There’s a subculture of non-Japanese people out there who are fanatic about all things Japanese. Anime, food, social norms, whatever. The polite term for these people is Japanophile; the less polite slang term (especially for those who exhibit extreme obsession) is weeaboo.
Thing is, I have never heard of such fanatics for other cultures of the world. Are there people who are obnoxiously obsessed with all things German? Indian? Malaysian? Mexican? …? What are the things about their target culture that they obsess/commune over?
Something similar happens with religions a lot, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. This applies both to converts and to people in related academic fields.
Korean stuff is becoming really, really big in much of the world, even if it has yet to hit the US to the extent Japanese things have, Gangnam Style nonwithstanding. Dramas, Kpop, movies, etc. I’ve met Koreaphiles abroad who were kind of comparable.
There have been a couple of Egypt fads in America. I’ve read people were nuts for all things Egyptian in the '20s or '30s, and it happened again after the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit went around the country in the '70s (remember the Steve Martin song?).
They don’t seem to be judged as harshly, if that’s what you mean.
At least one of these has its own nickname: Jubus, or Jewish Buddhists like Allen Ginsburg and Adam Yauch.
Hippie types in Berkeley were embracing the heck out of various Native American cultures after Dances with Wolves was released; a couple people I know changed their names to what they claimed were Native American names, or translations thereof (“Kindred Warrior” in one case).
For me, after 20 years in the SCA and longer than that involved in SF Fandom, it’s kind of a forest-for-the-trees scenario: A friend of mine speaks Elvish. Somebody else had their marriage performed in Klingon. Another couple had a pirate-themed party, and everybody already had their own costume. And let’s not even talk about the Whovians. Some people really like Japanese culture? Okay…
True. But on the other hand, you might say the adoption of Japanese culture by Americans is more extreme for the same reasons.
In answer to the question, I think the points about Indian, Native American and Islamic cultures are good answers. I’d add Chinese and African. There is at least one difference, though: Japanophiles seem to be largely interested in modern Japanese culture, whereas fans of the other mentioned cultures seem more interested in the traditions. What that means (if anything) I don’t know.
True. Sometimes you will see US converts to Islam wearing Arabian attire like dishdashas. As far as I’ve seen it’s not extremely common, but it’s something you’ll bump into a few times if you spend any time around Muslims here.
Ireland has a lot of fans. Both people with (some) Irish ancestry, but I also know plenty of Dutch, Germans and Italians who are crazy about everything Irish or “Celtic”. Especially of the thatched cottage, music and ancient Celtic myths and legend variety. Goes for Scotland too, to a certain extent. I was interest to see how many people who were neither Scottish nor English felt very strongly about Scottish independence and I think a lot of it was about romantic “Braveheart” style ideas they had about the country.
It’s perceived as more extreme, but I don’t think it’s actually more extreme in any real way. OK, you’re into a culture that you don’t have a geographic or ancestral connection to. Why does it matter if that culture has some vague ties to your own?