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Why are Japanese so interested in Finland?

Discussion in 'All Things Japanese' started by Kouhia, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Kouhia

    Kouhia D.I.Y if you can...

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    I have heard than in Japan, Finland is an interestin place, sort of trendy place.
    But what Japanese see about Finland?
    BTW If you want to ask about Finland, ask, I'll try to answer.

    Is this in right place?
     
  2. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Welcome aboard, and yes, you've posted to the right place.

    I wasn't aware of Finland being trendy in Japan, but the list of popular destinations tends to change often. I am not Japanese, but I assume most people here associate Finland with Santa Claus, reindeer, Finnair (affordable transit into Europe), and perhaps, but rather not, with Nokia.
     
  3. Davey

    Davey 先輩

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    I haven't heard any Japanese that I know talk about Finland, but like Thomas says it might be because of Santa, and Finnair.

    Another reason might be because of the Japanese movie that came out a couple of years ago: Kamome Shokudo

    [video=youtube;5SQaVr0sfJA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SQaVr0sfJA[/video]
    (sorry couldn't find one with English subtitles.) A very cute and simple movie.
     
  4. Kouhia

    Kouhia D.I.Y if you can...

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    Thanks for your awnsers!
    I was littlebit suprised when you mention Finnair.
    In the otherhand, Santa Claus wasent so suprised :-D
    I was waitin awnsers like Rovio, Nokia (not the town, the phone maker :-D), Marimekko and Alvar Aalto desainigs.
    And The Moomins too!
     
  5. Chipi

    Chipi Yancha

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    #5 Chipi, Jan 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    Hi, or Moi, Kouhia!

    As a fellow Finn, designer and someone who's visited Japan many times and met loads and loads of Japanese people, I can say based on my observations that a part of Japanese truly are interested in Finland and have been for many years. It's a small but enthusiastic group, people who tend to like trendy and cute things and/or are somehow involved with design & art. Biggest hits are definetly Moomin, Marimekko and Iittala. Also the northern location is exotic with 'Aurora' (northern lights), reindeers and Santa, of course. Finnish athletes also have their fans - like Kimi Raikkonen and, believe it or not, Matti Nykanen. ;)

    There is a kind of enthusiasm towards Finnish language as well. I've seen this in funny shop & label names in Japan, such as 'ehka sopo' (='maybe cute'), 'eri makee' (='quite cool') & 'mina perhonen' (='me the butterfly'). Also Moomin ice cream shops etc. can be found in many locations.
     
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  6. Mark of Zorro

    Mark of Zorro 先輩

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    After reading Chipi's post, I vaguely remember some talk of similarities between Japanese and Finnish and that sparking a small boom for interest in Finland. But of course it was totally based on a "how unique we Japanese are" sort of creepy nationalism so it did not last long. Reason being that subjects that amount to "how unique we Japanese aren't" will enjoy only a morbid curiosity and only so much tolerance is reserved for things could possibly make it seem the Japanese are just like you and me. And of course the Finns did not start gushing about some long held secret passion for all things Japanese, so it all mostly disappeared, I guess, except among Japanese who are not so base.
     
  7. Kouhia

    Kouhia D.I.Y if you can...

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    Moi Chip!
    I'm comfused, Nykasen Matti got fans in Japan... ?
    This was totally new for me.
    Yor post was really good, and it gave a good picture about what they have taken our culture.
    Those shops names are cute :emoji_smile:
    I'm sorry for my bad englis, need to learn more.
    Only Chip and fellow Finss undestand this:
    Etela-pohjanmaalta taalta peltojen keskelta peruskoulun englannilla + amiksen englannilla koitetaan jotaki vasata, kyl se siita sitte.
     
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  8. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

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    The only reason I know that any of my students had an interest in Finland was to see the northern lights. Most just go to Canada or Alaska for that.
     
  9. Macrobiotic

    Macrobiotic Suspended

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    #9 Macrobiotic, Jan 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    For some reason, words and names which can be written in the japanese syllabary system seems to "strike home" in Japan. The finnish language is full of such words and finnish names are typically names like Rika, Mika, Juha etc which can be perfectly written and pronounced in japanese. In the case of Sweden, a rock band such as Mando Diao became popular in Japan some years ago and I'm sure the name actually played a part too. Although not as frequent as finnish, swedish too has "japanese" sounding words such as "Koja" (pronounced like 小屋 and both words mean small cabin or hut).

