Foreign Culture Fetish

Some folks have an uncritical admiration for all aspects (not just one medium) of a foreign culture. Often they're only enamored of The Theme Park Version of the given culture, purposefully ignoring all negative points.

This can lead at times to Hype Backlash against, well, an entire country. Also often leads to Pretty Fly for a White Guy on the part of the fan. Common targets include Japan (mostly on the internet), France (among the intellectuals) and America (in many countries). In real life this phenomenon is called xenophilia, which is a whole other trope in fiction, usually. Often accompanied by Cultural Cringe.

No Real Life Examples on the personal level, please. Cultural or country level examples are fine.

A sub-trope of Cultural Rebel. Compare Pretty Fly for a White Guy, Germans Love David Hasselhoff, and Occidental Otaku. Contrast Creator Provincialism and Cultural Posturing. See also Race Fetish, where this sort of thing gets a bit more...personal. Not to be confused with Foreign Fanservice.

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    Comic Books 
  • In Lucifer, the demons developed a vogue for 18th-19th century England (can't remember the period exactly) and were extremely pleased to have a soul from that era teach them how to best immerse themselves in it.
    • It's implied that this obsessing over other cultures is pretty much all that the high ranking demons do anymore.
      • Presumably the artistic community in Hell is profoundly lacking. Which is ironic.
  • The Gaulic chief Aplusbégalix (Cassius Ceramix in English) from Astérix has this for the Roman empire. Even if it makes no sense. "We'll build an aqueduct even if we don't need one, because it's ROMAN!"
    • Also note how everything in his home is a cobbled mix of Roman and barbarian elements.
    • The same comic starts with a panel where a young Gaulic man gets his hair cut Roman style, while an older, long-haired Gaul looks on disapprovingly. Just like an old square from The Fifties or The '60s would when meeting a hippie (alternatively, a member of La Résistance seeing a collaborator).

    Film 
  • The character John Connor spends a good deal of the film Rising Sun pontificating about how noble Japanese culture is.
    • Which is rather amusing considering that the rather Anvilicious Word of God (according to the literal Author Tract at the end of the book) is that Americans should beware Japan's rising power (remember this was written before their economic bubble burst).
  • Rob Lowe's character in Thank You For Smoking loves Japanese decorations; he has a koi pond, a rock garden, Japanese art, and wears a kimono in his off-time.
  • Leroy Green in The Last Dragon is an African-American man who displays a whole lot more interest in Asian culture than just learning Kung Fu.
  • Django Unchained has Candie, who has one for the French. Strangely, it only extends to being called Monsieur Candie and naming a slave after a character from The Three Musketeers, he can't speak or understand French. When Schultz has to tell him that Alexandre Dumas was black (by the standards back then, having a black grandfather was enough), he doesn't take it well.
  • In Another Time, Another Place, Janie falls in the love with the new and exciting culture that the Italian POWs bring to her austere village.

    Literature 
  • In the historical novel A Gathering of Days, the main character doesn't want to call her stepmother Ann "Mother", so she settles on "Mamann". The stepmother approves, saying something like "we can say it is after the French, and therefore the height of fashion."

     Live Action TV 
  • Curzon and Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were both enamored of Klingon culture- Curzon is a legend among Klingons and Jadzia married Worf and joined the House of Martok. Ezri Dax, the next incarnation, was less fond of Klingon culture (she retches at the sight of gagh), and had a much more critical eye if the Empire, pointing out the vast amounts of hypocrisy and corruption among a people that claimed to be "honorable".
  • Mad Men's Bert Cooper is very much the Orientalist. That is, the old-school version of the Japanese culture fetish; he has shōji partitions and has ukiyo-e prints (including The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife) in his office (which he makes people remove their shoes before entering).
  • Georg from Naeturvaktin admires anything to do with Sweden and Swedish culture. A new employee from Sweden is one of the few people in the entire series he treats pleasantly or respectfully.
  • Jeremy Jamm, the resident Jerkass on Parks and Recreation, loves what he calls "Chinese crap", i.e. random things from every East Asian culture put together with no awareness of what they are.
  • 'Doctor Who'':
    • The Doctor appears to have a massive thing about 19th/20th Century English culture, always using a British accent of some kind (generally Received Pronunciation but ' he's been Scottish, Cockney, Manc and posh-Scouse in some incarnations) and usually dressing in a combination of 19th/early 20th and late 20th fashion ('70s Hair and knitwear over Oscar Wilde Victorian clothes! A 1940s leather jacket over a modern jumper and black jeans! A 1920s-style suit with a Hipster influence! A Nineties-style suit with a 1930s trenchcoat!). He always seems to hang around this era and place, and praises it a lot. Both the Fifth and Eighth Doctor have referred to themselves as either almost-English or honorary-English. Susan displays one too, getting very excited about whatever pop music is in the charts, and mentioning a lot how being in 20th Century England has been the best time in her life.
    • According to Susan, the First Doctor has a massive thing about The French Revolution, and says it is his favourite period in history. The Doctor takes great pleasure in this story indulging in a bit of Cosplay and roleplaying as locals rather than just being blatantly anachronistic as usual. The Tenth Doctor also inhereted this trait, having a bit of a fetish for anything French.
    • The English develop a fetish for Dalek culture in the audio story "Jubilee". Since Daleks are A Nazi by Any Other Name, this is extremely problematic.
    • The Third Doctor seems to particularly like Venusian culture; a master of Venusian lullabies, Venusian hopscotch and Venusian aikido.

