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Some folks have an uncritical admiration for all aspects (not just one medium) of a foreign culture. Often they're only enamored of The Theme Park Version of the given culture, purposefully ignoring all negative points.

This can lead at times to Hype Backlash against, well, an entire country. Also often leads to Pretty Fly for a White Guy on the part of the fan. Common targets include Japan (mostly on the internet), France (among the intellectuals) and America (in many countries). In real life this phenomenon is called xenophily or xenophilia, which is a whole other trope in fiction, usually. Often accompanied by Cultural Cringe.

No Real Life Examples please, on the personal level. Cultural or country level examples are fine. See also Germans Love David Hasselhoff for individual examples and Occidental Otaku for negative versions of Japan obsessed individuals.


Fictional Examples:

  • The Mikado: "There's the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone/All centuries but this and ev'ry countrie but his own"
  • Patience: "I do not long for all one sees/That's Japanese."
  • The Cyberpunk genre has a Japanophile tendency, partially as a function of key writer William Gibson's affinity and fandom and partially as a response to the impressive technological and economic progresses of Japan during the genre's peak. The future was going to occur there.
  • Modern Speculative Fiction sometimes replaces Japan with China as the superior world power, but Westerners aren't as quick to fetishize Chinese culture (with the notable exception of Joss Whedon and Firefly fans), following at least a century of Yellow Peril and Red Scare stereotyping of China as an Evil Empire.
  • The character John Connor spends a good deal of the film Rising Sun pontificating about how noble Japanese culture is.
  • In Lucifer, the demons developed a vogue for 18th-19th century England (can't remember the period exactly) and were extremely pleased to have a soul from that era teach them how to best immerse themselves in it.
    • It's implied that this obsessing over other cultures is pretty much all that the high ranking demons do anymore.
      • Presumably the artistic community in Hell is profoundly lacking. Which is ironic.
  • The Teen Girl Squad spinoff "4 Gregs" has Japanese Culture Greg.
  • Mentioned at one point in Something Positive (other than the whole "smite the catgirls" thing) by one of the characters after she scared off some guy with a Calling Your Attacks moment: she says adding "Ancient Secret Chinese technique" will scare opponents off much more effectively, adding "White people are so much fun" or words to that effect.
    • Likewise, there's a strip where PeeJee and Audrey (both Asian) mock Gwen Stefani's pop adoption of Japanese memetics, complete with having four "Harajuku girls" who follow her around and aren't ever referred to by their real names. PeeJee suggests the girls are likely "tutoring" Stefani in Japanese -- "Seeing a withered little pop star trying to order sushi in Japanese and instead telling the waiter about her intense venereal disease would be better than any Christmas bonus I've ever received."
  • Mad Men's Bert Cooper is very much the Orientalist. That is, the old-school version of the Japanese culture fetish; he has shōji partitions and has ukiyo-e prints (including The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife) in his office (which he makes people remove their shoes before entering).
  • In the historical novel A Gathering of Days, the main character doesn't want to call her stepmother Ann "Mother", so she settles on "Mamann". The stepmother approves, saying something like "we can say it is after the French, and therefore the height of fashion".
  • In the novel You Only Live Twice, Tiger Tanaka puts down Westerners who live in Japan and emulate and study (and often marry) the Japanese. Bond calls him out on this and Tiger admits that many of these scholars are sincere but Tiger is still rather old fashioned and racist toward any non-Japanese.
  • Leroy Green in the film The Last Dragon is an African-American man who displays a whole lot more interest in Asian culture than just learning Kung Fu.
  • Georg from Naeturvaktin admires anything to do with Sweden and Swedish culture. A new employee from Sweden is one of the few people in the entire series he treats pleasantly or respectfully.
  • Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband features a French character who is a devoted Anglophile (i.e. he likes British stuff).
  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler stated in The Decline of the West that westerners essentially had this for the classical Greco-Roman civilization, which is more different from us than many of us think. Our Theater actors don't wear buskins and masks, and there's usually no chorus either, Deus Ex Machina looks too much like Ass Pull to us, and our countries aren't governed by two consuls sharing the power, and there aren't annual elections for them either. (Thank God!)