    There are many subtle elements of northern culture which has similarities with particularly modern japanese culture. Design, minimalism, "hammer down the nail that stands out", the shyness etc although I think that nordic interest in Japan is no doubt bigger than the other way around. However, there are some things which stand out. Consider that the scandinavian peninsula + Finland lies at the outskirts of Europe , never was part of the Roman or Holy Roman or French or British whatever empires and was the last place to be christened and is the first places to abandon christianity.

    Continentals, north americans and english native speakers in general who aren't a rare "nordic-phile" have a strong tendency to, completely based on ignorance, belittle and dismiss nordic cultures. They think it's just ABBA, herring and 2 meter tall blonde sex freaks who speak with german or dutch accents. In fact these countries are heavily diversified and northern Sweden and Finland in particular have, just as parts of Russia does, elements related to what could be seen as "asian" which includes, among other things, shamanism in both culture and folklore.
    For some strange reason I can't understand, americans/continentals who are interested in Japan seems to be even more prejudiced and ignorant of nordic culture almost to the degree of disliking it even though they don't know a lot about it.

    I know that at least Sweden is on the map in Japan thanks to Ingmar Bergman, Lisa Larsson, Lena Maria Klingvall (both Larsson and Klingvall are funny enough relatively unknown to the swedish public), ofc IKEA and ABBA as well and lately an artist/guitarist called YOHIO who has a japanese record contract and is selling well exclusively on the japanese market as a "domestic" artist.
    In the case of China, Jan-Ove Waldner, Goran Malmkvist and Robert Wells are all probably more famous than a lot of british, australian, canadian etc people.
    In the case of Korea, did you know that many of the song writers behind the current K-Pop wonder are swedish "song writer mercenaries"? Not to mention everyone from Madonna to Celine Dion, Lady Gaga and Britney etc have made frequent use of similar swedish song writers for hire during their careers. Sweden actually is one of the top 5, used to be top 3 I think, largest music export countries. Ofc, not just cheap pop we also gave the world Jussi Bjorling and Birgit Nilsson. There is not a person from southern Germany who do not know about Birgit Nilsson and I have no doubt in Japan as well she was no doubt famous since quite a few japanese seem to love opera.
    Swedish people are usually also overrepresented when it comes to being the few who can even challenge the koreans in E-sports. Keep in mind that there are just 9 million swedes and not 150 million or 330 million.

    As for tourism, both Stockholm and northern Sweden (can't confirm for Finland though) has a large amount of japanese tourists every year. Probably more than for example Scotland or Belgium and definitely on par with Vienna or some such place. I meet them all the time. Just in my isolated city of 100 000 there are probably 20-30 naturalized japanese immigrants living permanently.

    In Hokkaido there's actually a village modeled completely after a swedish village, it's called Sweden Hills. In all major japanese cities there are communities for swedish folk dancing where they even use traditional instruments and dance the traditional dances such as Hambo. These are concepts english and american people don't even know exist, because to them it's just "herring, northern lights and ABBA, oh and that cheap crap furniture from IKEA". They probably don't even know that JFK had quite a bit of scandinavian furniture in the White House. Recently, Hillary Clinton made sure the entire state department was fitted with scandinavian glass.

    People see what they want to see. If you're a native english speaker used to being ignorant about and belittle nordic culture, one of those "I'm married to a japanese woman and I've moved to Japan therefore I have some sort of patent on its culture" it's not strange you don't know of any single thing out of what I mentioned above. I'm just glad that at least some japanese people are interested in nordic culture.

    On a side note, it can probably be said that the anglo-axis has inflated its own cultural value and importance through economic alliances. The fact that australians always will go out and buy the latest gossip about Kate and William or listen to the latest American Idol star etc... It creates a delusion of self-importance in many people within the anglo-axis. It's just a further vulgarized form of dinner table colonialism where people are under the impression they, based on some "hierarchy of importance" have preference when it comes to cultural exchange, import and export etc... I think this will change as America and Britain fades even more from their positions as the leading nations of the west.
     
