How Asian culture found its place in America – Scot Scoop News
The United States has always been known as the cultural melting pot of the globe: the assimilation of diverse cultures into one nation. Nowhere in the country is this notion stronger than in California.
Of the 50 states in 2020, according to the United States Census Bureau, California had the second-highest Diversity Index (DI) at 69.7%, while having a significantly larger population than leader Hawaii ( 76.0% DI) and the rest of the states.
The San Francisco Bay Area (67.4% DI) and Southern California around Los Angeles and San Diego (68.3% DI) have especially developed into culturally mixed societies with a large multicultural population..
Hailing from the West Coast, Asian pop culture has quickly become one of America’s most influential foreign cultural movements over the past two decades, as popular East Asian food and entertainment have widespread in the United States.
One of the oldest foreign cuisines in the United States is Japanese cuisine. Sushi, in particular, has become particularly popular, with the US sushi restaurant market worth $22.5 billion in 2021 since its arrival in the 1960s, according to IBISWorld.
There is some debate about when sushi first arrived in the United States, but according to the Michelin Guide, in 1966 Noritoshi Kanai established Kawafuku, a sushi bar – a term coined after popular usage years later. . In addition to Kawafuku, many other sushi bars would also open and contribute to the popularity of Japanese cuisine in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles..
As Los Angeles became the center of American sushi bars in 1966, Fuji Sukiyaki and San Raku in San Mateo, Calif., served sushi and Japanese cuisine for years to positive reviews, according to Jonas House, “Sushi in the United States, 1945-1970.”
“I think Asian foods are extremely popular because of the large Asian population in places like the Bay Area, which brings Asian food companies with them,” said Joshua Lin, a sophomore at Carlmont High School.
This relationship makes sense since Asian immigrants would create cultural bubbles such as Little Tokyo in Los Angeles or Japantown in San Francisco that allowed Asian food to become established and eventually permeate the rest of the nation.
While Americans were initially hesitant to try exotic Asian cuisines such as sushi (consumption of raw fish was previously unheard of), the gradual and widespread establishment of Asian populations and cultures provided the basis for their presence and growing popularity.
This system of Asian immigrants introducing new cuisines into American culture does not stop at Japanese cuisine. Among Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indian and Asian foods, a more recent example is the explosive popularity of Taiwanese bubble tea in the United States.
While “boba” tea appeared in Taiwanese night markets as a combination of tapioca, tea and crushed ice as early as the 1980s, it was not until the dawn of the new millennium that the boba tea has joined the American melting pot.
Like the growth of sushi and Japanese cuisine, boba tea has had a growing presence in the United States after immigrants brought demand for its native foods. The boba tea industry has also grown with other cafes such as Starbucks, both offering mid-day refreshments and that mellow coffee environment.
“A lot of people at Carlmont like to do boba after school, including my friends and I,” Lin said. “We actually get together sometimes just to hang out and have boba.”
With the bubble tea industry at an all-time high, Garden Grove near Los Angeles had the highest rate of people boba shops, with one store per 5,200 people in 2020 (versdatascience.com). For reference, in 2020 the United States had one Starbucks store for 21,500 people..
Besides cuisine, Asian culture has also had an impact on the United States, with the popularity of anime since the 1960s. Although it has a loose definition, an anime is an animated show or movie Japanese.
Anime first entered American culture when titles like “Astro Boy” (1963), “Kimba the White” (1965), and “Gigantor” (1963) caught the attention of American entertainment companies. such as NBC. These companies obtained the license to air the shows; a method still used to deliver anime to America, according to rightstufanime.
Studio Ghibli was one of the leaders in the expansion of anime into the United States by producing “Spirited Away” (2001), the first anime to win the Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature “. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989) showed that the anime industry was aware of growing American viewership, as Studio Ghibli used more Western settings and ideas.
“I remember watching Studio Ghibli movies from elementary school,” said Taiyo Kobayashi, a Carlmont junior who loves watching anime. “Those movies were the first anime I ever watched.”
While Studio Ghibli continued the anime industry for younger audiences, other anime shows produced anime for various audience maturities (PG, PG-13, R, etc.) in addition to children. Additionally, anime has adopted its own genres, including comedy, shonen, isekai, and others.
The anime industry in the United States has been developing rapidly in recent times. “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” won the highest-grossing opening weekend for a foreign-language film in the United States with around $20 million in 2021. The film also earned the second-highest grossing high at the box office for an animated film in the United States. US with around 45 million dollars and is the highest grossing animated film in the world with around 500 million dollars (verified on several sources). This becomes even more impressive when you consider that the film was released during the COVID-19 quarantine.
“Anime has established itself well as a part of American culture with the amount of content for American audiences,” Kobayashi said. “There are voiceovers and English translations for each anime, as well as anime cartoons produced in the United States.”
The cultural presence of anime in America is clear in Carlmont, where many people enjoy watching anime. Kobayashi also mentions that he made many friends at Carlmont through their love of anime.
Many clubs celebrate Asian culture in Carlmont, including the Chinese Culture Club, Indian Club, J-Pop Club, Anime Club, Korean Pop Culture Club, and Nisei Japanese American Club.
“We love talking and enjoying Japanese culture with others, whether it’s about music, shows or something completely different,” said Aiden Abrari, president of the Carlmont J-Pop Club, which has been around since 2015. “Nothing is really off the table for what we could talk about every week, which makes the club even more fun.
As mentioned by Lin, the popularity of Asian culture in the Bay Area is partly due to the Asian population. However, it is also important to recognize the popularity among non-Asians.
Christina Ree, program manager for the San Diego Asian Film Festival, refers to it in the recent popularity of Asian American films.
“I think Asian American films are really successful now, partly because American audiences are becoming more global,” Ree said. “They want something authentic and immerse themselves in Asian culture, whether it’s anime or Kpop.”
In cases such as Asian cuisine or entertainment, the phenomenon was brought to the United States by immigrants but was popularized in the United States by the American public. This trend makes Asian cultures a part of American society and culture rather than an independent thing.
It will be exciting to see how more cultures from around the world, not just Asia, make their way into the American melting pot in the future.