Historical examples (roughly chronological):

  • Ancient Romans were heavily influenced by Greek culture starting around the 3rd century BC, to the point of hijacking Classical Mythology entirely. Oddly enough, until the 1st century BC, any Roman publicly admitting to being interested in Greek culture was considered abnormal. Even Hadrian (2nd century AD) was made fun of for being a bit too Greek (his nickname was Graeculus, little Greek). Meaning that while there was a clear Greek influence, no Roman would be caught dead admitting it.
  • The Japanese adapted many of their cultural traits from the Chinese, most notably their writing systems (kanji literally means "Chinese characters") and Chinese Buddhism, which was fused together with the indigenous Shinto religion.
    • Love of Japanese culture is oft mocked on the internet as "Weeabooism", from a Memetic Mutation borne of Perry Bible Fellowship comics and an Imageboard word filter for "Japanophile." And it doesn't just refer to particularly obsessive anime fans. ('Western Otaku') Not even the ones who own a few too many katanas. 'Weeaboo' means a special brand of obsessive, crazy idiot who believes everything Japanese is superior, and wants to move to Japan and become a video game programmer/anime producer/manga artist/ninja/other hilariously improbable career. Enough of them actually accomplish the moving to Japan part, where their dreams are invariably crushed, to the point where the Japanese themselves have developed a stereotype about them...
    • Parodied by the Save Points in Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, which all spout pretentious diatribes about how Japanese gaming is obviously superior to Western "garbage" such as Madden or Baldur's Gate and uses Gaijin as an insult. At least one of which is actually taken from a real argument used online.
    • They also borrowed a lot of political ideas from Germany and Prussia, as they were the dominant power when Japan was modernising -- this is why their parliament is still called the Diet.
  • Quite a lot of Japanese also have this for America and Britain, you will find gratuitous English of varying coherence on many things, sometimes to the point where its used with no knowledge of meaning, makes one wonder why people bash weeaboos when many in Japan are just the same with English.
    • During the Meiji period the government encouraged adoption of parts of Western culture/society and technology in hopes of "catching up" to the Western powers, both economically and militarily (to some factions, as a means to an end -- being able to kick out the Westerners). However, while the government had a somewhat set idea for how to go about this -- "Western technology, Japanese spirit" was the motto -- some civilians and government/military officers alike would end up favoring particular, unintended aspects of the countries they went to or heard about.
    • Turns out Japanese are also capable of having their dreams shattered... in Paris.
  • During The High Middle Ages, and again during the Grand Siècle (i.e. the 17th century) there was a French fashion, in which all true courtliness was done according to the manner of the French court and, if possible, in the French language.
  • In the 18th century, there was a Turkish fad (some of you may remember it from Amadeus). Not that it was any of their business.
  • The Renaissance went through a Greco-Roman fad, various facets of which repeated throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Notable instances include the Augustan fad of the 1730-1770 period, the Neoclassicism of the 1820s, and the Greek Revival of the 1880s. Romanticism began as a sort of Hype Backlash against the Augustan period.
    • German philosopher Oswald Spengler stated that westerners essentially have this trope for the classical Greco-Roman civilization, which is more different from us than many of us think. Our Theater actors don't wear buskins and masks, and there's usually no chorus either, Deus Ex Machina looks too much like Ass Pull to us, and our countries aren't governed by two consuls sharing the power, and there aren't annual elections for them either. (Thank God!)
  • There was a Scottish fad in Victorian England for a while (c. 1870-1880).
  • After Napoleon's Battle of the Nile, there was an Egyptian fad, which was repeated in the 1920's after the discovery of King Tut's tomb.
  • Around late 1700s to the 1850s there was also a massive craze in Europe for Chinese-style (Chinoiserie) art and especially porcelain.
  • King Ludwig II of Bavaria had a thing for pre-Revolution era France, Voltaire believed in a "benevolent despot" system after visiting Prussia and becoming pen pals with Catherine the Great, and in more recent times, baritone singer and African-American Communist Paul Robeson, who in post WWII US, firmly believed everything was better in the USSR, including the treatment of minorities. When Stalin died and the corruption of the system revealed, he never recovered from the shock.
    • Communism believes that at the root of racism and sexism, there was classism, and to get rid of these, you had to abolish class. So a classless society like the USSR would in theory have neither. This occurred famously with Stalin's invitation to all American Blacks to come to the USSR (though this was as much to shame the United States and show the USSR to be morally superior), and the Chinese Communist's "tractor women", who were women trained in a traditionally male field, using the tractor. It's also why there have been close ties to Communism and both America's Civil Rights Movement and Second Wave Feminism. Robeson was not acting on a cultural fetish so much as ideology and willful blindness. He extended this selective blindness to both Mao in China and Castro in Cuba.
    • Ludwig's grandfather, Ludwig I, had a thing for Ancient Greece, which is why the German spelling of "Bavaria" was changed from Baiern to Bayern.
