Insular imaginations

It’s safe to say that a lot of nerds, from experience, have certain foreign countries to idolise. It’s almost always either Britain or Japan. Ireland and Korea aren’t that far behind but not to the same extent as they’d be regarded as lesser copies of the former two.


Nerdy Hibernophiles, Teutonophiles and Francophiles do exist but not to the same extent for similar reasons. They have pop culture that gets exported but not so visibly. It could be said of any other country.


For Britain, it’s the lure of being not too foreign. Ireland’s not that far behind but not enough to exert a substantial influence despite or rather because of being close to Britain. Inevitably it’ll play second fiddle to its coloniser.


Similar things can be said of Japan and Korea. Korea’s quickly catching up but isn’t as vocal as the fandom for Japan. Ditto the other countries that helped influence them like Norway, France, China and India.


Again it boils down to a lot of soft power whilst not being too foreign or more idealised in other regards.

2 thoughts on “Insular imaginations

  1. I think the appeal of Japan, from a British perspective, is that while it is a foreign culture with lots of differences, there’s still a lot of similarities. Both cultures like to be polite and respect their elders and tea is an important part of social interaction. There are more examples, but the British culture is closer to Japan than the American culture so it almost feels familiar.


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