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Debunking Common Myths About Japan

Updated on December 23, 2016

Japan maybe famous for a dozen of reasons, but it’s mostly the urban legends and popular stereotypes that keep the people interested. Although Japan does make it easier for us to believe many of the ridiculous myths spun about it, some popular stories these days are blown way out of proportion. After visiting Japan, I’ve decided to debunk many of the popular myths existing on the internet right now. After all, seeing is believing.

The Tokyo subway lines are extremely complex and confusing.


No, they are not. Although there are many different subway lines, those line are ALWAYS carefully coordinated with different colors, numbers, and labeled with the directions and locations to indicate where the trains are heading. There is a sign about every five steps which will direct you to the line you’re looking for, and maps dictating the entire system. If you still have questions, there are inquiry centers at every station’s entrance and exit.


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The Tokyo subway trains are EXTREMLY crowded.


Although they are slightly cramped during rush hours, you can still squeeze yourself into one; if not, you can simply wait for the next one, which is usually <5 minutes away. It pays to go the extra mile to walk from the middle of the boarding deck to the end during your waiting time, since those areas on a train usually have the least occupants. You often see images of people squeezing the passengers into trains as proof to the congestion in Japan, but it's honestly not as common as they make it seem.

Japanese TV shows are very “peculiar”.


Although weird shows do exist, they are not vast-spreading as one would expect. Instead, the major channels of Japanese television are filled with pretty much what we would see on our TV screens. Those “special” TV shows are usually found on less known or less popular channels, otherwise known as the dark part of television.


The school uniforms of Japanese school girls consist of miniskirts.


Sadly, no. The skirts of the uniforms usually fall down to their knees, and sometimes even lower. The students may roll-up their skirts to the length of their preference, but most students wear their uniforms unaltered. The media tends to focus so much on the few students who actually wear miniskirts to school to such a point that it is a now common misconception that that is their original uniform.

Tokyo is filled with anime and manga.


It is a yes and no on this myth. Although it does have a higher ratio of anime related shops and merchandises compared to any other country, they are not EVERYWHERE; in fact, these shops are mainly focused in two sectors of Tokyo, Akihabara and Shibuya. These two sectors are basically filled with anime and manga, along with their fringe merchandises. Otakus will be at heaven here, considering that they have a special building dedicated to SEGA, and seemingly endless video games. Akihabara can be considered a must-go if you ever have the opportunity to go to Tokyo, and whether or not you are a fan of anime or video games, you will surely enjoy your time there.

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    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 7 months ago from Singapore

      Another myth is that pink samurai one about vending machines with ... used panties. I've never seen one after several trips. When I risked asking a local about it, I was given a Sunday school glare.