See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Here's a Map That Shows You What the Japanese Really Think of Europe

Nick Kapur's map of Japanese stereotypes based on Google autocomplete suggestions.

Nick Kapur's map of Japanese stereotypes based on Google autocomplete suggestions.

Nick Kapur, a US-based professional historian specializing in Japan, has made a map of Japanese stereotypes of European countries, based on Japanese Google autocomplete suggestions.

Not every country in Europe was represented by Japanese-language Google autocomplete:

Google autocomplete also delivered some mysterious results that Kapur then incorporated into his map:

Kapur's map is similar to another map from 2015 that used Baidu, China's dominant search engine, to finish half-written questions about different provinces in China.

7 comments

  • maciejt

    The result for Poland is very enlightening… strange that when I try to google “ポーランドは” the only thing suggested by autocompletion is ポーランドは宇宙に行けない” (“Poland cannot into space”, another reference to polandball) and ポーランドは何語. Even more interesting is the fact that after trying to search for the phrase アメリカ人は Google suggests “アメリカ人はバカ” smile emoticon. Compensating for something, Mr. Kapur wink emoticon?

  • […] What the Japanese really think of Europe, based on Google searches. England = Bad Food. France = ‘no fat people’…. […]

  • Bradley Goodchild

    It seems too obvious that nobody has an opinion of Australia !……..that’s the way we like it !!!

  • BKFR

    Google autocomplete is a very silly thing to use as a basis for anything. It entirely depends on the moment what comes up there. There may just have been a TV show about something and people started searching for a term they just saw on TV to get more detail. If you come along right at that moment to do your autocomplete discovery and think this reflects what people are thinking, what their stereotypes are, you couldn’t be more wrong.

    For example, in the Japanese map it says “luxurious prisons” for Norway.

    I enter any bet that if you fly out to anywhere in Japan and ask 10.000 people at random what they think of Norway, there won’t be a single Japanese who will ever bring up prisons. Likewise, if you ask 10.000 random Japanese what they think of Moldova, a vast number of Japanese will not even have heard of Moldova. And the few Japanese who have heard of Moldova will not associate wine with the country.

    In the Chinese map, the province of Ningxia is associated with the term “seven murdered”. This is so obviously a result that comes from a recent news event that it is puzzling how the map designer could possibly have been led to believe this is a stereotype.

    It takes a lot more effort and time to research stereotypes than sitting down for 2 minutes typing country or province names into a search engine. This is testament to our modern culture which has become shallower and shallower. It is also testament in our willingness to blindly take anything for granted that some electronic gadget or some internet website spits out.

    People, what happened to your critical and analytical thinking?

    • rwscid

      Hey! Don’t grind your axe, sharpen your sense of humor!

      Unfortunately, you are probably correct. There are people who would take this sort of duff seriously. But hey – Moldova sounds a bit like wine, no? Madura, Muscat, Merlot, Malbec, Moldova, Molinara, Moreto ….

    • Frizz

      you are right the idea was good a good experiment , the title of this article is shit.
      it is possible to make a really better argumentation just by change a little part of the article .. becouse it isn’t so bad ..

  • […] Kapur, a United States-based professional historian specializing in Japan, made a map of Japanese stereotypes of European countries, based on Japanese Google autocomplete […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site