Exploring Past Japanese Cultural Trends

I want you to search out a Japanese person right now. Take the nearest person you can find and sit him down. Now slowly tell him, “I would like to discuss your childhood.” Wait for it… And he’s gone.

Japan is far. Really far. Far things are different. Sure, the many countries of the world are on a course of massive globalization. But when you were a child, growing up in the 70s, 80s, 90s, you probably even couldn’t find Japan on the map.

Ninja, samurai, Godzilla, and shoddy “made in Japan” labels. You knew nothing of Japan and what those wacky karate children were doing halfway around the world. Whatever it was, it sure wasn’t what you knew.

Or was it… When most people talk to Japanese people as adults, it doesn’t ever cross their minds to get nostalgic or discuss things from their childhood. You can’t share in memories you don’t have in common.

Shocking news: you grew up with many of the same toys, games, movies, fashion, and music as Japanese children. Yes even you, from nowhere USA.

When you were playing with troll dolls, twister, cabbage patch kids, rubicks cubes, and sticky hands…

When you were watching Back to the Future, Crocodile, Police Academy, Goonies, and Robocop…

When you were wearing chemical washed jeans, skateboard gear, surfer shorts and shirts, and fleece…

When you were making your first jump in Mario, your first Hadouken with Ryu, and your first level up in Final Fantasy 1…

So was your Japanese friend.

We have so much more in common then you could imagine.

But you don’t know this. How are you supposed to know what you both grew up with so you can grow nostalgic as equals.

You can ask every Japanese person you meet to talk about their childhood.


You can go to Nendai-ryuukou.com, an amazing website which beautifully arranges everything that was popular in Japan over the past 6 decades.

The site is simple:

1. Choose your decade:


2. You get a summary breakdown of all the major events that happened in each year.


3. Then there are links for fashion, hairstyles, movies, music, toys, etc.


A few samples of what you see when you click:

1990s toys


1980s fashion


1980s movies

Nendai8 Nendai9

Don’t stop at just what you know

One of the great things about this site is it covers everything Japanese people grew up with, including all the things you have never ever remotely even heard of.

Japan had some really interesting trends and products, so you can see what you missed out on growing up. And you can really surprise Japanese people when you can talk about a popular toy they played with when they were 9.

Go forward with united childhood memories!

After looking through the site, any surprising things that you never thought Japanese children would also be growing up with? Any exciting items you found that you also wish you could have grown up with?

Source: All pictures taken from Nendai-ryuukou.com

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Exploring Past Japanese Cultural Trends — 8 Comments

  1. This is really awesome! Thanks for sharing. It’ll be really interesting exploring this site. And it is extremely relevant for my minor in Japanese studies. We just went over コギャル not too long ago in my Japanese culture class and watched Kogal Bounce, and much of the fashion found in the 90s section was featured in the movie.

    A lot of the things I grew up with, being a 90s kid, were from Japan, I just got them through a filter of what is licensed in America and later release dates, so I’ve been able to relate to people in Japan who are a little older than me. Which is perfect, since my husband is a little older than me.

    Now a nanny, I’ve been sharing so much of what I grew up with from Japan with the little girl I watch, with addition to other newer things we find. She’s watching ドラえもん (without subs) and loves it, which is something I never saw as a kid but a big part of Japanese culture. She loves 志村動物園. She prefers the older generation of Pokemon to the newer. She’s also reading manga in Japanese. Her connection to Japan is already growing.

    • It’s really great that little kids these days get to experience other cultures with absolute ease like this.

      Enjoy going through the site. It’s a lot of fun.

  2. Oh man, it’s so true that you assume that you have a different childhood than them, but I recognized all of the things you showed in this post haha. It’s so awesome to realize this!

  3. Ah! This is great. Thanks for sharing! I have a feeling I’m going to spend a lot of time getting lost on that site.

  4. Great website. I’ve been searching(not very hard or extensive… or at all, mainly just thinking そんなのサイトがあるならいいかなぁ) for a website like this.

    Also unrelated. I’m really feeling the new banner. It’s full of win.

    • Well I’m happy this solved what you were or weren’t searching for.

      Thanks on the banner. We’ve been developing this and one more for a while, and are probably going to hold a vote on the two.

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