I’m a Japanophile, and as a Japanophile I’ve heard all the tired arguments about what’s wrong with Japan and why I should think that America is so awesome. A lot of those arguments are based in either assumption/ignorance (“dude, anime is just as bad as western cartoons, we just only get the good stuff”) or one-sided xenophobia (“their history books lie about war crimes, we must hate them!”) to just believing whatever you read on Sankaku Complex (“isn’t Japan the country where everyone plays rape simulators?”) Most of these can be dismissed because anyone who isn’t stupid can immediately see why they’re wrong.
Last night I read this passage:
It is vulgar and foolish to look down upon the ways of one’s own district as being boorish, or to even be open to the persuasion of the other place’s ways and to think about giving up one’s own. That one’s own district is unsophisticated and unpolished is a great treasure. Imitating another style is simply a sham.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, “The Lotus Sutra Sect’s character is not good because it’s so fearsome.”
Shungaku replied, “It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether.” This is reasonable.
These sage words come from no other source than Hagakure, written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo and translated by William Scott Wilson.
This actually makes me more of a Japanophile.
Think about it: Japan is such an awesome country that the only country that can convincingly criticize it is Japan itself. There’s something to be said for that.