Diana Farah Dubai
A Kuwaiti Instagram influencer Saad Abdullah Al-Hajri said he is one of the first people to introduce Japanese culture to the Middle East through social media.
Speaking to Arab News Japan, Al-Hajri said that after his Instagram page gained popularity for introducing Japan to the Arab world, he was featured on several TV and radio shows as “a guest to introduce Japanese culture.”
He also worked with many university workshops to talk about his experiences and interest in the Asian culture.
Al-Hajri explained that he was able to identify and find himself in Japan and its culture. “My interest in Japan was not a decision, but rather a passion,” he said.
“The first thing that attracted me to Japan and its culture was the TV program Takeshi’s Castle,” he said. The emotions and the culture portrayed by the contestants on the gaming show attracted Al-Hajri and made him want to learn more about Japan.
He explained Japanese anime also had a huge influence on his childhood, as well as Japanese music and the language itself.
“Perhaps these are the things that make me feel a sense of belonging whenever I travel to Japan, because it is strongly linked to my childhood,” the Kuwaiti influencer said. “I travel to Japan around three times a year.”
Al-Hajri said he had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in Kuwait, however, after visiting Japan and noticing the importance they place on their children, he decided to go back to Kuwait University and complete another degree in Education.
Speaking on the similarities between Japan and the Arab world, Al-Hajri said tight family bonds and a mother’s love are prevalent in both cultures.
“Young children sleep in a room with their mother and father, similar to Arab culture and unlike the Western culture, in which the modern baby sleeps in a separate room,” he added.
Al-Hajri told Arab News Japan that Japanese cultural influence was apparent in Kuwait, especially when it comes to anime and video games. He added that some of the most expensive restaurants in the Arab country served Japanese foods.
He added that he hoped for an increased interest in Japan and its culture from tourism sectors, as well as more programs coordinated between Kuwaiti and Japanese education sectors in order to exchange teaching and learning methods.