All over the world, Japan has been increasingly penetrating our everyday life, what with its cars, electronic goods, cameras, cuisine, cultural accoutrements, and so on and on. France was even moved to publish a guidebook on the Japanese presence in Paris. This is not just a guide for sightseeing things Japanese in Paris, but also for consumers interested in buying commodified Japan. It lists restaurants, shops for fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, books, antiques, videos of feature films and animation movies, and classes in martial and decorative arts. But such "Japanese presence" is hardly limited to France; it is seen throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, and (although less extensively) in the Middle East and Africa. This global Japanese presence today is a quantum level more pervasive than a century ago, when things Japanese abroad was by and large limited to art and antique goods of wood cut prints (ukiyoe) and porcelain (Imari and Kutani) varieties. In those bygone days, only a select few enjoyed things Japanese. In a major contrast, nowadays Japan has become part of the daily life of common people in most parts of the world, and just about everyone of all ages is affected by the Japanese presence in one way or another. In the year 2001 few youngsters of the world are unaware of Pokemon. Most of them in fact are captivated by it.
As part of Japan's globalization process, the presence of Japanese nationals abroad in developed and developing countries has grown to the extent that now they are ubiquitous, with upwards of ten million Japanese traveling overseas every year. These Japanese are varied, constituting several categories. Most of them are sightseeing tourists, of course, but businessmen dispatched from Japan, with their families, are stationed throughout the world. These Japanese, with those in the hotel, restaurant, and other types of service industry, have created almost self-contained Japanese communities in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, with members numbering tens of thousands in each of them. Then there are those who have left Japan permanently as immigrants and brides (and, less frequently, grooms) of international marriage.
In addition, Japan is becoming the center of a vast number of unassuming networks all over the world. Aside from the obvious business-related networks,