The Japanese/Chinese anime paradox

Normally, growing up tends to diminish one’s consumption of anime, but not for me. In fact, being in a shotgun marriage (immigration rules really do help bring back traditional family values) to a Chinese woman probably increased my anime consumption tenfold. Why Chinese you ask? Wouldn’t Japanese women be a better choice for an anime fan? Well, not really. Being from Denmark, If I met someone from abroad who said they loved listening to Aqua might make me feel sorry for you but it would still leave at least a small tingling of national pride in my chest. If one is to mention to a Japanese person (or a Japanese American – like this guy that you love anime a common reaction would be more in the vein of “Oh, well f*** you too!”.

You see, anime is seen as a subculture for the uncool in Japan, and Japanese people who I have met often point out how westerners fail to see the negative rep anime culture has. By contrast, China has quite an interest for Japanese anime (and everything else that can be pirated), but are currently still about a generation away from universally adopting the western understanding of being “cool”. After all many of them are still in the stage in which they find academic success and material wealth more important than showing off your sexappeal at next weekend’s booze-fest. Hopefully the Japanese will once again find the appeal of the animation medium to tell stories interesting again (even when they aren’t made by Studio Ghibli). Otherwise I wonder if the Chinese might take over that industry as well (if the Koreans don’t get there first).