    Theatre 
  • In the first Gilbert and Sullivan operas:
    • The Mikado: "There's the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone/All centuries but this and ev'ry countrie but his own"
    • Patience: "I do not long for all one sees/That's Japanese."

    Visual Novels 
  • In Strawberry Vinegar, Licia's mother loves Japan, to the point where she cosplays around the house and has a bonsai tree in their garden.
    Licia: It keeps dying, though, since the air in Hell is filled with sulfur.
  • Kinzo Ushiromiya from Umineko: When They Cry has a fetish for western cultures in general (though he seems to like Italy and Germany in particular), being obsessed with the western occult, building himself a western-style mansion to live in and giving his children and grandchildren western names transliterated from kanji. His flashback in EP 7 shows that he was fond of foreign literature as well.

     Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Mentioned at one point in Something*Positive (other than the whole "smite the catgirls" thing) by one of the characters after she scared off some guy with a Calling Your Attacks moment: she says adding "Ancient Secret Chinese technique" will scare opponents off much more effectively, adding "White people are so much fun" or words to that effect.
    • Likewise, there's a strip where PeeJee and Aubrey (both Asian) mock Gwen Stefani's pop adoption of Japanese memetics, complete with having four "Harajuku girls" who follow her around and aren't ever referred to by their real names. PeeJee suggests the girls are likely "tutoring" Stefani in Japanese — "Seeing a withered little pop star trying to order sushi in Japanese and instead telling the waiter about her intense venereal disease would be better than any Christmas bonus I've ever received."

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Empowered Badass Normal Visionary Villain Zaheer's fascination with Air Nomad culture has led part of the fandom to label him a "weeablew."
    • The Air Acolytes are Non-benders who took up the Air Nomad culture under the leadership of Avatar Aang. A few of them appear to worship the ground that Tenzin and his family walk on. After Harmonic Convergence happened, at least one of them became an actual air-bender. Lets just say that he was extremely enthusiastic about it.

