In some cases, if a disaster happens to a given culture, there is a big possibility to have a modification of their culture. (Forsberg, 2006) Such change of culture due to a disaster is the change of culture of Japan after the World War. Because of this, mass culture or popular culture was defined by many cultural theorists. According to them mass culture is a form of culture that is a product of turmoil and social disorder. Mass culture will give rise to some cultural activities like media communication, music, art, science, and technology. (Robert Drislane, 2002)
Many cultural theorists believe that mass culture played a key role in the redefinition of identity of Japan especially after the World War. After the war, many Japanese cultural sociologist borrowed techniques and processes from American sociologist. As what happened also on mass culture of Japan was it was influenced mainly by the culture of United States. To better explain the role of mass culture on the redefinition of identity of Japan, it is good to compare the culture of Japan before and after the World War. Japanese culture is known to have deep historical root.
Just like when speaking of Japanese mass culture. Japanese mass culture highlights the redefinition of the identity of the country specifically the local and regional identity. Good characteristics of the local identity of Japan that is unique and has pride that are commonly expressed in the form of famous local products. Almost every village of Japan has its own pride of something; these may be in the form of a product, craft, process, or art. One of these is the folk culture which was originated from old agricultural practices.
Some of the known practices from rural areas are when rice planting on farms is simultaneously done with cultural and religious ceremonies like dancing. This is to have good luck in the planting season of the crops. In some places, a shrine is built where a virgin will dance for the said purpose. The said folk culture does not only hold on people working on farms but also on the Japanese in the agricultural sector. But the introduction of mass culture to the agricultural sector of Japan made them change their old folk culture after the World War.
Mass culture made a modification of the old folk cultural practices by introducing technology. Loud speakers were used in the dancing ceremonies and this result to have more viewers compared to the traditional ceremony. With the combination of these local pride, Japan was successful in redefining its identity. (Hidetoshi, 1992) Another major change of identity of Japan due to mass or popular culture is the capitalism of the country. To best explain this, the example to be used is the theater industry of Japan. Kabuki, which is a form of theatrical drama, means to do something abnormal or extraordinary.
Kabuki is characterized with plainness and stoicism. This is because the society of Japan wants to hold the culture on moral standards. But at the end World War, the old kabuki transformed in to an extravagant, brilliant, dazzling color of costumes of the actors of the play which is a contrast on the old kabuki. Today, Japan is known to its new and modified Kabuki style. (Hidetoshi, 1992) The emergence of mass culture really changes the identity of Japan. The country borrowed many forms of culture from the western countries.
After the war, Japanese has few sources of resources to be used in the development of their country. Because the United States donated money for the reconstruction and development of Japan, the citizens of the said country made their best in helping their country. After the war, modernization and industrialization was made in Japan in response to the effects of war. Mass culture or popular culture was useful in forming the urban areas of the country. They borrowed the technology of other countries which was brought through mass culture.
And this made Japan known to be one of the top producers of high technology gadgets. (Igarashi, 2007)
References: Forsberg, A. (Ed. ). (2006). Definitions of culture: Cultural Geography. Hidetoshi, K. (1992). MEDIA, CULTURE, AND EDUCATION IN JAPAN [A COLLECTION OF PAPERS]: National Institute of Multimedia Education. Igarashi, Y. (2007). Politics of Culture in Postwar Japan [Electronic Version]. Retrieved June 22, 2007 from http://www. aasianst. org/absts/1997abst/japan/j141. htm. Robert Drislane, P. D. a. G. P. , Ph. D. (Ed. ) (2002). ICAAP.