  • Quite a few Estonians liked German culture in the late 19th century and tried to imitate it. They were called Juniper Germans (Kadakasakslased) and has a reception of your typical Wapanese.
  • Australia had (has) a very strong Anglophile streak, lessening in the 1970's to be replaced by America, though that's more of a conflicted fandom.
  • Oh, and way back in the 70s, everything American was sooo hip in Europe.
  • Hungary had a hard on for anything that's not Russian while the Iron Curtain was up. Then, after 1989 the foreign stuff started pouring in, and throughout The Nineties people were going crazy for literally anything that came from west of the border. This eventually led to the development of an ultra-nationalistic cultural (and political) movement around the turn of the millennium.
    • This is typical of most post-East Bloc countries in general.
  • A very touchy example was the glorification of all things Africa by black Americans (mostly in the early- to mid-nineties), most of whom are not seen as "fellow Africans" by people currently living on that continent, but are rather viewed as simply Americans with darker skin color.
    • This trope also tends to occur whenever white people dare to turn a popular aspect of black culture into something Totally Radical. Note the amount of rock acts in the early Aughties that tried to marry their genre with rap, or cringe worthy commercials where a "hip grandma" or culturally sensitive college kid would says things like "that's da bomb" or "that's tight" with a straight face.
    • Especially odd was the use of Swahili by such groups, when it is an East African language that none of the West African slaves would have understood or even heard of. They actually spoke a wide variety of tongues -- Fon, Wolof, Yoruba, Ibo, Fula, etc., but virtually none would have spoken Swahili.
  • "Eastern" Spirituality in so many of its glorious forms are really a "western" imagination of something deemed excitingly exotic, peaceful and, well, "spiritual", and most of all, full of opportunities to escape one's dull life.
    • It doesn't help that the New Age movement has gotten so tangled up with what the west considers Eastern mysticism.
    • The mangled "Eastern" Spirituality can be detected in the differing views on reincarnation: Westerners view it as a way to return to the world and have a better new life, whereas Easterners view it as a negative cycle that must be broken.
    • Additionally, most Westerners who accept Buddhism do so because it fits their atheism/agnosticism and Scientific Rationalism. They tend to strip all the supernatural and ceremonial elements out of Buddhism and declare it a philosophy, or say it's something other than a religion. They view traditional Eastern practice of Buddhism as a perversion of Buddha's message, and that Asian cultures have been doing it all wrong. Go over to the discussion section of the other Wiki's article on Buddhism, and you will see a 5+ year argument over the definition of Buddhism. Those who favor describing it as a religion tend to come from Asian cultures (they even cite their own language's wiki).
  • Also applies to martial arts.
  • The bizarre Israeli-fetish found in some strains of American Christian fundamentalism, and the appropriation of Jewish symbolism found in some Christian groups. It comes off as both philo-Semitic and antisemitic at the same time. Gets more than a little freaky when you find out a chunk of that fundamentalist population loves Israel because they think the unification of the Holy Land and the rebuilding of the Temple Mount are necessary for Christ to come again... and they don't really seem to care about what happens to the Jews after that.
    • This fetish also makes many of them as rabid as the most extreme right-wing Israelis (with the added bonus of being thousands of miles away from the practical results of their proposed policies) and blithely indifferent to what happens to the Palestinians. The real life complexities of the situation don't really interest them at all; whoever gets in the way of the Holy Land being under complete Israeli control is the enemy of God, to be crushed or swept aside without mercy. In this, they actually agree with the craziest of the crazy of Israel, the ultra-right-wing Religious Zionists, who tend to be ultra-Orthodox Jews as well as far-right wingers politically aiming for the "redemption" of the Land of Israel: it's the same thing, it's just that the Jewish ones are hoping for an unknown Messiah, whereas the Christians think they know who the Messiah is. As a result, said rabid right-wing Israelis consider them very valuable allies.
  • There is a small, but obsessive, fanbase for Monaco, and its lavish culture. This can largely be attributed either to the reputation of the casinos of Monte Carlo or the fact that the country's most famous princess was Grace Kelly.
  • The French have had a cultural obsession with Africa and Africans for going on a century now (it wanes in popularity every few decades and then comes back). Picasso famously represented it in a few of his paintings (many of those distorted faces are actually meant to be African tribal masks), and Josephine Baker is still a household name. The obsession came about through a combination of French colonialism and an influx of African American ex-patriots settling in Paris after each of the World Wars.
  • Brazil is a country with a cultural obsession of "mixing" with other nations -- it's been a long held belief that Brazil's strength comes not from its racial purity, but from its propensity for mixing with as many races and cultures as possible, thus adopting their best traits into the larger Brazilian culture. There have been waves of cultural obsession, including Japanese, Arab, American, Portuguese, African, etc. At any given time in their history, the Brazilian intelligentsia has been obsessed with some nation's culture.
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