Israeli interest in Japan
In this post I wanted to share the main reason why Israeli people, especially the ones who were born in the 90's, have so much interest and love for Japan.
One of the things I get asked about many times, as a Japan Studies student, is "Why Japan?", "Is it because of anime?", "Isn't it just a hobby?" etc. So, after years and years of questioning, here is the full story of young Israeli love for Japan and Japanese culture.
For me, it all began in elementary school, for others even prior to that. Coming back from school at 3 or 4 PM meant one thing – Anime time. One Piece, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Mermaid melody pichi pichi pitch, Tokyo mew-mew and many other animes were broadcasted in Hebrew Dub (the late ones at night were subtitled) on kids channels. It was a phenomenon, a blessed one.
Around 2010, the kid's channels were filled more with European and American cartoons. So, what happened? Many kids (or teenagers, by that time) stopped watching anime and never searched for it again, not on TV and not online, simply because it was hard to find. But other, like myself, never really gave up, and thanks to the internet we were able to keep watching anime.
Now that I have established that all the 90's kids (now grown adults in their 20's and 30's) have seen anime and that this is the first reason why young Israeli people love Japan. But what about the ones who continued with anime? Well, as you can probably guess, it does not stop there. I can speak for many of us when I am telling my own story.
After years of watching anime (sub, of course), you little by little falling in love for the Japanese language. Then, you are being exposed to the culture, so you dig deeper and read more about Japan and its interesting history. Later in life, maybe after the army (In Israel we all go to army), you visit Japan. Boom, you think to yourself "Well, I think I should love my own country as much as I love Japan". Finally, you go and study Japanese and Japan Studies and pursue a career path that will involve Japan in it. Everything I have told so far was just the anime part, but of course we cannot forget video games!
I hope you have learned something new about us Israelis, and would like to hear your thoughts about it. ありがとうございます。