    Real Life 
  • Modern Speculative Fiction sometimes replaces Japan with China as the superior world power, but Westerners aren't as quick to fetishize Chinese culture (with the notable exception of Joss Whedon and Firefly fans), following at least a century of Yellow Peril and Red Scare stereotyping of China as an Evil Empire.
    • A possible reason for this is that, while their histories have had their ups and downs, the United States has a very long record for fetishing the Japanese instead of the Chinese. So it probably always came much more natural otherwise.
    • A Cyclic Trope as well, as many older people particularly in the American South have long viewed traditional Chinese art and cultural artifacts as signs of wealth and culture, a tradition with roots in the antebellum era.
  • Ancient Romans were heavily influenced by Greek culture starting around the 3rd century BC, to the point of hijacking Classical Mythology entirely. Oddly enough, until the 1st century BC, any Roman publicly admitting to being interested in Greek culture was considered abnormal. Even Hadrian (2nd century AD) was made fun of for being a bit too Greek (his nickname was Graeculus, little Greek). Meaning that while there was a clear Greek influence, no Roman would be caught dead admitting it.
    • The Romans and the Chinese never quite met, but they were vaguely aware of each other due to Silk Road intermediaries and had very positive impressions of each other. Chinese silk was so huge in the Roman Empire that the Roman name for China was "Seres", meaning "the place where silk comes from", and what little they knew of China they liked. The Chinese, for their part, considered Rome a rough Western equivalent of China, calling it Daqin, meaning Great China, and particularly loved Roman glass beads.
  • The examples mentioned in Astérix above are quite historically accurate, as they were in many other areas the Romans conquered.
  • Rome had many admirers in the Ancient world for its organization and efficiency in administration, war and law including Greeks like Strabo and Polybius. So much so that the people of the East still clung to their identity as Romans after the fall of the original Latin part of the Empire.
  • The Greeks themselves had a thing for Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia , borrowing their math, science, philosophy, religion, writing and some customs. Of these, probably the most significant is the Athenian City Dionysia—a state-supported festival involving plays, music, and wine for everyone—which was probably inspired by a similar Egyptian festival dedicated to Osiris (both Dionysos and Osiris were fertility/agriculture-related gods dismembered, reassembled, and brought back to life). The Egyptian festival featured a reenactment of the Osiris dismemberment myth, and probably the first plays at the Dionysia were tellings of the equivalent tale of Dionysos; Dionysos was also associated with goats, and this story, according to Aristotle, was called tragōidia—"Song of the he-goat"—from which we get "Tragedy". Both festivals also involved participants waggling sculpted phalluses in commemoration of the dismemberment (Osiris' member was replaced by a wooden one, as a fish ate it; Dionysos was of course a fertility god and also "the party god," so the association with phalluses came naturally).
    • The Greeks loved Egypt so much that eventually the Pharaoh set aside a city-sized chunk of land for them to build the colony of Naucratis on.
    • Egypt itself was seized by Alexander and became Greek as time went on. It remained one of the bastion of Hellenism for centuries and its capital (one of the numerous Alexandrias, the only one that really endured under the namenote ) was a beacon of civilization.
  • The Japanese adapted many of their cultural traits from the Chinese, most notably their writing systems (kanji literally means "Chinese characters") and Chinese Buddhism, which was fused together with the indigenous Shinto religion.
    • Love of Japanese culture is oft mocked on the internet as "Weeabooism", from a Memetic Mutation borne of The Perry Bible Fellowship comics and an Imageboard word filter for "Japanophile." And it doesn't just refer to particularly obsessive anime fans ("Occidental Otaku"). Not even the ones who own a few too many katanas. "Weeaboo" means a special brand of obsessive, crazy idiot who believes everything Japanese is superior, and wants to move to Japan and become a video game programmer/anime producer/manga artist/ninja/other hilariously improbable career. Enough of them actually accomplish the moving to Japan part, where their dreams are invariably crushed, to the point where the Japanese themselves have developed a stereotype about them...
  • Quite a lot of Japanese also have this for America and Britain, you will find gratuitous English of varying coherence on many things, sometimes to the point where its used with no knowledge of meaning, makes one wonder why people bash weeaboos when many in Japan are just the same with English.
    • They also borrowed a lot of political ideas from Germany and Prussia, as they were the dominant power when Japan was modernising — this is why their parliament is still called the Diet.
    • During the Meiji period the government encouraged adoption of parts of Western culture/society and technology in hopes of "catching up" to the Western powers, both economically and militarily (to some factions, as a means to an end — being able to kick out the Westerners). However, while the government had a somewhat set idea for how to go about this — "Western technology, Japanese Spirit" was the motto — some civilians and government/military officers alike would end up favoring particular, unintended aspects of the countries they went to or heard about.
    • Turns out Japanese are also capable of having their dreams shattered... in Paris.
    • The Japanese may have a fascination for some aspects of French culture, such as food, fashion, and aesthetics. They often dump Gratuitous French over the fronts of their stores. The actual French people find it hilarious, so much that they created a blog about it : http://lefranponais.fr/
    • Lolita fashion draws inspiration from the Victorian era Europe.
      • Lolita itself is often considered to be a Japanese concept in modern times. This is despite the origin of the word being a book written by a Russian in English and first published in France; Lolita itself was originally a diminutive of Dolores, like Lola.
  • Before modern times, Koreans were fond of all things China to the point of calling itself the "Small Middle Kingdom" compared to the Middle Kingdom that is China. These affections were generally only reserved for the Dynasties founded by Han Chinese, and the Conquest Dynasties like Yuan and Qing were viewed with contempt and accusations of savagery, which after some century of assimilation turned into a form of respect.