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  10. munzy

    munzy 後輩

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    I heard it too. Something like Japanese men likes Finnish girls very much
     
  11. PoliSciStudent

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    In addition to some of the very informative posts above, I should add that probably the most generally accepted image that many Japanese people have of North European countries is that of a robust welfare state.

    Since social policy in Japan has traditionally tended towards stronger government itself (unlike, say, in the U.S.), North European countries in Japanese news and media are often depicted as a progressive ideal that we should aspire to. Oftenly this is accompanied by examples of how they have achieved a greater degree of social equality than us, or how their citizens enjoy more socioeconomic security. A frequent example cited is government support for child rearing, especially poignant for the Japanese given their low birth rate.
     
  12. gooberbooney

    gooberbooney Registered

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    Thoughtful and well written post. Also, very funny to see the exact stereotypes in play at this very forum. The above "Anglicans" have nothing to contribute to the OP's question, yet somehow they think they are able to speak on behalf of Japanese, simply because they live there. I mean you Davey and thomas. When clearly confronted with a question you have no possibility of even understanding, you still feel it is your western imperative to "contribute", as if your own personal (no matter how limited) experiences give you some kind of insight. Ever heard of the old saying, "Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt"? Of course not, that would require a bit more thinking then you are clearly capable of.
     
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  13. gooberbooney

    gooberbooney Registered

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  14. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Hi gooberbooney, and welcome to the forum! Forgive me, you not only seem to be jumping to a lot of mind-boggling conclusions, but you were also blowing a few innocent posts completely out of proportion. Talking on behalf of the Japanese? Western imperative to contribute? You are on a very high horse here. Anyhow, in spite of the scornful and condescending nature of your post I thank you for linking the article, that was most interesting and enlightening.

    By the way - and without intending to derail this thread any further - I am not quite sure what you were insinuating, but Davey and I are neither "Anglican" nor Anglican.
     
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  15. nekojita

    nekojita 先輩

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    Cake or death?
     
  16. Dotanbatan

    Dotanbatan 先輩

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    My Japanese wife took my 2 sons (then 8 an 6) to the AnkaRock festival in Finland a good few years ago and they had a wonderful time in the country - they were helped by so many friendly people there.
    I still haven't been but look forward to visiting with her soon.

    I also think most Japanese have a favourable view of the Finnish and Scandanavians in general ... although atleast one seems to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder !!
     
  17. Chipi

    Chipi Yancha

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    Btw I've forgotten to mention couple of more reasons why some Japanese are crazy about Finland: Xylitol & air guitar contests. ;)
     
  18. Mark of Zorro

    Mark of Zorro 先輩

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    You left out longboats, braids on men, and Vikings. Don't you guys still plunder the English coastline on occasion? :emoji_grinning:
     
  19. nahadef

    nahadef Racial orthogologiser

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    I have long had a lot of respect for Scandinavian countries in general, particularly in their forward thinking politics and design, though their music and comics are very good as well. In Japan, I don't see any particular favoritism toward any country. You'll find Japanese in love with India, Austria or Australia just as much as you might Finland.

    You have to laugh at the angry Finns here though, complaining that English speakers have an inflated sense of importance and a dismissive attitude of Finland... Rather, they think it appropriate to have an inflated sense of importance about Finland and a dismissive attitude about English culture. Coincidentally they are Finnish. They sound like high school students!
     
  20. FinancialWar

    FinancialWar Suspended

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    What the hell is so interesting about Finland? The whole country is boring, just like Australia, at least we have kangaroos and we speak English. Even Finland's only industry nokia is total failure.

    Just like the rest of Europe, Finland is just another giant museum... except unlike France, no interesting sights and cold like Russia..

    Rather go to Canada if I want a cold and boring country.
     
  21. Dotanbatan

    Dotanbatan 先輩

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    Them's be fightin words F War.

    Naughty, naughty !!
     
  22. nahadef

    nahadef Racial orthogologiser

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    Nobody's given him a hug in a long, long time.
     
  23. 13ryu

    13ryu 後輩

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    well, I'm mixed Japanese and Philippines and lived in Japan for long. But, i barely heard about Finland from Japanese people.
     
  24. ismail

    ismail 後輩

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    Japanese are interrested in every country mate :emoji_grinning:
     
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