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Hang around Japan long enough and you’re bound to hear the refrain that the Japanese have an inferiority complex (rettōkan) towards “Westerners” (ōbeijin).

You’ll hear, for example, that Japanese feel a sense of akogare (adoration) towards them, wishing Japanese had longer legs, deeper noses, lighter and rounder eyes, paler skin, etc. You’ll see this reflected in Japan’s advertising strategies, beauty and whitening products, and cosmetic surgery.

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