    • Modern day Koreans have a thing for the United States, and a lot of them wish to visit the country and enjoy it's culture.
  • During The High Middle Ages, and again during the Grand Siècle (i.e. the 17th century) there was a French fashion, in which all true courtliness was done according to the manner of the French court and, if possible, in the French language.
    • Where Britain and The High Middle Ages are concerned, it might be slightly related to the fact that the entirety of the British nobility and upper-class was ethnically and culturally French. For other reasons (mainly being the most constituted nation of the bunch), same effects were experienced in Northern Spain, Northern Italy and Western Germany (notwithstanding that the whole West of the Holy Roman Empire was made of modern Eastern France at that time).
  • In the 18th century, there was a Turkish fad (some of you may remember it from Amadeus).
  • The Renaissance went through a Greco-Roman fad, various facets of which repeated throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Notable instances include the Augustan fad of the 1730-1770 period, the Neoclassicism of the 1820s, and the Greek Revival of the 1880s. Romanticism began as a sort of Hype Backlash against the Augustan period.
    • Giambattista Vico in his The New Science and more recently, German philosopher Oswald Spengler stated that westerners essentially have this trope for the classical Greco-Roman civilization, which is more different from us than many of us think. Our theater actors don't wear buskins and masks, and there's usually no chorus either, Deus ex Machina looks too much like Ass Pull to us, and our countries aren't governed by two consuls sharing the power, and there aren't annual elections for them either. Vico also pointed out that Ancient Romans had a moral system entirely alien to modern society (i.e. of the 1700s) and that the institutions founded by the Romans should be seen in context rather than copied wholesale to the present.
    • British statesman Lord Chesterfield mentioned this in his Letters to His Son: "I was not without thoughts of wearing the 'toga virilis' of the Romans, instead of the vulgar and illiberal dress of the moderns" (letter 149)
    • You'll notice The American Revolution took place during this time. Several of America's Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, were fond of The Roman Republic. Note how the upper house of the U.S. Congress and of the states' legislatures are called "the Senate" and then there's the abundance of Greco-Roman architecture in Washington, D.C. and the state capitals. Also, part of the reason the bald eagle was chosen as the new country's symbol was apparently because the Romans had a thing about eagles. However, the Founding Fathers were not fond of The Roman Empire and hoped that enough checks and balances would prevent the United States from emulating Rome's eventual slide into dictatorship.
    • The French Revolution was quite fascinated by Ancient Rome as well, especially the Republican era. They also liked Sparta and Athens as a whole. Brutus, both the founder of the republic and his notorious descendant, were regarded as heroes and during Dechristianization, men were given names like Gracchus or Spartacus. A lot of the revolutionary costumes, most famously the Red Phrygian cap of the sans-culottes and other accessories was part of the classical revival as were some of the more revealing female fashion trends, the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses, during the Directory Period of France. One of the manifestations of this "classical revival" was the renaming of most "daughter-republics", i. e. the republics founded in territories occupied by the French armies, using geographic names from Roman times.note 
    • There's an old czarist tradition whereby Moscow is claimed as "the third Rome". The idea is that the center of the Christian church began in Rome and (if you're an Eastern Orthodox believer) moved to Constantinople ("the second Rome"). Then, after Constantinople fell to the Muslim Turks, the Eastern Orthodox Church moved its headquarters to Moscow ("the third Rome"). Thus, Russia claims itself as the spiritual successor to the Roman Empire by way of the Byzantine Empire, which was justified as their imperial family has ties to the Byzantine ones. Obviously, this idea was out of favor under the atheistic Soviet Union, but it's seen a resurgence in Putin's Russia and has become a big part of Russian nationalist rhetoric.
    • It's very common for Western powers to start viewing themselves as modern-day Roman Emperires. Napoleon Bonaparte saw his empire as a recreation of the Roman Empire and copied its symbols (such as the Eagle standard) for his armies. Adolf Hitler got the Nazi salute from the Roman salute. Plus, in Hitler's view of history, the "First Reich" was the Holy Roman Empire, which unsurprisingly claimed itself as a new version of the regular Roman Empire.
  • There was a Scottish fad in Victorian England for a while (c. 1870-1880).
  • After Napoleon's Battle of the Nile, there was an Egyptian fad, which was repeated in the 1920s after the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Napoleon's invasion led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone which was later deciphered by the French Egyptologist Champollion. French interest in Egypt eventually led to an Obelisk from Luxor being purchased by the French government and then placed at the Place de la Concorde.
  • Around late 1700s to the 1850s there was also a massive craze in Europe for Chinese-style (Chinoiserie) art and especially porcelain.
  • Dano-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg (18th century Denmark) nailed the trope in a little poem, roughly translated like this:
    A man who wished to show he was learned
  • Ludwig II of Bavaria had a thing for pre-Revolution era France.
    • Ludwig's grandfather, Ludwig I, had a thing for Ancient Greece, which is why the German spelling of "Bavaria" was changed from Baiern to Bayern.
  • Her son, Russian Emperor Pavel, was a great admirer of Prussia, just like his (probablynote ) father Peter III, to the point of returning to Prussia all the lands conquered by his mother. This definitely didn't endear him to his population and especially his courtiers, especially given what a jerk he was about it, and directly led to his assassination a couple years later.
