Japanese culture in UK - pic by Choo Yut Shing

The Land of the Rising Sun is awash with history and heritage, much of which has infiltrated western culture.

Indeed, there are many Japanese customs and exports which have proven to be very popular in the UK.

Japanophilia is alive and well throughout the British Isles, with Japanese art, pastimes and traditions finding their place in British society.

For those who are interested in learning more about the fascinating culture of this country, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular facets of Japanese society in the UK today.

It’s beyond doubt that some of the items on this list will already be familiar to you, but there may or be one or two surprises that you might like to try out for yourself in the future.

Pachinko
Japan has traditionally experienced an uneasy relationship with gambling, although it is beginning to open up to the pastime more and more these days.

Indeed, there are now a wide variety of オンラインカジノ(that’s an online casino, to you and me) for Japanese gamers to visit and try their luck at their favourite slots or table games.

However, one game which has always been legal and popular in Japan is pachinko.

This game bears a strong resemblance to pinball and was worth a whopping £152 billion to the Japanese economy in 2018, which is 30 times more per annum than the whole of Las Vegas!

It’s this game which has had the biggest impact on overseas markets as well, reaching British shores in recent years.

Karaoke
Who doesn’t love a good old sing-song on a night out?

The Japanese certainly do. Karaoke originated in the country and is far more than a casual way to pass the time among friends in Japan.

Indeed, the solo karaoke scene in Japan is positively booming, partly due to the fact that one-third of the country’s 54 million people live alone.

When you’re locked inside your own karaoke booth, no one can hear you scream (the high notes terribly).

In fact, the etymology of the word “karaoke” means “empty orchestra”, so perhaps the Japanese who perform it alone are simply doing it as its inventors intended.

Of course, karaoke is much more of a social activity in the UK, but it’s still incredibly popular.

Bars and restaurants all across the country set aside one night per week to welcome in silver-tongued sopranos and tuneful tenors – as well as plenty of tone-deaf hopefuls, as well.

Sushi
While raw fish might not sound an appetising prospect to the uninitiated, sushi is a delicacy that is being enjoyed by more and more Britons every year.

In fact, it’s currently the third most popular Asian dish in the UK, behind sweet and sour chicken and Thai green curry.

What’s more, sushi is incredibly versatile, comprising sashimi, nigiri and maki (what most of us instinctively envisage when we think of sushi), among many, many others.

Crucially, 80% of the British sushi industry is centred on a restaurant experience, most likely because it’s a meal that’s not easy to prepare at home.

As such, sushi is more lucrative to the UK food and drink sector than plenty of other staples of the British diet, such as bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie.

There are plenty of other Japanese customs and art forms that have made it to British shores as well, such as anime, manga and origami. Which is your favourite?

(Japanese culture in UK – pic by Choo Yut Shing)

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