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February 25, 2012

Cross-Culture on Japan and Australia: "Disasters create strange bedfellows."

Read the excellent article "Accidental Diplomacy: Australian-Japanese Relations" by Philip Porter at Richard Lewis's Cross-Culture. Excerpts:

What good could anyone imagine would come from the horrors of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear leak that hit the Japanese coast last year?

Let me suggest one, a profound one: Japan for the first time since WWII felt cared for by foreigners. Foreigners, the “barbarians” of Perry’s black ships, the crazy, arrogant, unfathomable gaijins who had turned up in their thousands to get a bit of the action when Japan was in bubble economy mode.

Australia has been a major trading partner of Japan since WWII, exporting raw materials and getting them back in the form of cars, trucks, computers, anything. On the softer side Australia has also been seduced by wide-eyed anime characters like Astroboy, introduced business cards into its business etiquette and sushi, sashimi and tempura have become Aussie standards.

Immediately after WWII Japan was single minded in rebuilding domestically, protecting itself against a China that was not only its traditional enemy but now communist and still expansionist. It was deep in the throws of American occupation and needing to find a dignified and profitable relationship with its victors, which included Australia.

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R.D. Lewis

Posted by JD Hull at February 25, 2012 12:59 AM

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