  • The USSR and the Soviet Union had a huge vogue in the 20s and 30s, and retained considerable prestige even in the 40s and 50s among several intellectuals in the Anglo-American world. The communists were also widely respected in the "Third World" until the 80s. This was related chiefly to the great intellectual respect commanded by Lenin, the creative explosion of Soviet Art in the 1920s (chiefly Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin), the memory of the Red Army's importance in winning the World War II and the launch of Sputnik.
    • African-American Communist Paul Robeson, in post WWII US, firmly believed everything was better in the USSR, including the treatment of minorities. Destalinization was a big blow to his reputation and prestige though he remained widely admired by the African-American community who, understandably, were far less partisan on the Cold War debate. Communism was in theory an anti-racist and anti-colonialist ideology, since it argued that class was the true root of all bigotry, and Stalin occassionally exploited this to score propaganda points note 
    • Ironically by the time of the 50s and 60s, the USSR itself had lost considerable prestige among former allies. The Cubans, namely Che Guevara felt that the Soviet Union was backsliding and becoming too comfortable for its own good. Destalinization alienated Mao Zedong in China, while the Vietnamese always saw their Communism as rooted in local and nationalistic interest rather than the international vision of the Soviets. By the time of The '60s, Western intellectuals were more interested in Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh than Kruschev and other internal struggles. In France, during May'68, a number of young French leftists became fond of Mao and glorified the Cultural Revolution, much to their later regret.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche was very fond of French, Russian, and Classical Greek cultures, and considered them superior to his own German culture and based a fair amount of his philosophy on this. Towards the end of his (sane) life, he began to emphasize his Polish roots, to the point where he would sometimes deny that he was German at all and insist that he was entirely Polish. (As Poles were second-class citizens in Imperial Germany, he may have just been trying to annoy people.)
    • Rather tragic Misaimed Fandom aside, he also had a deep appreciation for European Jewish philosophy and traditions though he likely would have balked at calling them a foreign culture.
  • Quite a few Estonians liked German culture in the late 19th century and tried to imitate it. They were called Juniper Germans (Kadakasakslased). This led to some odd things, like the Kalevipoeg—the Estonian national epic—being written by a fellow named Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald.
    • Similarly, north from Estonia, Finland also fell in love with Germany during the early stages of Finnish nationalism, to the point that the newly independent Finland was supposed to become a monarchy, with a German prince as the new king. The end of the First World War cut those plans short. This allegiance to Germany came back to play in the Second World War.
  • The British have had their own history of fads:
    • There's always been a love-hate relationship between England and France. Between the Norman Conquest and The Hundred Years War, every English King spoke French as a first language and in court. Indeed the 100 Years War broke out because the English felt that their claim to the French throne was being denied by French snobbishness (True). French writers and philosophers such as Montaigne, Descartes, Rousseau, Voltaire right until Sartre in the 20th Century were highly influential on English writers and intellectuals and the English likewise tried to keep up with French fashion and trends.
    • During The Renaissance and the Romantic movement, the English had a huge crush on Italian culture, ancient and early-modern. Italian poets like Petrarch were translated into English by courtiers and the Petrarchan sonnet form greatly inspired the Elizabethan Golden Age. Many plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Webster were set in Italianate settings because the English public saw them as exotic and civilized. Latin writers like Seneca, Virgil and Ovid also inspired many dramatists of this generation, while Italian intellectuals like Giordano Bruno and Niccolò Machiavelli were highly influential. During the Romantic movement, the likes of Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and John Keats spent years in Italy and Rome (both Keats and Shelley died in Italy) with their poetry having heavy Nostalgia Filter for both the Roman and Renaissance eras.
    • During the Romantic era, the English public developed a fad for "regional" cultures such as Wales and Scotland, which was exploited by writers Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Historically this was still a raw period when Scotland only recently incorporated itself into Great Britian, and the memories of the Jacobite Rebellion were still fresh, so one can see this as a form of assimilation. It was during this time traditions about Scotland were "invented" (in historian Eric Hobsbawm's phrase) such as "tartan pattern" and the like. Walter Scott famously called Scotland "A costume and not a people" and essentially propagated all kinds of invented Scottish traditions that defined it in the imagination of English and European audiences. Ireland which refused to assimilate itself to Great Britain became a fad in the early 20th Century, thanks to its own writers: James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Flann O'Brien and many others.
    • As a result of colonialism, the English developed fads for the cultures of conquered lands, whether in India, Egypt, Africa and Australia. Tropes like Mighty Whitey, the Great White Hunter and Adventure Archaeologist date from the fiction of this era, chiefly the works of Rudyard Kipling and H. Rider Haggard. Later writers like Joseph Conrad and E. M. Forster would deal with the same tropes in a more critical and darker light.
    • In Victorian Britain, German romanticism was highly popular. The works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, as well as the music of Beethoven and Mozart were hugely popular and influential. Towards the late Victorian and early Edwardian period, the English literati and reading public also became fascinated by Russian literature and several authors like Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov and Alexander Pushkin became highly popular and influential.
