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Foreign Cultural Influences In North-American Culture: An East-Asian Cultural Direction

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The idea of the term “Culture” was first conceived in 106 BC, by Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman Lawyer, Philosopher, and Orator. In his work Tusculanes, he describes culture as the creation and maturity of the soul and mind, through the phrase “Cultura Animi” (273). Over time, the idea of culture has been shifted and perceived differently by the people of their times. The earliest modern example of the description of today’s definition of culture is from Edward Burnett Tylor, English anthropologist and the founder of cultural anthropology, or the study of human society and cultural change. He described culture as a definition of social meaning, as in reasons for people to perform traditional actions and thought, and what continues and discontinues in a community. His definition fits well with the modern idea of culture, as new traditions and ideas are introduced into a place, questioning the longevity of said cultures, while old culture is removed, unchanged, or renovated in notice towards the new cultures presented.

Now in the United States (US), culture is in constant change, as the US is undergoing a cultural shift from other foreign cultures due to immigrants of different regions of Earth. Jie Zong, Associate Policy Analyst, and Jeanna Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst, have showcased and explained that immigrants of Asian blood have been importing in America substantially in recent years of the US.

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Cultural influences of the Asian variety have already been appearing in US culture. one example would be popular music, as researchers are trying to track down Asian influence in popular music (Wang 439). Throughout the United States’ lifespan, foreign Asian immigrants and their culture have changed and influenced US culture with their entertainment, philosophy and values, and medical ideas.

East-Asian Influences in Entertainment

East-Asian entertainment, primarily from Japan and China, has been integrated with the United State’s culture. Professor of Japanese history and popular culture at Oregon State University’s University Studies Program, Antonia Levi, has recognized and studied the integration and globalization of East-Asian media, mainly in the form of comics and animation. These East-Asian entertainment media are referred to as Manga and Anime, respectively. Professor Levi observed and made conclusions about the Americanization of East-Asians starting the integration of East-Asian Entertainment, and how United State residents respond to East-Asian Entertainment. Levi’s analysis of US citizens’ responses towards Anime and Manga lead to the overall conclusion is that US citizens are more accepting of East-Asian Entertainment (43-45). Another professor, James Welker, who specialized in Cross-cultural Studies at Kanagawa University, studies the spread of a genre of East-Asian entertainment, Yaoi. Yaoi is essentially the East-Asian equivalent of male homosexual stories and media; Boy’s Love. A more concise way to say is the modern slang, gay. Through his research of asking and polling, he concluded and explained that Americans and Europeans in the last two decades have garner attention towards Yaoi (42-44). What both of these sources mean is that East-Asian entertainment is slowly being integrated into the United States’ culture by changing the standards of entertainment, which is watching East-Asian entertainment. Both audiences have noticed and collected the entertainment of East-Asian as a culture to assimilate into the United States’ culture.

East-Asian Influence in Medicine

As East-Asian comes into the United States, they bring their culture with them. A part of their culture that is transferred with them is their medicine. More and more of the western population, like the United States, are practicing the medicine that the East-Asian has brought. One of the people that have recognized this pattern and movement is Regan A. R. Gurung, a professor of Psychological Science at Oregon State University. He reported through his books that the Western audience is looking into the Chinese Method towards medicine. Due to the poor state that immigrants of East-Asian are in, they go through unconventional medicine. People in the US are also willing to try their seemingly unusual medicine. One piece of Chinese medicine that the US is trying is herbal pills. Pharmaceutical companies are making and trying herbal pills for medicine (204). What limits this discovery and conclusion is the researcher’s overview, as many other ethnicities have also treated with unconventional medicine. To say that the Chinese introduced herbal and unconventional medicine is an uncertainty, as other cultures, such as Arabs and the Indians, have also practiced and used herbal and unconventional medicine (Pan et al, 6-47). However, Chinese doctors were the most dominant immigrants in the United States. Government Agencies, like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have experimented with Chinese herbal medicine to test its effectiveness towards chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer (Wang 1). Furthermore, Caroline Young, an author and writer, and Cyndie Koopsen, a nurse, have documented their exposure towards alternative medicine, one of which is East-Asian medicine (125-26). However, while Young and Koopsen have worked in the healthcare field for 50 years, they are not professionals in medicine. Finally, Winston I. Lu and Dominic P. Lu, have done a report about the use of herbal medicine and the increasing popularity on the practice, but the overall misuse of the treatment. What all of these articles and documents show is that the United States is slowly bringing East-Asian Medicine, a foreign idea in their modern culture since the 1960s and 1970s, and accepting the practices of it into their culture, albeit with few setbacks.

East-Asian Influence in Philosophy

East-Asian philosophy has more to do with religion than actual thinking, like Buddhism and Confucianism, but regardless, the influence of East-Asian philosophy spreads wildly in the United States. The idea of using East-Asian philosophy dates back to 1991 when it was used to treat patients in psychotherapy. Doctor Lawrence Maltin, a psychiatrist from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Doctor Atwood, Social Psychologist, and Licensed Family Therapist, have detailed their experiments and reports on the use of Eastern Philosophy. These doctors used the basic grasp of East-Asian philosophy’s ideas and use them with their western professions. However, this limits the use of East-Asian philosophy as a tool for a median like psychotherapy. While East-Asian philosophy does have influence, it didn’t create psychotherapy. Associate Professor and Director of Asian Studies Program at Texas Tech University, Yuan Shu, discussed the overall spread of the values of East-Asian ideas across the globe. One point he argued is that the American Dream is inherited from Asian values, showing the true scope of the impacts of East-Asian philosophy. However, this idea is limited in the sense that just Asian values impacted the United State’s culture when it was clear that the United States took ideas and philosophy from others to form their dream. In all, the values and philosophy of East-Asian culture have reached the United States in practices of their profession and the American Dream.

East-Asian’s Overall Influence

Akin to other foreign culture’s influence on the United States, East-Asian’s culture in the US is present. Entertainment, Medicine, and Philosophy are all influence by East-Asian culture, which reflected the impact of East-Asian culture on the US. The importance of this discussion dates back to the enormous immigrantion of East-Asian, and how the immigrantion of East-Asian affects the culture of the US. However, the presence of African Culture limits the influence of East-Asian, as they too have use similar medicine. Overall, with the inclusion of other foreign culture’s influence on the US, it can be said that the US has been majorly changed since immigrant due to the influence of culture. However, one thing that limits this overall solution is the Fast Food industry. From White Castle to McDonalds, nothing about Fast Food is foreign from the US. everything about Fast Food is purely US culture.

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