On July 15, Universal Studios Japan celebrated the first anniversary of its Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction, which lets visitors "experience" flying with the famous boy wizard using 4K-resolution 3-D imagery. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the theme park's management expected the new ride to increase attendance by 2 million over the subsequent year, but actually, admissions between July 2014 and June 2015 were up by more than 3 million. The number of visitors to the Osaka park in June was 28 percent higher than it was a year earlier. In the past year, 13.5 million people bought tickets to USJ.

As impressive as this number is, it hardly compares to last year's attendance for Tokyo Disney Resort, which incorporates the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks. TDR logged 31.3 million visitors in 2014, an increase of 0.3 percent over the previous year and the third year in a row it has set a new record for attendance. It's almost certain that 2015's numbers will set another record since a new attraction based on last year's hit Disney animation feature, "Frozen," opened at Tokyo Disneyland in January for a limited time.

These two establishments together account for more than half the theme-park admissions in Japan, which would seem to reinforce the notion that Japanese people love American culture, even though USJ, which long ago abandoned its reliance on attractions exclusive to Universal Studios, features a ride based on the popular Japanese anime "Yokai Watch."