10 Bizarre Facts About Japan

Bizzare Facts About Japan

As everyone knows about this now, Japan is a weird country for many reasons.

There are the same people that censored a ton of stuff and the same country that made horse meat a delicacy (search for it! It's literally true).

There are tons of things that are bizarre for Westerners and even the Japanese people themselves.

However, there are some facts about Japan that would make you shake your head in disbelief when you hear about it.

Here are the 10 Bizarre Facts about Japan:

1. Ganguro (or Blackface) is acceptable

Alright! Right off the bat, it's already bizarre. Nice way to start it out!

In America (and other Western countries), using blackface from non-blacks is deemed racially offensive and inappropriate.

It's mostly was used in the 1800s for white performers to intimate blacks in America. 

In Japan, it's not really deemed inappropriate for Japanese society.

Ganguro がんぐろ is mostly used for Japanese teenage girls and young adults to combat the traditional beauty of Japan and also show their support to the black culture.

They would often use blackface, using gobs of makeup, and wear tons of crazy wigs.

Blackface has recently come to light after a few Japanese performers used blackface for their performances.

While there are some people deemed the act as inappropriate and racist, others believed the performers want to show their appreciation to the black culture.

2. Foreigners' Passports 

The United States Department of State expresses to Americans traveling to Japan that Japanese police have the right to stop any foreigner at any time on the streets for identification.

Mainly because there are some foreigners that could immigrate to Japan illegally. Or in some cases, the Japanese police would capture the wrong criminal.

Because of this, foreigners are HIGHLY recommended to carry their passports at all time so they can prove their identity. If not, you could be arrested on the spot.

3. Adopting Adults

Yeah... It's a thing in Japan...

For many people, adoption is mostly deal with small kids or preteens that are going from their biological parents to another family.

In Japan, there are families that could adopt adults--especially males.

There are two main reasons as to why some Japanese families are willing to adopt adult males---

1. to pass the families' names and

2. for male's priority in inheritance.

Weird but understandable since there are families that only have daughters, and are at risk of disappearing.  

But there's a twist... If a Japanese woman marries a male, then the women's family can adopt the male and their sons. 

4. Waiting to Remarry

Divorce is a terrible time for two lovers to call it quits on their romantic relationship.

However, this rule would hurt women.

After an official divorce, Japanese women have to wait at least six months after the divorce in order to remarry again.

For the men, they can remarry whenever they want to, even on the next day.

If the Japanese woman gives birth during the six months, then it's automatically for the ex-husband.

If it's given birth after the six months, then the woman would get custody of the child.

Another shocking fact about marriage in Japan, the older brother is allowed to ask his younger brother's girlfriend for her hand in marriage, but they both have to agree on it.

5. It's illegal to be fat

Physical standards are extremely strict in Japan.

Meaning that beauty standards are always a competition for not just Japanese people but to foreigners as well.

And this law saying that it's illegal to be fat is the prime example of huge beauty standards.

In Japan, for people aged over 40, they must have a waistline that's not bigger than 32-36 inches.

If over-exceeding that mark, they would be given dieting guidance to help decrease the waistline.

If you're going to say "what about sumo wrestlers," I guess for athletes they would get a slide.

6. License for cutting fish

While it may sound weird at first, it can be understanding after the explanation.

Japanese sushi chefs that are brave enough to do it would have the chance to be a fugu chef by cutting fugu (pufferfish) precisely.

The reason is that fugu is considered to be one of the most dangerous foods in the world.

The intestines, ovaries, and liver contain a poison called tetrodotoxin, which is 1000 times deadlier than cyanide. Oh, and no antidote for it. 

It would lead to muscle paralysis, coma, and eventually death.

It would take mere 7-10 years, a written exam, and a physical exam to cut the fish in front of the experienced fugu chefs.

So, besides chefs that are licensed (they only have to buy cutlets), literally, no one would have the chance to buy the fish for safety purposes.

Another shocking thing is the emperor of Japan is not allowed to eat fugu fish just in case he would get poisoned. However, the rest of the imperial family can.

7. No inhalers

For people that have asthma or allergies, Japan will be a hard vacation trip.

In Japan, over-the-counter allergy or sinus medications and inhalers are banned under their strict anti-stimulant drug laws.

It's really difficult to know which medicine to bring and what to leave behind since there isn't an official list of medications that are legal in Japan.

No matter how sick you are, you can't carry inhalers into the country. You'll be even be arrested and keep in jail for weeks.

The safe bet is to bring a prescription from your doctor and a letter explaining the reason and purpose of your medications.

8. You can't get fired in Japan

In the Japanese workplace, there might be a particular situation whereas an employee has said and/or done something that is deemed inappropriate at the workplace.

In spite of that, he/she can't be fired.

Rather, they would be taken into a so-called "boredom room" and would make the worker do soulless tasks such as surfing the web and reading the newspaper until the employee has no choice but to quit. 

9. Can't damage money

Japanese people and foreigners cannot damage money in any way shape or form.

You can't burn it, rip it, or throw it away in the trash can.

If so, you could be fined up to 200,000 yen (which is about $2000 American dollars) or spend a year in prison.

Basically, for rich people in Japan, just spend money rather than throwing it away or burning it in the fireplace.

10. Personal Space

Personal space can be tricky to understand, but not hard.

For public transportation, it's considered mandatory for everyone to get used to their personal space being invaded by random people.

The reason is since Japanese police officers try to stuff themselves in trains as much as possible before the train departs.

However, in a personal way, it's deemed inappropriate and rude to do PDA (or kissing) in the public. 

There are laws that are used to protect people's privacy and personal space.

No one can disturb people from walking around the streets.

Even traffic laws are abided by the laws. 

 

So there are the 10 Most Bizarre Facts about Japan! Hope you learned something new!^_0

If you want to read more, make sure to check out 5 social issues Japan has right now.

 

Sources:

10 Things NOT TO DO in Japan and Will Definitely Land You Behind Bars

Japanese Adult Adoption (Tofugu)

Bizarre and Hilarious Divorce Laws

10 Weird and Crazy Traditions in Japan

4 Japanese laws that surprised most foreigners

Top 10 Strange Laws In Japan

Weird Laws in Asian Countries

Training to Become a Fugu Chef

Firing Taboo In Japan


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