As much as we all love Japanese anime and manga, we also have to admit that they can be a little… confusing. For almost all of us, there’s probably been a few times when watching a show or reading a manga that something happened to make you go, “Wait, what?”
Why is that guy’s nose bleeding? Why are they eating a “Christmas cake?” Our cultural misunderstandings can be pretty funny to the Japanese, so much so that they’ve been compiled into a book: If Japan’s So Safe Then Why Are There So Many Chikan? With all the questions in one place, Japanese netizens have stepped up to finally provide some potential answers.
Ready to finally clear up some of your anime misunderstandings? Read on to find out the answers!
The original book If Japan’s So Safe Then Why Are There So Many Chikan? was put out by the Japanese Foreign Culture Communication Research Institute. It deals with several aspects of Japanese culture and the questions and reactions that non-Japanese people have to them, including anime, naturally.
Here are some questions from non-Japanese people about anime:
“Why do the characters seem to always catch a cold when they get wet in the rain? I’ve been rained on tons of times and never gotten sick.” (American, Male)
“There only seems to be three types of girls’ underwear in anime: white, plain, and stripes. Why is that?” (British, Female)
“Why do girl bullies always wear long skirts?” (Portugese, Female)
“Why do anime guys always get nosebleeds when they see sexy things?” (British, Male)
“Why is there only one episode of an anime aired per week? How can they wait?” (Spanish, Female)
Those are some pretty good questions. I’ve always wondered about the nosebleed thing myself, and while I’ll never admit to having thought about the underwear thing, I will say I’m interested in hearing an answer… for purely scientific reasons, of course.
While Japanese netizens may not have all the answers, they do supply some pretty convincing theories. Here’s what one commenter had to say:
“The reason behind plain underwear and the long skirts has more to do with expressing something visually than anything to do with Japanese culture. For example, if you saw a character wearing black underwear, you might not realize right away that it’s underwear. You might think they’re shorts or something, and that creates an unnecessary question in the minds of the viewers. So once a clear representation of something gets popular, such as underwear being white, it gets used again and again, further reinforcing the image.
“As for the question about getting a cold in the rain, I’ve never gotten sick from getting wet either. Again, I think this has more to do with the plot requiring the character to get sick, and the author using a simple device to achieve that. But I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s used so often in manga and dramas, it’s a cliché now.”
Those are some really insightful answers that I’d never considered before. Of course, there were plenty of other commenters with opinions of their own to share:
“Wait, aren’t dramas just one episode a week in other countries too? I don’t see the difference here….”
“Catching a cold in rain and nosebleeds are Japanese superstitions, and the girl bullies in long skirts come from old sex industry customs.”
“An anime artist I know told me that striped underwear is the best for showing off the round shape of a butt, that’s why it’s used so much.”
“Actually it’s because Westerners have a higher body temperature than us Japanese. What would be a fever to us is normal temperature to them.”
Uh, not so sure about that last one, but the others seem to have some truth to them.
So what do you think? Do you have some answers of your own for the confused foreigners’ questions? Or do you have some confused foreigner questions of your own that you want to ask? Either way, let us know in the comments!