East Asia’s Influence in America is Rising Exponentially
By: Jacob Yang
East Asia’s culture has widely influenced and impacted the United States. Over two centuries, the three powerhouses of East Asia: China, Japan, and South Korea, has drastically changed American tradition by bringing their own through immigration. Just above 2%, or 6.8 million people, of the entire United States, is from those three countries, so it is no surprise that America has been changed by them. East Asian culture has molded Western culture primarily through three things: Anime (Japanese TV show), cuisine, and music.
Anime’s influence over America has grown exponentially. A study conducted by Grand View Research found that the Anime industry has seen its 7th consecutive year of growth this past year and still continues to expand. It attracts fans of all ages, leaving an indelible mark on American culture. For example, Hulu boasts nearly 400 Anime titles out of their 1600 diverse library of TV shows to stream. In addition, in IMDb’s top 100 rated movies and shows, 10% are considered Anime. The Anime “Naruto” was rated the #1 TV show of the decade in North America, according to popular Anime streaming platform, Crunchyroll. The industry is growing in popularity in America because anime appeals to diverse audiences. Anime surpasses the boundaries of the logical world with unique characters and stories. Although these shows can be silly and fun, they can also be deep and portray life lessons that can be used in the real world.
East Asian Cuisine has also gained popularity in America. This manifests itself both through the food Americans eat as well as the culture around the food. In 2015, General Tso's Chicken was the 4th most popular food ordered on GrubHub, according to the University of South Carolina in March 2020. This is because Asian dishes tend to be lighter and healthier than other types of cuisine and appeal to many customers, according to Asian Nation in 2022. Recently, Unicode Consortium, the non-profit that controls the emojis on your keyboard, added illustrations of a dumpling, Chinese takeout box, fortune cookies, chopsticks, and boba tea. Ultimately, this points to how Asian food has not only permeated the taste preferences of Americans but continues to be included in western culture.
Beyond TV and food, however, in the past few decades, a new form of East Asian music, called Korean pop or K-pop, has spread through America. Spotify reported in February 2019 that K-pop’s share of listening has grown about 655% annually since 2015. From 2017 to 2019, K-pop consumption doubled, and during that time, more Korean artists than ever began touring the United States. According to Vivid Seats, there was a 1,700% increase in demand for K-pop concert tickets from 2015 to 2019. Even though many of K-pop’s lyrics are in Korean, American listeners still enjoy the music for the catchy tunes and polished choreography. This cultural phenomenon not only applies to personal listening, but has become a shared group experience amongst fans.