Through since the establishment of a major

Through the ages, Australian culture has dramatically evolved. From being dependent on Britain in the early stages of the country’s development to changing alliances after the Second World War, the reasons and sources for cultural change in Australia vary. A prominent source of cultural influence in Australia, since the 1950s, is Japan.
Despite supporting opposing sides during the Second World War, both the Australian and Japanese government made efforts to improve foreign policy and restore diplomatic relations by the end of the Allied Occupation of Japan. The relationship between Australia and Japan gradually strengthened and has continued to do so since the establishment of a major trading partnership, formalised by the 1957 Commerce Agreement. Given the history of conflict, this agreement was essential in building the foundation for mutual trust and reliability between the two countries. Dr Takashi Terada, a professor in International Relations, states in an interview “…because Australia was the first country to drop its discrimination against Japan, the significance of the agreement went far beyond the implications of trade”. In addition, from the time after World War II to the late 1980s, Japan experienced what was dubbed an economic miracle ‘boom’. During this period, Japan rapidly recovered from the devastation and loss caused by war and became one of the world’s largest economies, second only to the US. Japan successfully established connections with Western countries such as the US and Australia as it continued to expand its influence.
Shortly after the Second World War, Australia’s immigration policy evolved to become more inclusive. As a result, many Japanese migrated to Australia in the hopes of pursuing business opportunities and rebuilding their lives. In 1976, Japan and Australia signed the Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation to reflect the process of cultural interconnection that would further their partnership. Subsequently, the foundation for (adjective) cultural exchange and diversification was laid in both Australia and Japan. The interconnectedness of the Australian and Japanese people increased quickly as tourists from each country were intrigued by the cultures of the other. Moreover, the rise in popularity of Japanese popular culture in aspects of American culture, such as film and entertainment, reinforced the influence of Japanese culture in Australia. For instance, Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ was one of the most influential films in cinematic history and adapted by Hollywood into the majorly successful ‘Magnificent Seven’.
It was through aspects of popular culture concerning leisure and entertainment that Japanese influence first had an impact on Australian society and culture. Japanese video games began to rapidly grow in popularity in Australia amongst young adults in the late 20th century. Pac Man and Space Invaders were arcade games that became icons of 1980s Australian popular culture, along with games and consoles introduced by companies such as Nintendo. In addition, Japanese cartoons and comics captivated Australians with their unqiue characters and plots. As a result, Japanese cartoons and comic gathered massive fan bases and earned the status of a pop culture phenomenon within Australia. The popularity of manga and anime promoted interest in the Japanese cultures and traditions that characterised them. Australians were eager to experience Japanese culture in different ways and were attracted to the delicacy and exotic taste of Japanese cuisine. Consequentlys, dishes inspired by the Japanese cuisine, commonly sushi, Wagyu beef and ramen, were featured in restaurants’ menus until Japanese restaurants came flourishing into business. Such changes within Australian popular culture clearly show the rise of the influence of Japan in Australia.
Although there is not a large division between the beliefs of Australian citizens about the increasing cultural influence of Japan on Australia, one still exists. Research proves that the majority of Australians accept with approval the interconnectedness between their own country and Japan for reasons such as: the presentation of an opportunity to become a more multiculturally aware and diverse society and to enhance their culture by learning from aspects of Japanese culture. For instance, Japanese customs and traditions promote unity, discipline and respect within society. However, other groups of the Australian population consider Japan to be a source of negative cultural influence due to the country’s adherence to conservatism. In matters concerning equality between genders, Western societies are quicker to progress from traditional stereotypes. On the other hand, symbols of Japanese popular culture, such television series, manga and anime, indicate the Japanese’s advocation of such stereotypes.
Evidence of Japanese influence on Australia can be observed through the many developments in Australian popular culture. Due to increasing cultural interest, cultural exchange programs have commenced to allow Australians and Japanese to travel between countries to further education and study the language, customs and traditions of their partner country. Thousands of Australians have taken in interest in Japanese martial arts such as Taekwondo, and children are introduced to forms of Japanese martial arts as early as 5 years old. J-pop (Japanese pop music) is liked by younger subgroups and performing art centres in Australia, such as AsiaTOPA, regularly have displays of traditional Japanese dance and music. Anime television series are broadcast on many Australian television channels and garnered a large fan base in the country. In addition, Japanese manufacturers such as Sony, Nintendo, Toshiba and Toyota have become well-known and popular within Australia because of their high functionality and standard of quality.
Japanese culture has spread beyond the borders of Japan and taken root in aspects of Australian popular culture such as technology, leisure and entertainment. The nature of the relationship between the people of the two countries has evolved dramatically from being characterized by hostility shortly after the end of World War 2 to being strengthened by warmth and acceptance by the end of the 1980s. There is a steady intercultural flux of people travelling between Australia and Japan as a result of mutually embracing tourist exchange as well steadfast economic relations.


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