the fashion chain’s first shop. The first days were a blast and just like that, the Filipinos once more embrace the Japanese culture.

The Japanese culture has been a great part of the Filipinos’ lives. There are many things around a Filipino’s life that are greatly influenced by Japanese culture. The programs on TV, the manga comics, the J-pop songs, the fashion, the robots, the video games, the electronic devices are mostly of Japanese descent. It might have taken a while for the Japan fever to finally catch fire. But now, the Filipinos are having no problem at all in embracing these unique and very interesting concepts.

The Filipinos still have this strong sense of self and patriotism. But there are a great number of cultures that the young and old are very willing to try on. A bold statement to show that the Filipinos are not afraid to learn a new culture.

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