"Could you write my name for me in Kanji?"
I was suddenly asked this question at a Vienna airport duty free shop cash register in November of 2001.
To Kanji admirers throughout the world?
I visited Europe twice and America once during 2001. I have traveled to Spain, France, Switzerland, and Austria and have seen that each of these European countries has its differing language and culture. Regardless of the country, there is one common trend apparent and that is an admiration of Japanese culture by the Western world.
In Spain and France alike, T-shirts bearing Japanese phrases taken from who knows where are sold at places such as the gift shop below the Louvre museum. There is a department store in Switzerland with an area called the Japanese corner devoted entirely to the sale of such items, in the basement of that building a grocery store sells sashimi(raw cuts of fish) and sushi. In Seattle it seems that Teriyaki is very becoming popular.
Therefore it seems safe to say that across Europe and America there is a high level of interest in Kanji. There especially seems to be no lack of those who would like to write their own name in Kanji. Near many popular tourist sights in Spain and France Chinese entrapeneurs had booths set up offering to write peoples' names in Kanji for a fee, and in Austria I was met with similar requests to write people's names in Kanji.
This website was started off by a strong desire to present those admirers of Japanese with cool and "correct" Kanji and Kana(additional components of written Japanese).
We would like to help you create your new identity through a range of goods bearing your name in Kanji and or Kana. Through this website we promise you the chance to get a feel for both Japanese and Asian culture and become a real Kanji freak.
The Impact of English on Japanese Culture
Years ago when I was a college student I was asked a question by a foreign student from Australia. "Why is there so much English on Japanese product packaging? Why isn't it written in Japanese?" In fact to many people across the world apparent Japanese overuse of the alphabet seems odd. The Australian student pointed out that there is tons of Japanese packaging that uses the alphabet. For example, on a cassette tape recorder instead of "" (Saisei, Japanese for play) the English word "Play" appears.
During the latter half of the 19th Century after the Meiji renovation, Japan began a fast paced process of Europeanization and the culture of the western world became more and more apparent in everyday Japanese life. The remains of that trend are still very apparent in modern day Japan and many Japanese see Kanji and Kana written on product packaging as "un-cool".
Most designers try to use the Alphabet as much as possible. On the other hand there are many western people who have an appreciation for Japanese culture and it seems that in some cases western cultures actually have more interest in the culture of Japan than do many Japanese.
Soon the World Cup soccer championship will be underway.
During this event the culture of Japan will be on display and Japan will have a chance to re-evaluate its culture. We hope to be the website that properly presents cool Japanese culture, introducing and familiarizing the world with Japan.
Let's toast (Kampai) to our culture!
Come to know the correct culture of your own country and take pride.
Understand the culture of other countries and meet them with respect.
That is the main point of this website.
Let's toast to our great culture, KAMPAI!
Kappe Inc. CEO