    • American culture was initially more popular in the Continent than within Britain. Even Charles Dickens who was highly popular in America, got mileage out of making fun of American culture and society in his novel Martin Chuzzlewit and his American Notes. It was only at the end of the Victorian Age, thanks to the popularity of Walt Whitman (more liked in England than in America in this time), Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, that the English finally admitted that they liked America after all. Even today, British people, even those critical of its politics, love America and couldn't live without the culture. The British Invasion was inspired by American rock and roll and Blues Music, and the Comics invasion of the 80s (Alan Moore and Co.) was also inspired by their love of American comicsnote 
  • The United States being a large Melting Pot has had a history of interest with all kinds of different European and Asian cultures.
    • The USA has its Anglophiles. Generally, they love British accents, The British Royal Family, and often focus on the Britain of an earlier time (usually, Victorian Britain through to World War II or so). Downton Abbey is pretty much perfect for them, likewise Harry Potter and other fantasy fiction, and Steampunk is highly popular among milennials. Walt Disney is said to have been an Anglophile, which possibly explains why so many Walt-era Disney films are set in Britain and/or adapted from classic British literature.
    • Until the Iraq War and even earlier, America used to be big Francophiles. One can trace this as far back as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson's time as ambassadors in Paris, but in the early 20th Century, American writers, jazz musicians (white and black) would often go to Paris. This led to the Lost Generation glorified by Ernest Hemingway. French stars like Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier and Yves Montand were highly popular in America, as was later Brigitte Bardot. Many MGM musicals like An American in Paris and Gigi are set in Paris. Among college intellectuals, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus were all the rage, likewise the New Hollywood was described by its film-makers as the Trans Atlantic Equivalent of the French New Wave.
    • The United States has always been fascinated by Asia, especially the Far East of China and Japan. The USA of course played a major role in Japan's history, via the arrival of Commodore Perry's "black ships" and aspects of Japanese culture and its movies were constantly invoked, sometimes malignly, but sometimes benignly as well. In the case of China, Americans naturally confuse different eras of China, and China with Taiwan and Hong Kong, but Kung Fu, Chinese Food (or the local version thereof) and aspects of Chinese fashion and culture remain common reference points for America.
  • As of late, Korea is getting more spotlight previously dominated by it's neighbors, although to a lesser extent.
  • Australia had (has) a very strong Anglophile streak, lessening in the 1970s to be replaced by America, though that's more of a conflicted fandom.
  • Oh, and way back in the 70s, everything American was sooo hip in Europe.
  • Hungary had a hard on for anything that's not Russian while the Iron Curtain was up. Then, after 1989 the foreign stuff started pouring in, and throughout The '90s people were going crazy for literally anything that came from west of the border. This eventually led to the development of an ultra-nationalistic cultural (and political) movement around the turn of the millennium.
    • This is typical of most post-East Bloc countries in general, but Hungary's case is somewhat special in that under the so-called "goulash communism" instated in the 1960s, the Hungarian economy was the most open to the West within the Bloc (which isn't saying much; even Yugoslavia—which had a similar economic system necessitating some trade controls but was neutral in the Cold War and thus not part of the Eastern Bloc—saw far more trade with the West than Hungary).
  • A very touchy example was the glorification of all things Africa by black Americans (mostly in the early- to mid-nineties), most of whom are not seen as "fellow Africans" by people currently living on that continent, but are rather viewed as simply Americans with darker skin color.
    • Especially odd was the use of Swahili by such groups, when it is an East African language that none of the West African slaves would have understood or even heard of. They actually spoke a wide variety of tongues — Fon, Wolof, Yoruba, Ibo, Fula, etc., but virtually none would have spoken Swahili.
  • This trope also tends to occur whenever white people dare to turn a popular aspect of black culture into something Totally Radical. Note the amount of rock acts in the early Aughties that tried to marry their genre with rap, or cringe worthy commercials where a "hip grandma" or culturally sensitive college kid would says things like "that's da bomb" or "that's tight" with a straight face.
  • "Eastern" Spirituality in so many of its glorious forms is really a "western" imagination of something deemed excitingly exotic, peaceful and, well, "spiritual", and most of all, full of opportunities to escape one's dull life.
    • It doesn't help that the New Age movement (which is not exclusively Eastern) has gotten so tangled up with what the west considers Eastern mysticism.
    • The mangled "Eastern" Spirituality can be detected in the differing views on reincarnation: Westerners view it as a way to return to the world and have a better new life, whereas Easterners view it as a negative cycle that must be broken.
      • There's a reason for this, as the reincarnation isn't an "Eastern" concept as such: there were a culturally Western faiths with a belief in reincarnation: for example a Pythagorean mysticism, which indeed espoused such views.
    • Additionally, most Westerners who accept Buddhism do so because it fits their atheism/agnosticism and Scientific Rationalism. They tend to strip all the supernatural and ceremonial elements out of Buddhism and declare it a philosophy, or say it's something other than a religion. They view traditional Eastern practice of Buddhism as a perversion of Buddha's message, and that Asian cultures have been doing it all wrong. Go over to the discussion section of the other Wiki's article on Buddhism, and you will see a 5+ year argument over the definition of Buddhism. Those who favor describing it as a religion tend to come from Asian cultures (they even cite their own language's wiki).
    • The website Stuff White People Like notes that the Asian religions liked by Westerners are usually the opposite of what they grew up with and religions that don't have much restrictions (which is why Islam, which is not unlike Christianity in basic doctrine and morals, is not a common religion for Westerners to convert to).
    • Christianity itself is a Middle Eastern religion which caught on with the Romans for, come to think of it, pretty much the same reasons today's Westerners buy into eastern spirituality.
