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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Pizza Elbow Japan

Pizza Elbow JapanThe black and white image bottom right (Oobuchi, 2011) labelled "inside the mind" shows a network of associations between words. At the top is Pizza which rhymes with the Japanese word for knee (hiza) which is often associated with hiji elbow. In typical logo centric fashion the textbook, written by a Japanese psychologists (presumably influenced by Western psychology), is claiming that there is an indirect link between pizza and elbows due to their linguistic association.

It is my view that the Japanese mind may in fact have a stronger network of visual associations shown bottom left such that I hypothesise that pizza would be felt to visually resemble the Japanese flag, which is in turn associated with a map of Japan so, there is an indirect visual association between pizza and the shape of the Japanese archipelago. I hypothesize that these visual associations would be stronger than the former linguistic associations among Japanese compared to Westerners, but this would be difficult to prove since the same linguistic associations could not be made.

Instead of the elbow, an anglophone might be asked if they associate the pizza with a fridge symbol using the association by rhyme of pizza -> freezer and the association by first letter and physical similarity freezer -> fridge. But then pizza is kept in a fridge so even if anglophones chose it they might be doing so due to holistic associations of visual contiguity. I think I would need to use Japanese subjects and some sort of priming manipulation of culture.

The pizza elbow connection is used by Japanese school boys in a sort of trick where the victim is asked to say pizza ten times before being asked the name of the elbow, which instead of calling a hiji (elbow) is inclined to call a "hiza" having been influenced by the repetition of pizza (piza in Japanese). I think that this trick works also shows that Japanese are fairly insensitive to phonetic semantic connections. If I were told to repeat "pea" ten times I would not call my elbow my knee.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.