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How much would the world miss Japan if it suddenly disappeared?

By Rachel Tackett

When you live in a country for long enough, it’s easy to forget the things that set it apart and really make it special. In largely homogenous societies, like that of Japan, it’s easy to take daily amenities for granted without ever stopping to consider that commonplace objects are unique to the culture and perhaps novel to people of other nations.

A recent book released by Earth Star Entertainment aims to give the people of Japan a fresh perspective on their island nation, as well as celebrate the many things that it has to offer to the world. The book’s title translates to "What if Japan Disappeared: Japan’s Ability to Support the World," and from the few short excerpts we’ve seen, it’s obvious that Japan thinks quite highly of its contributions to the world’s economy, entertainment, and food options.

But in the grand scheme of things, how much would the country really be missed if it suddenly disappeared from this world?

Let’s start off this list with one of the more important categories: cash. Fears of further recessions or not, if Japan were to suddenly vanish, the world economy would take a major hit. According to the numbers collected by the book’s original author, Japan has the world’s third highest GDP (gross domestic product), having overtaken China in 2010. Somehow the little island country still manages to rake in 10% of the world’s profits, thanks in no small part to their technological strength and reliable quality of design. It’s very hard to argue with the idea that if Japan were to vanish, world economies would be thrown into chaos for quite some time.

But what about some of Japan’s less necessary exports, like entertainment? How might the world fare if, for example, there was no longer a supplier of anime and manga on the market?

According to the original text, without Japan’s 2D entertainment industry, otaku – fans of an obsessive nature – would cease to exist. It should be noted, however, that the author’s quote largely underestimates the variety of styles and storylines that come with world comics. While it’s true that Japanese manga has a unique sense of artistry associated with it, it’s also not the only storytelling medium to incorporate complex plots and impressive layouts with disproportionately large bra sizes. While countless people would certainly miss their favorite manga and anime updates, if Japan were to disappear, I simply can’t believe that awkward fans who embody the otaku spirit would also cease to exist. We would call them geeks and nerds, but nevertheless hardcore fans of games, super heroes, and sci-fi would continue to obsess in an otaku fashion, even if manga were not on the market.

In another nod to the entertainment industry, the book lists adult videos as Japan’s third major contribution to the world. And indeed, it would appear that Japan is the leader of Asia’s mature-rated movie sphere. However, once again, I fear that the author gives too little credit to the ingenuity of foreign porn productions. The excerpt lists established AV genres in Japan, such as “uniforms” and “chubby women” as though catering to such kinks is not done in other countries. Granted, the hypothetical disappearance of Japan would undoubtedly diminish the volume of pornography produced each year. Still, I’m certain that the world’s other porn producers would be more than happy to pick up the slack, and with a lot less censorship to boot.

The last item taken as an excerpt from the original book is, surprisingly, cup noodles. Instant ramen was first developed by a Japanese company and has since gained a great deal of traction abroad, appearing both in plastic packets and paper cups. It’s said that more than 95 million containers of instant ramen are consumed outside of Japan each year. Now, while the industry has established itself abroad, to the point where losing Japan would not cripple the necessary production of instant noodles, if we approach the problem from the perspective of Japan having never existed at all, the lack of instant noodles would be a true loss, particularly for hungry American college kids.

As much as we like to give Japan flack for the things it gets bass ackwards, the island country is a fount of unique culture and creative opportunities. These self-proclaimed points of contribution may be to some extent debatable, but the attitudes, the culture, and strange obsession with animal bottoms would be nevertheless missed if the country ceased to be.

Source: Niconico News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- What makes people want to move to Japan? -- Language of the otaku has infiltrated our Internet forums -- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right

© RocketNews24

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What a bizarre piece of writing. And it did not even broach on my most serious concern: would my wife disappear even if we were not in Japan at the time?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Nonsense writing!!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

What does the author know that she isn't telling us? Is she one of the tinfoil hat brigade, or a soothsayer? All I'm reading here is DOOOOOOOOM!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My only complain is that the author left out: SUCHI. But other than that, the article is wonderful and very well written.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Very funny that this article comes on the heels of:

Girls fawn over Nagano police station’s new pretty-boy mascot characters

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't recognise the japan this article is talking about. Anime, manga, porn, cup noodles? Wouldn't miss any of them, they're no part of my life here.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

For China, Korea, and Russia, rest assured that if Japan is geographically dissapeared from the face of the Earth, their disputed islands are once again theirs. And I mean it, as a dissapearance of nature as humans NEVER have the will to develop a weapon of geographical erasure

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

this article is very... hmmm..... shallow. And so are the items the book is listing. instant ramen? seriously?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is this a veiled threat from China??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a ridiculous question! (Headline). I'd miss Japan immensely, as I'm sure millions of people around the world would as well! Out of the more than 13 countries I've visited and lived in, Japan is by far one of the most beautiful, with the best food, and some of the most amazing people (government and TEPCO completely excluded from anything I love about Japan, of course). If the government and TEPCO disappeared, it would be noticed, but definitely in a good way (they would NOT be missed. And only remembered for their gross incompetence and negligence).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't recognise the japan this article is talking about. Anime, manga, porn, cup noodles? Wouldn't miss any of them, they're no part of my life here.

More people need to get into porn. Improves their vanilla sex life, heheh.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As an American I personally would not miss it other than it's electronics contributions. Other than this I am not aware of Japan as a major factor. As far as items manufactured I can't think of anything that can't otherwise be produced elsewhere. I do not eat those noodles, the smell of them makes me gag and not into porn.

Honestly, I will admit, most Americans are so vain we seldom acknowledge other nations even exist unless we're vacationing, work forces us to or they threaten us in some manner.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sounds to me like the thoughts of a Suicidal person / country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Japanese (unwillingly sometimes) are vey good at exporting their own culture and habits. All the budo martial arts (excluding Judo, we still have karate, aikido, iaido, kyudo, etc) would be gone, the immense cultural heritage Japan gave to the world would be gone as well. A very sad tougt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps the author has just read 'Japan Sinks' (Nihon Chinbotsu), and is struggling to deal with the implications…

However, as many of the items that Japan 'produces' are now outsourced elsewhere in Asia, production would just carry on, albeit under different management...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rachel, are you preparing the world for China to dominate Japan? If the island nation should really disappear, it wouldn't alter the world order that much, others will take it place. Japan has no natural resources to affect the world economy so the world factories would keep on grinding out what ever it is doing today.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, for one, the change in the Kuroshio ocean current would sure make things interesting...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This seems to be written by somebody who thinks Japan is the center of the world. I have to agree with Bernice, I dont think Japan has contributed that much to the world, if anything, Japan takes from outside countries contributions and makes them its own, in the process destroying their originality, but claiming them as orignial Japanese inventions. There seems to be very little original in Japan. Cant say I would miss anything, except perhaps certian dishes. Most of the goods you buy are over engineered and have lost their originality.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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