Japanophobia is a fear of anything Japanese. Those who have japanophobia are typically fearful of Japanese culture, Japanese people, and withhold many anti-Japanese sentiments. This phobia should not get confused with japanophilia, which is a deep appreciation or love for Japanese culture.
Japanophobia is also called Nipponophobia, as well as Anti-Japanism. Japanophobia is an irrational fear of Japanese culture and people which is out of touch with reality. Phobias such as these, which includes a prejudiced bias against people merely due to their race or country of origin are typically not diagnosed. This is mainly due to their convictions of ethnocentrism.
Japanophobia, unlike many other phobias such as cynophobia (fear of dogs) or achlophobia (fear of the dark) are much less likely to get sympathy or compassion from other people due to the sheer racist contentions that japanophobia evokes.
The person suffering from japanophobia may or may not realize that their fear is irrational. This can pose a serious problem, as they may not desire to seek treatment, thus exacerbating their condition.
Symptoms of Japanophobia
People who have Japanophobia have a very difficult time being around people who are Japanese or even speaking of them. When thoughts of this culture seeps into their mind, they are quickly left feeling irrationally emotional about it (i.e. very angry, anxious, worried, etc.). Someone suffering from japanophobia may get very tense and perspire around Japanese people, they may discredit the accomplishments of Japanese people, and they may also feel as though they are “sub-human.”
Deep hatred or fear of Japanese people
Fear of Japanese culture
Anxiousness/nervousness when around Japanese people
Feelings that you’re better than Japanese people (ethnocentrism)
Going out of your way to be rude or to harm Japanese people
Disgust of anything Japanese without any rational justification
Causes of Japanophobia
There is no known cause of japanophobia. However, one’s environment and genetics are likely to play crucial roles in the development of this mental illness. Like many types of phobias, they tend to develop early on in one’s life as opposed to later (30’s+). However, japanophobia may be an exception to this norm. This is mainly due to the effects that World War 2 had on many other cultures, such as in the US.
Growing up in an environment where the people around you acted japanophobic or anti-japan by saying slurs with bad intent and reinforcing the irrational fears surrounded with this illness may be enough to alter a young child’s mind to develop japanophobia themselves. Once a child or young adult develops a hatred for a particular group or race of people, it can be extremely difficult for them to change their views.
Besides one’s environment, genetics also plays a crucial role in someone developing mental illness. If someone is predisposed genetically to develop mental illness, all it may take for someone to make that happen is a traumatic event or ongoing information (i.e. propaganda) about a particular subject. This may be one way of how japanophobia can be developed in the mind of a young child or young adult.
Anti-Japanese Sentiment in World War 2
The most profound cause of Japanophobia outside of Asia had its beginning during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is what evoked the United States into getting involved in World War 2. The fear of Japanese people grew quickly after this event and much anti-Japanese propaganda began to be heavily produced in the US. The growing distrust of Japanese people during these times were not only expressed as general opinion or discriminatory treatment, but it also infiltrated American culture as well.
The attack on Pearl Harbor soon led to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the US. On the 2nd day after the Nagasaki bomb was dropped, US president Truman stated: “The only language they (Japanese) seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true”. Japanophobia was greatly heightened as a result of World War 2 and its impact can still be felt to this present day. 
Anti-Japanese Sentiment in Other Cultures
Japanophobia can be felt throughout much of China. Negotiated treaties with Japan during the end of the Qing Dynasty which often led to the annexation of China’s land, only exacerbated China’s distrust for Japan. Today, much of the tensions between China and Japan is due to Second Sino-Japanese War, from July 7th, 1937, to September 2nd, 1945, which involved the two countries.
In China, there are some places where children are taught from elementary school about Japanese war crimes. Such conditioning is a huge factor as to why many young people in China end up with japanophobia. From their elementary schools, thousands of young children are brought to what is called the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, China. Here, children get to see photos and other records of unethical Japanese behavior during those times.
In Australia, the White Australia policy was somewhat inspired by the concerns of the large numbers of Asian immigrants who were allowed into the country in the late 19th century. Many Australians at the time developed japanophobia due to fears that their economy and lifestyle would be threatened by the influx of Asian immigrants into the country.
In 1905, the Russo-Japanese War greatly influenced japanophobia in Russia. Once Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan on August 15th, Russia decided to release nearly 600,000 Japanese prisoners of war. However, thousands of them died in Soviet captivity. 
Japanophobia Treatments (abridged)
Getting treated for japanophobia can be quite challenging, mainly due to the fact that most people who have this illness don’t seek out treatment in the first place. People who withhold intensely hateful or fearful emotions about another race or country are very difficult to treat due to many of them believing that they are superior or in some way better than that what they fear.
However, talk therapy may be able to help treat japanophobia. There are no known medications that are prescribed to treat japanophobia. However, those suffering from this illness may also suffer from other mental disorders as well, such as narcissistic personality disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. So, they may get treated for those disorders, which may also help to reduce their symptoms of japanophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Japanophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like japanophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with japanophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with japanophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with japanophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your japanophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Yoga for Japanophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from japanophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with japanophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with japanophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with japanophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of japanophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Japanophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with japanophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with japanophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with japanophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with japanophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Japanophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from japanophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with japanophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of japanophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Exposure Therapy for Japanophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as japanophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with japanophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with japanophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their japanophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with japanophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Reducing Caffeine for Japanophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with japanophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with japanophobia.
Psychiatric Drugs for Japanophobia
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as japanophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of japanophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of japanophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe japanophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their japanophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
Exercise for Japanophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including japanophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of japanophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of japanophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with japanophobia over time.
Meditation for Japanophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from japanophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from japanophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with japanophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of japanophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with japanophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
1) “Anti-Japanese sentiment.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Japanese_sentiment