50 Intriguing Facts about Japan and Its Culture

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1White man's café

White man's café

There is a “white man” café in Tokyo, where Japanese ladies ring a bell to summon tuxedo-wearing Caucasians who respond with “yes, princess?” and serve them a cake.

2. In Japan, avid golfers buy insurance to protect themselves on the course. They purchase it because if they get a hole-in-one, they have to buy gifts and drinks for their friends. The policy covers them for a party worth up to $4,900.

3. People have found ancient stone tablets in Japan's recent tsunami struck areas with inscriptions "Do not build your homes below this point!"

4. Hours after Nintendo announced the death of their CEO, Satoru Iwata, a rainbow appeared over their headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. It was dubbed "The Rainbow Road to Heaven".

5. In Japan, a diver named Hiroyuki Arakawa and a sheepshead wrasse (Pacific fish) named Yoriko have been friends for over 25 years.

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6Tokyo Subway construction

Tokyo Subway construction

At one of Tokyo's busiest train stations, a rail line was converted from an above-ground line into a subway. There were zero service interruptions. The lowering of the rail line's tracks into its subway position was done in one night, during its normal service off hours lasting ~4 hours.

7. Japan requires citizens between the ages of 45 and 74 to have their waistlines measured once a year and are expected to fall within an established range. Companies and local governments may face fines if their employees are overweight and do not meet these guidelines.

8. There is a class of people in Japan referred to as Cyber Homeless who live at cyber cafes because they are a cheaper alternative than an apartment. The cafes offer free showers and sell underwear.

9. To get revenge on fellow Boy Scouts who bullied him, a Tokyo resident mailed more than 500 boxes of soggy, smelly garbage including old underwear and rotten tea leaves to his tormentors, writing a random destination as the address with the bully's return address in order to escape detection.

10. In 2010, the mummified corpse of Sogen Kato, thought to be Tokyo's oldest man, was found in his bedroom by government officials. He had actually died in 1978.

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There is a factory in Japan which can run unsupervised for 30 days at a time. Robots build other robots at the rate of 50 per 24-hour shift. Such factories are called "lights out" factories because no human presence is needed. FANUC has been operating this autonomous factory since 2001.

12. In Japan, a few foreign cartoons including "Bob The Builder" was suggested to be edited, adding the fifth finger to the characters' hands. The reason was that having only four fingers implies membership of the Japanese Mafia.

13. In 1993, a Japanese religious cult named Aum Shinrikyo released aerosolized Anthrax in a city near Tokyo over the course of 2 days. It should have killed thousands, however, they used a strain of Anthrax used for cattle vaccinations and inadvertently could have immunized everyone instead.

14. There is a penguin named Lala in Japan that wears a penguin backpack and goes into the market to eat fish.

15. Surgical masks in Japan are not only used to prevent sickness but are used for fashion, warmth, and sometimes avoiding conversation with strangers.

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16Hidekichi Miyazaki

Hidekichi Miyazaki

Japan is home to a 107-year-old sprinter named Hidekichi Miyazaki and he hopes to race Usain Bolt one day.

17. Gambling for cash is illegal in Japan. Instead, balls won from games are exchanged for prizes or tokens. These items are then exchanged for cash at a place nominally separate from the parlor.

18. In Japan, death by overwork is so common that they have a word for it, "Karoshi". Some examples of karoshi are: working 110 hours a week, working 3000 hours a year with no days off in 15 years, working 4320 hours a year, and working 34-hour shifts five times a month.

19. There is a pepper grown in Japan called the Shishito pepper. Only 1 out of 10 is spicy and there is no way of knowing beforehand.

20. If you are being violent or drunk in Japan, the police will get a large futon and roll you into a little burrito.



Japan has a sociological phenomena known as "Hikikomori", in which an estimated 1 million Japanese choose to completely isolate themselves from society by rarely or never leaving their homes.

22. In Japan’s Shima Marineland aquarium, a goldfish was thrown into an exhibition tank to be live-bait for a larger fish. The goldfish escaped through a tiny gap that led to a filtration tank, where it lived alone in the dark for 7 years, feeding off food scraps that made its way into the tank.

23. Japan was invaded by the strong Mongol army twice, and both times was saved by harsh storms that crippled the Mongols. They called these storms "Kamikaze" or "Divine Winds".

24. The oldest running company still in operation today is a hotel in Japan named Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, which was created in 705 A.D.

25. Older people lined up to clean Fukushima radiation in Japan, to save the young from having to do so.

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