50 Intriguing Facts about Japan and Its Culture

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26Rui-katsu

In Japan, sometimes people organize a communal event called 'Rui-katsu' (tear-seeking), where people get together to watch sad clips and then cry to relieve stress.


27. Since the global ban on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan is thought to have killed more than 14,000 whales for alleged scientific-research. Their real motive behind whaling is to obtain whale meat which is a delicacy in Japan.


28. If you commit suicide in Japan by jumping onto an oncoming train or killing yourself in an apartment building, the train or building company can/will sue your family for clean up fees, loss of income and negative publicity brought on by your suicide.


29. The common raccoon did not inhabit Japan until 1977, the year when a popular anime caused many people to import them as pets, allowing many to escape into the wild.


30. Japan has the largest organized crime group in the world called Yamaguchi Gumi that is worth $80 billion. By contrast, Sinaloa, Mexico’s largest drug cartel, was worth $3 billion.


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31Chunosuke Matsuyama

Chunosuke Matsuyama, a Japanese Seamen, sent a message in a bottle in 1784 that his ship had wrecked. It washed up in 1935 in the village where he was born.


32. Japan is moving an entire 400-year-old castle (Hirosaki Castle) 230 feet away to fix its foundations. They will move it back in 2021.


33. The only true Kobe beef comes from a pure lineage of Tajima-gyu cattle, born only in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan (Kobe is a city in this area) and fed off of local vegetation.


34. There is an 87-year-old woman in Japan who owns a restaurant by day and spins techno at a local club in Tokyo by night. They call her DJ Dumpling.


35. All of Japan's highways has tolls, and it costs more than $300 to travel across the country.


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36Masabumi Hosono

The only Japanese who survived (Masabumi Hosono) the Titanic, lost his job because he was called a coward in Japan for not dying with the other passengers.


37. Early movie theaters in Japan hired benshi, storytellers who sat next to the screen and narrated silent movies. They were descendants of kabuki jōruri, kōdan storytellers, and other forms of oral storytelling. With the advent of sound in films in the early 1930s, the benshi gradually disappeared.


38. To combat confusion, television broadcasts of Christopher Nolan's 'Inception' in Japan include text in the corner of the screen to remind viewers which level of the dream each scene takes place in.


39. Owl cafes is a trend that is growing in Japan where you can have coffee with owls.


40. Beetle breeding is a $100 million industry in Japan. In 1999, a beetle specimen sold for 10,000,000 yen which was about $100,000 at the time. The industry used to be illegal which caused surges in beetle smuggling. In 2001, two Japanese men were arrested in Nepal for trying to smuggle out 542 beetles.


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41Meth

Meth was invented in Japan. At first, it was used to curb hunger and energize Japanese citizens. Later it was given to Kamikaze pilots, soldiers, and wartime factory workers. It is now controlled and distributed by the Yakuza.


42. In early feudal Japan, there was a class of female Samurai called Onna-Bugeisha who commonly engaged in battle alongside the men and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honor in times of war.


43. In 1998, there was a Japanese reality show that was about a comedian named Eggplant (Nasubi) who was stripped naked, locked in a room, and forced to live off prizes he won in the mail. He didn't know that his experience was being live streamed 24x7. He had to win $10,000 worth of prizes from magazine contests to win the show. After spending 335 days to reach his target, he set the Guinness world record for the "longest time survived on competition winnings." It was a gigantic hit show in Japan.


44. Tokyo has a bar that you can have drinks with penguins.


45. There is a skyscraper (Great Tower Building) that has a highway passing through its 5th, 6th, and 7th floors in Japan. The tower is the result of a strange compromise between the landowner and the Japanese government. The owner wanted to redevelop the building but the government had already planned the expressway.


46Shingo village

There is a small village named Shingo in Japan, which by its inhabitants is believed to be the last resting place of Jesus. They believe that instead of Jesus, his brother Isukiri died on the cross and Jesus fled to Japan to become a rice farmer.


47. You can pay a travel agency in Tokyo to take your stuffed animal on a vacation without you.


48. There is a hotel named Henn-na Hotel in Japan which is staffed by robots. The check-in desk is an animatronic velociraptor.


49. In Japan, they have something called the "Happy Monday System" which aims to place as many state holidays as possible on Mondays in order to give those with a five-day work week more three day weekends.


50. There is a custom in Japan called "Namahage" in which men dressed up as demon-like monsters scare the children who are "guilty of laziness or bad behavior." While parents smile and laugh their children scream and cry in terror.

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