Part of Peter’s Unified Theory of Japan is that the Japanese greatly desire to be seen in a favorable light by other nations, especially the countries of the West. A lot of what the Japanese do, such as the creation of Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen train system in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics or the massive renovation of Narita Airport right before the 2002 World Cup, were largely done so foreigners who visit the country would oo and ah about how advanced Japan is. There is no higher honor for Japan than to have one of its own attain fame around the world, and various men such as writers Yukio Mishima and Yasunari Kawabata, directors Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki and illustrator Shirow Masamune have become legendary inside Japan in part for attaining fame in the world stage. The Japanese are also fascinated with the interest foreigners take in their culture, and it’s common to see TV shows featuring gaijin who know more about certain subjects, say history or anime, than Japanese people do themselves. France has really embraced Japan’s culture of bento, and the other day I caught a show detailing the popularity Japanese boxed lunches have found in Paris, with customers ordering them in Japanese restaurants, making beautiful works of bento art and so on.
The Japanese are tickled when foreigners embrace their culture.