This article is from the American misconceptions about Japan FAQ, by Tanaka Tomoyuki firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
"Don't be fooled by a cheap Japanese imitation."
--- Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in TV show "Get Smart"
THE TRUTH: imitation of American culture does go on in Japan,
but it's nothing like how American media presents it.
The US media promotes the idea of Japanese copycats
in two ways.
(i) by exaggerating any imitation that goes on.
(ii) by suppressing coverage of anything that suggests Japanese
creativity and originality.
I will give examples of both.
---- (2.6.1) how US media exaggerates Japanese imitation
the TIME cover story mentioned earlier (1992 2/10) includes
exactly 3 photographs from Japan.
1. three Japanese men singing country-western-style in a bar,
all wearing cowboy hats. one holds a guitar; the other
two are playing harmonicas.
2. two Japanese boys (elementary school age) dressed completely
in cowboy outfits (cowboy hats, scarfs, leather boots,
handguns, ...) sitting on haystacks in front a barn.
(the caption reads, "Draw, partner: at the Japanese
Disneyland outside Tokyo, children recreate America's
3. three Japanese men of a Tokyo rap group dressed completely
in the way black rap singers dress in the USA.
it is true that present-day Japan is very modern, high-tech, and
westernized. but merely presenting this image isn't enough;
TIME wants to present Japan as a cheap imitator of the USA and
American culture. (also see (FAQ-3) crucified Santa Claus.)
recently I watched a 1-hour PBS TV show entitled "The Japanese
Version" (1991). it was all on Japanese imitation (adaptation)
of American culture: Japanese cowboys in Tokyo, etc.
this reminds me of another American myth. several Americans
asked me to elaborate on what they saw on TV and read in
magazines: that country-western music/fashion is VERY popular
my answer: it isn't.