The Most Weeb Nation is Revealed in Japan’s Top People Poll

Japan Pres Research Institute has been conducting annual awareness surveys to track the in-roads Japanese celebrities and politicians have been making in other countries. This year, they surveyed roughly 1,000 people from the U.S., the U.K, France, China, South Korea, and Thailand. Each person was asked to name a famous Japanese person: living, dead, or fictional.

Here are the top results from each country. There is a lot of overlap, with a majority of names being politicians.

 

The U.S.

Hayao Miyazaki

  1. Shinzo Abe (current Prime Minister of Japan) – 80 votes
  2. Emperor Hirohito (Emporer during the Showa Era and World War II) – 55 votes
  3. Ichiro Suzuki (Professional baseball player) – 11 votes
  4. Emperor Akihito (Current Emporer of Japan) – 11 votes
  5. Yoko Ono (Multimedia artist and John Lennon’s 2nd wife) – 11 votes
  6. Isoroku Yamamoto (Imperial Navy Admiral during WWII) – 11 votes
  7. Yasuo Fukuda (Prime Minister of Japan from 2007 – 2008) – 7 votes
  8. Akira Kurosawa (Film director) – 6 votes
  9. Hayao Miyazaki (Anime director) – 6 votes
  10. Hideki Tojo (Imperial Army General during WWII) – 5 votes

Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito are common names in American news since the two countries are key Pacific allies. Other political figures include WWII leaders and a former Japanese prime minister.

Pop-culture figures include Ichiro Suzuki, who is arguably the most popular Japanese athlete in America. Kurosawa, Miyazaki, and Ono round out the list.

 

The U.K.

Hideo Kojima

  1. Emperor Hirohito (Emporer during the Showa Era and World War II) – 63 votes
  2. Yoko Ono (Multimedia artist and John Lennon’s 2nd wife) – 13 votes
  3. Shinzo Abe (current Prime Minister of Japan) – 11 votes
  4. The Prime Minister – 8 votes
  5. The Emperor – 7 votes
  6. Shinji Kagawa (Professional soccer player) – 6 votes
  7. Kazuo Ishiguro (Japanese born, U.K. raised novelist) – 6 votes
  8. Hokusai Katsushika (Artist during the Edo period) – 6 votes
  9. Haruki Murakami (Novelist) – 5 votes
  10. Hideo Kojima (Creator of Metal Gear) – 5 votes

The U.K. results are similar to the U.S., but with the addition of the ambiguous “Prime Minister” and “Emperor.” I guess it’s the thought that counts?

The U.K. does have a few more pop-culture icons, including a pair of novelist and an ancient artist! In terms of sports, Ishiguro became the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League and to win the Premier League title during his time with Manchester United.

 

France

Naruto

  1. Emperor Hirohito (Emporer during the Showa Era and World War II) – 93 votes
  2. Shinzo Abe (current Prime Minister of Japan) – 37 votes
  3. Naruto Uzumaki (Star of Naruto) – 18 votes
  4. Hayao Miyazaki (Anime director) – 16 votes
  5. Yoko Ono (Multimedia artist and John Lennon’s 2nd wife) – 15 votes
  6. The Emporer – 15
  7. Akira Kurosawa (Film director) – 13 votes
  8. Akira Toriyama (Creator of Dragon Ball) – 10 votes
  9. Pikachu (From Pokemon) – 10 votes
  10. Kei Nishikori (Professional tennis player) – 9 votes

France showed some love to mainstream anime and manga works, and they tied with naming the pop-culture icons of surveyed nations.

 

China

Momoe Yamaguchi

  1. Shinzo Abe (current Prime Minister of Japan) – 319 votes
  2. Junichiro Koizumi (Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 – 2006) – 74 votes
  3. Hayao Miyazaki (Anime director) – 54 votes
  4. Haruki Murakami (Novelist) – 42 votes
  5. Momoe Yamaguchi (Idol whose career ran from 1973 – 1980 before retiring) – 25 votes
  6. Hideki Tojo (Imperial Army General during WWII) – 18 votes
  7. Ken Takakura (Actor and singer who appeared in over 200 films) – 16 votes
  8. Isoroku Yamamoto (Imperial Navy Admiral during WWII) – 16 votes
  9. Keigo Higashino (Mystery novelist) – 16 votes
  10. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (16th-century Shogun who wanted to invade China) – 15 votes

Given China’s strained relationship with Japan, it’s no surprised that most of the choices were political. It is worth noting that the idol Momoe became popular in China during an era of stricter control over foreign entertainment.

 

South Korea

Mao Asada

  1. Shinzo Abe (Current Prime Minister of Japan) – 531 votes
  2. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (16th-century Shogun who invaded Korea twice) – 49 votes
  3. Ito Hirobumi (Resident-General who oversaw Korea during occupation) – 34 votes
  4. Kakuei Tanaka (Prime Minister of Japan from 1972 – 1974) – 13 votes
  5. Junichiro Koizumi (Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 – 2006) – 11 votes
  6. Yasuhiro Nakasone (Prime Minister of Japan from 1982 – 1987) – 11 votes
  7. The Emperor – 10 votes
  8. Haruki Murakami (Novelist) – 8 votes
  9. Tokugawa Ieyasu (Founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate) – 8 votes
  10. Mao Asada (Figure skater) – 5 votes

Like China, South Korea has a strained relationship with Japan due to a long history of war and occupations. They named the most politicians out of all the participating nations.

 

Thailand

Doraemon

  1. Shinzo Abe (Current Prime Minister of Japan) – 178 votes
  2. Doraemon (Star of Doraemon) – 111 votes
  3. The Emperor – 59 votes
  4. Emperor Akihito (Current Emporer of Japan) – 50 votes
  5. Maria Ozawa (Former adult film actress) – 20 votes
  6. Kobori (Japanese character in a Thai novel) – 17 votes
  7. X-Japan (Rock band) – 16 votes
  8. Kyoko Fukada (Actress and singer) – 16 votes
  9. Nobita Nobi (Character from Doraemon) – 14 votes
  10. Sora Aoi (Adult film actress)

Thailand…well, Thailand is weird. We have a wholesome children’s show in Doraemon and steamy adult film actresses. The only politicians named are current ones, along with the ambiguous Emperor. But yeah, Thailand loves their skin flicks.

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