One of the better aspects about living in Japan, from the point of view as a Yankee expat, is the country’s status as the most “pro-American” nation in the world. From James Dean to Marilyn Monroe to Hollywood and Hawaii, the average Japanese person tends to have a favorable image of the United States, despite a few minor problems like the current rise in tensions over the Futenma Marine Base on Okinawa. Two of the most popular icons in “Japanese” history are Admiral Matthew C. Perry, who forced Japan to trade with the U.S. at gunpoint in 1854 , and Douglas MacArthur, the victorious general who oversaw the occupation of Japan, credited by many (my mother-in-law included) for “saving” Japan from itself and helping to create the modern country we know today. Which is kind of odd, since Perry and MacArthur can were nothing if not enemies of Japan at the time, and yet today they’re considered heroes. Carrying it a bit further, America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, and yet the Japanese nearly always have a positive view of the U.S. If you figure Japan out, can you tell me?
Admiral Perry is often made into a cute mascot character.