  • Also applies to martial arts.
  • The bizarre Israeli-fetish found in some strains of American Christian fundamentalism, and the appropriation of Jewish symbolism found in some Christian groups. It comes off as both philo-Semitic and antisemitic at the same time. Gets more than a little freaky when you find out a chunk of that fundamentalist population loves Israel because they think the unification of the Holy Land and the rebuilding of the Temple Mount are necessary for Christ to come again... and they don't really seem to care about what happens to the Jews after that.
    • This fetish also makes many of them as rabid as the most extreme right-wing Israelis (with the added bonus of being thousands of miles away from the practical results of their proposed policies) and blithely indifferent to what happens to the Palestinians. The real life complexities of the situation don't really interest them at all; whoever gets in the way of the Holy Land being under complete Israeli control is the enemy of God, to be crushed or swept aside without mercy. In this, they actually agree with the craziest of the crazy of Israel, the ultra-right-wing Religious Zionists, who tend to be Orthodoxnote  Jews as well as far-right wingers politically aiming for the "redemption" of the Land of Israel: it's the same thing, it's just that the Jewish ones are hoping for an unknown Messiah, whereas the Christians think they know who the Messiah is. As a result, said rabid right-wing Israelis consider them very valuable allies.
      • All this, by the way, makes things very confusing for American neo-Nazis. Should they support the left-wing party (which contains more than a few Jews) or the pro-Israel party? The rest of the right doesn't care about their plight, of course, as the neo-Nazi movement is small enough to comfortably ignore.
    • The essentially same happened among the some parts of the Russian far right, who chose to throw away the intense, bitter Antisemitism that was a traditional trait of the movement, and instead come as downright Zionist. This is for somewhat different reason, though, and has mostly to do with a shift of their object of hatred towards Muslims, perception of Israelis' "raghead bashing" prowess, & distaste towards Nazism which did a lot of horrifying things to their nation & homeland.
  • And on the other side the more nutty sympathizers with Palestinian extremists (or Iran, or Israel's main enemy du jour) wear the Kufiya without knowing much of its background and call for "solidarity" with Hamas and other groups that - to say it politely - may not share all of their viewpoints. A Western Atheist calling for "support" or "solidarity" for Hamas one day and decrying homophobia and religious violence the next day may come off a bit strange, but then again Hamas cares just as little about that as the above-mentioned right wing Israelis care about the plans Christian Zionists have after the Messiah comes.
  • There is a small, but obsessive, fanbase for Monaco, and its lavish culture. This can largely be attributed either to the reputation of the casinos of Monte Carlo or the fact that the country's most famous princess was Grace Kelly.
  • Related to both the Monaco and Israeli fandoms is the long-standing fetishization of "Arabia" and the Bedouin culture in American movie making (the adaptation of The Sheik (which starred a Mexican-descent actor as the lord of the burning sands,) and the quasi-historic Lawrence of Arabia as only two examples.) In more recent years, some political factions in the USA have gained a deep affinity for Arab and Muslim culture. This has taken a particular edge in the progressive support for the Palestinian side in the on-going conflict - a support that glosses over the significant differences between progressive & fundamentalist Palestinian approaches to homosexuality, women's liberation, and to a lesser degree protection of religious minorities and religious freedomnote  among other issues. A closer correspondence to the Monaco fanbase is the new but increasing fanbase for Dubai, with its glittering towers and extreme opulence...based on a lot of exploitation of immigrants and truly abysmal human rights record, plus the glittering towers are Conspicuous Consumption writ large at best and at worst surprisingly tacky, and the whole thing is built on an economic model whose sustainability is subject to serious doubt, but world's tallest building, everyone!
  • France has a whole has a history of fetishizes and fads, befitting the historical centre of fashion and trends:
    • During The Enlightenment, French intellectuals greatly admired England and later the United States of America for its political liberalism and scientific accomplishment. English words like "club" and "jockey" were imported wholesale to describe the emerging "Jacobin Club". When the Revolution broke out, and war with England was declared, this cooled considerably, especially later when Napoleon Bonaparte, who did like English culture, declared a blockade on English goods.
    • Voltaire believed in a "benevolent despot" system after visiting Prussia and becoming pen pals with Catherine the Great, though he later expressed skepticism in private. His ideal government and favorite culture was England and it's politically liberal tradition as well as the tradition of English satire of Pope and Swift which greatly inspired his own works. He greatly admired English scientists such as Isaac Newton for whom he was such an Hero-Worshipper that he sought to destroy Leibniz's reputation solely to elevate that of his hero. That said, Voltaire hated Shakespeare whose violation of "classical unities" annoyed him greatly. Shakespeare would only be appreciated among Frenchman from Victor Hugo onwards, the latter was one of the first French authors to violate "classical unities" and make that okay to do in France.
    • In the age of Napoleon Bonaparte, anti-Bonaparte exiles like Madame de Stael and Benjamin Constant were among the first to discover German romanticism and write seriously about it. Among Bonapartists, Italy was regarded with a great deal of fetish, aided undoubtedly by Napoleon's art theft of Renaissance painting and sculpture from Italy to the Louvre. Stendhal who served with Napoleon loved Italy so much that when Napoleon lost, he refused to enter France and spent the next ten years in Italy sulking and writing about Italian opera and culture. The famous "Stendhal Syndrome" was coined to describe his overwhelming love for Florence's Renaissance culture and his novel The Charterhouse of Parma is a highly romantic portrayal of Italian culture.
