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"Moon over Japan,

White butterfly moon!

Where the heavy-lidded Buddhas dream

To the sound of the cuckoo's call...

The white wings of moon butterflies

Flicker down the streets of the city,

Blushing into silence the useless wicks of sound-lanterns in the hands of girls."
H.P. Lovecraft, Poetry of the Gods

Japan in modern Hollywood is a mix of old and modern. All Japanese are polite, superintelligent, great at technology, and salarymen. They love sake, sleep in apartments the size of shoeboxes, and make fantastic electronics. They also know martial arts.

Mostly, the only part of Japan that is ever shown is Tokyo, or a city that just happens to look exactly like Westerners imagine Tokyo looks like. Otherwise, it'll be some generic Far East place. Pop culture is composed entirely of Weird Japanese Things.

Oh, and by the way- Aaaaauuugghh! It's GOJIRA!!!![1]

Some of this, though, is Truth in Television -- see Japanese Culture.

Examples of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo include:


  • Though filmed on-location in Japan with Japanese actors, You Only Live Twice has some funny ideas about the country. This includes (but is not limited to) Japan's single most famous castle being a "secret" Ninja training base.
    • Well, what better way to learn stealth than to avoid those pesky tourists?

Video Games

  • Rifts Japan is literally a mix of old and new -- the city of Hiroshima and the surrounding towns was sent hundreds of years into the future during the apocalypse and largely survived intact, while much of the rest of Japan, deliberately forsook technology, going back to the customs of the feudal era. Other areas of the now-divided country retained varying levels of technology. The conflicts, cultural and martial, between the two versions of Japan drive a lot of the story in the setting, although in unexpected ways (the Anti-technology Empire actually likes the time-lost Republic (and vice-versa), even if they wish they would give up their tech; It's some of the people that have held on to theirs that are the right bastards). Well, them and the Oni.
  • Torg, with a similar premise as Rifts got Japan conquered by the most subtle of the High Lords, and got turned into a country of high tech and Mega Corp intigrue. Nobody outside the nation noticed that anything had changed.
  • Tokyo Field from Backyard Baseball (an obvious spoof of Tokyo Dome) definitely fits this trope.

Web Comics

  • In the webcomic Starslip Crisis, the entire Japanese archipelago has been converted into a starship which roams the galaxy selling its state-of-the-art electronics. Japan is in fact the second Earth landmass to have undergone such a conversion, but the first one to do so successfully - the tragedy of "Hyper-Maine" is, of course, not spoken of in polite conversation, apparently being so grotesque in nature that one character refused to talk about it because they planned to eat lunch that day.
    • Leading to the following exchange between a man of the strip's time and a recently released robot:

 Colonel: "They don't make 'em like you anymore."

Vore: "What about in one of the factories that made me? Of course! Japan! We're going there right now!"

Colonel: "These days, Japan is in space."

Vore: "What?! Come on! Now you're just being jerks!"

Western Animation

  • Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo hits every single stereotype about Japan you can name.
    • Generally how Japan is portrayed in any comic book, really, although this is fading as comic fandom and anime/manga fandom increasingly cross over.
  • The Simpsons actually had an episode named "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", which jabs at anime (the entire family suffers seizures à la that one Pokémon episode when watching one), their culture (Homer and Bart learn the language, origami and tea ceremony, among other things, when in prison), and even their weird TV shows, much in the vein of Takeshi's Castle (which they have to "survive" in order to get free tickets back to USA).
  • The automobile version of Tokyo seen in Cars 2 is every bit as glitzy and colorful as the real thing, mixing nicely the culture and the high technology, right down to the toilets! (just ask Mater)
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