Since Krispy Kreme opened in Japan late last year, the Japan blogs have been following along with the first shop's progress in Japan. Since many vocal members of the expat community predicted it would fail after an initial burst of enthusiasm, the unfailing interest of the Japanese for KK's donuts has remained a curiosity. Lines continue to snake around buildings and waits for a crack at those super-light, super-sweet donuts continue to be long.
Most of the news-based sites that carry updates about Krispy Kreme Japan and news regarding the offerings and progress of other fast food/junk food shops of American origin always include a section for comments. Invariably, a perusal of the comments section will include at least one, if not many, comments from expatriates booing the success of places like KK, McDonald's and Pizza Hut in Japan and telling them to get out and stop contaminating beautiful, thin Japanese people with their gustatory pollution. It's overtly stated that, if Japanese people over-indulge in these foods and become fat, it's America's fault.
One point I'd like to make before I go on to editorialize on this tendency is that Krispy Kreme Japan was licensed to Lotte (a Korean-Japanese partnership best known for their fast food franchise, "Lotteria") and Takeo Shigemitsu. The American corporation has no ownership of the Japanese operations. That means that the ultimate disposition as well as the implantation of this franchise in the first place was solely a Japanese choice. While KK U.S. will make money from the licensing, the Japanese themselves are the ones who decided to peddle these carb-loaded, blood sugar-spiking treats to the Japanese public. America may have invented them but Japan chose to sell them. Similarly, McDonald's franchises in Japan were started by an ambitious Japanese shoe salesman named Den Fujita. Mr. Fujita's ultimate goal was to open 10,000 McDonald's in Japan by 2010. Though Mr. Fujita has passed away, his family still holds 25% of the company.
I'm sure there are people out there who believe that this is a case of cultural contamination and would still hold the U.S. to blame for exporting unhealthy food culture. However, the Japanese not only chose to import that culture when they formed joint ventures with the American parents but they also spun off their own home-grown versions of the same types of junk food establishments. There are a great many Japanese fast food places and purveyors of high calorie, nutritionally-empty foods. So, even if all the U.S.-based businesses were to fold up their tents and go away, the consumers would still seek out and find the same menus from places like MOS burger and Pizza-La (which incidentally is the most successful pizza chain in Japan, not Pizza Hut, Dominos or some other U.S.-based pizza joint).
Even if you choose to ingore the fact that American corporations didn't barge into to Japan and force their shops onto the unsuspecting public, the fact that a lot of Japanese people have to make the choice to consume such foods has to be considered. While it may satisfy a need to vilify the U.S., the Japanese people are the ones keeping fast food and junk food places of American origin successful enough to remain open. Americans aren't cramming the food into their mouths, forcing them to chew and swallow and then taking the money from their wallets. It's ironic that the people who like to rave about Americans being "fat pigs" and the presence of places like Krispy Kreme plumping up trim Japanese physiques hold Americans responsible for the food choices which make them obese but not the Japanese. Either the Japanese are absolutely unable to think for themselves and do whatever America says or the Japanese are just as responsible for the choices they make that result in them gaining weight as Americans are. Clearly the former is not the case and it's insulting to even consider but nothing else can explain the irrational conclusion that America is responsible for Japanese eating habits.
All in all, it seems there are far too many people who want to blame America for every single social problem in the world. This sort of prejudice is no different than any of the other prejudices applied only to one ethnic group or nationality but somehow it's not offensive to hate Americans nor to assign blame to them arbitrarily as it is to do so for other nationalities. If you take all the negative comments about Americans and substitute any other nationality, the comments show themselves to be the ranting of racists but somehow people fail to see them for what they are simply because the ugly comments are made about Americans and that's okay with the rest of the world right now.