    • France has of course always been fascinated by America. American writers like Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft were for a while more popular in France than the United States, and French literary critics were among the first to take genre writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler seriously. Likewise, Jazz and Blues which were still seen prototypically as The New Rock & Roll in America had a popular and intellectual audience in France. American movies, especially the genre films of westerns, musicals and Film Noir(a french word as it happens) was first given serious attention by the French magazine Cahiers du Cinema who were the first to write seriously on Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks and many others.
    • France has had a cultural obsession with Africa and Africans for going on a century now (it wanes in popularity every few decades and then comes back). Pablo Picasso (who was not French, but lived in France for a good portion of his life) famously represented it in a few of his paintings (many of those distorted faces are actually meant to be African tribal masks). They also greatly admired African-American culture, and Blues and Jazz musicians (such as Josephine Baker) is still a household name. The obsession came about through a combination of French colonialism and an influx of African American expatriates settling in Paris after each of the World Wars.
  • Brazil is a country with a cultural obsession of "mixing" with other nations — it's been a long held belief that Brazil's strength comes not from its racial purity, but from its propensity for mixing with as many races and cultures as possible, thus adopting their best traits into the larger Brazilian culture. There have been waves of cultural obsession, including Japanese, Arab, American, Portuguese, African, German, Italian, etc. At any given time in their history, the Brazilian intelligentsia has been obsessed with some nation's culture.
  • (White) America has had a long standing fascination for Native American, even through their displacement. The Boston Tea Party protesters dressed in buckskins and feathers as a symbol of their American identity. Many of them later joined the Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal organization that still exists today.
    • It's not just whites who are into the fad; the "Mardi Gras Indians" are mostly black.
    • In more modern times, playing "Cowboys and Indians" has been a long time kids favorite.
    • Groups as diverse as people from the military (Mohawk hairstyles for paratroopers during WWII, tomahawks carried by American soldiers in pretty much every armed conflict they've been involved in to the point that it's arguably the US National Weapon) and New age hippies (who seem to believe in the Magical Native American stereotype) seem to love wearing the culture. There's also the recent trend of feather headdresses as fashion accessories, "Indian Girl" tattoos, and "Navajo Print" flasks. This is much more likely to be a random melding of traits from a dozen different cultures spread over the continent than from one specific tribe as well, making it downright confusing to people with actual knowledge.
    • Native American imagery is also a popular source for sports mascots due to the stereotype that Native Americans are tough and savage warriors.
  • The Weeaboo have new hipster cousins: Koreaboos. Love for K-pop and Korean food today is similar to love for all things Japanese in the 1990s.
  • Scandinavia and the Nordic countries get a lot of this. If its not a general fascination with Vikings and such things, it is most probably admiration of the Nordic welfare system. In the 50s and 60s, Swedish movies, especially those of Ingmar Bergman, were highly popular and successful in America and Europe. Music is also important, with some foreign Metalheads in particular, who seem to believe that the famous Black Metal and Death Metal scenes of Norway and Sweden respectively, are totally mainstream and played on pop radio. It isn't so—Remember that although Sweden produced half the forerunners of melodic death metal, it also produced ABBA. And after ABBA Sweden has never ceased being insanely successful at (and obsessed with) the Eurovision Song Contest, which has earned them a lot of admiration and envy.
  • Argentina has had an obsession with France since the 19th Century, starting back in the time when the Argentinean bourgeoisie looked at France as the role model for the country they wanted to create. This becomes particularly clear when visiting Buenos Aires, as the architecture has an intensely French feel to it. Although the francophilia has dwindled through time (never quite dying out), the trend is still strong in the academic environment, mostly in the social sciences and humanities' colleges, which are overwhelmingly focused on French authors. Finally, as in Paris, psychoanalysis still thrives in Buenos Aires, particularly the Lacanian current.
  • Celtic cultures, and particularly the Irish culture, have their numerous admirers, too - be it for the richness of those cultures, their fascinating histories or their La Résistance ways when dealing with the Brits. Just one very telling example: Russia, of all places, has a ton of bands playing celtic(ish) folk music.
  • Nazi Germany has a significant following worldwide amongst white supremacists and anti-Semites. Of course, it's only this trope for the neo-Nazis who aren't German.
    • There's also a weird "Nazi chic" trend in some Asian countries, which is based on the aesthetics of the regime rather than its vile ideology. Hence, there are Nazi-themed weddings in China. Its history goes back a long way. Both China and Japan had close relations with Germany since late 19th century. Nazi Germany was an ally of both Guomindang China and Imperial Japan in 1930s.
    • Nazi Germany and its aesthetic have a huge vogue in some parts of India. Some of this can be traced to Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army's poorly concieved attempt to ally with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in an Enemy Mine against The British Empire. Others mostly see Hitler's pan-Germanic majoritarian ideology as a precedent for right-wing Hindu movements in India. The weird part comes with the Hindutva ideology which took inspiration from both Nazi Germany ''and'' Israeli Zionism.
  • South Korea has a strong Anglophiliac streak, and British TV shows get very high ratings there.
  • As a 1980s mayor of some small town in Vermont points out here, Nicaragua has both a great deal of admiration for the US and its culture and a certain (understandable) disdain for its foreign policy. If you visit Nicaragua today, nothing of this admiration has changed. explanation 


Alternative Title(s): Turning Japanese

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForeignCultureFetish