Particularly I was looking at how I might express the idea of "asian pop culture" アジアの大衆文化 or 大陸の大衆文化. Having looked in the dictionary these two seem valid ways of communicating "asia" but I was wondering if there was a nuance difference?

Also, it occurred to me that writing about "asian pop culture" for a Japanese reader as I understand it might not make much sense, as I think in the English speaking world in general, the whole gamut of chinese, korean, thai, taiwanese and japanese culture can be grouped together under something that is distinct and yet might appear absurd to insider, like implying that "European Pop culture" could lump Polish and British culture together etc. So I was wondering if there is a more appropriate way to communicate this concept to a Japanese person, or if just using "pop culture of asia" will get the idea across for speaking in general terms.

  • 1
    Japan also uses buzz words so ポップカルチャー would probably suffice.
    – Mark
    Sep 16, 2016 at 0:30
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    大陸 alone is not guaranteed to mean that around china. For example, 大陸法 means legal system of continent Europe compare to 英米.
    – user4092
    Sep 16, 2016 at 3:13

3 Answers 3


大陸 usually means "continent". For example, 南極大陸 means Antarctic Continent.

Since Japan is an island country, 大陸 sometimes metaphorically refers to foreign (i.e., non-Japanese) countries, typically those in Asian Continent. But such usage is very context-dependent. If you are discussing about Japanese history in the 5th century, you are safe to use 大陸 in that sense because virtually everyone understands that Asia was the only continent Japanese people were aware of in those days.

But if you say 大陸の大衆文化 referring to something in the 21st century, people would simply get confused. Some may guess it refers to East Asian cultures, while others may imagine something totally different. Unless you intentionally want vague expressions, use アジアの大衆文化. This generally includes Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, India and so on. Of course they look different at least to me, but if you think you can discuss something meaningful using this term, it's up to you.

Regarding the difference between 大衆文化 and ポップカルチャー: At least in Japanese, ポップカルチャー tends to refer to things consumed mainly by younger generations (such as pop music, idols and anime), while 大衆文化 refers to wider range of things enjoyed by people of any generation (such as baseball, shogi, samurai TV dramas)


Many Japanese think ”大陸" usually shows only China and Korea, while "アジア" includes Thai, Taiwan, and Japan. So, if you want to write about all Asia, you should use the word "アジア".

Maybe, the concept of "asian pop culture" can convey your idea. But, it is also true that this concept will ignore some area in Asia. I think whether appropriate or not depends on the context.


アジアの大衆文化 and 大陸の大衆文化 are different.

The former means pop culture prevalent throughout the Asian region. The latter means pop culture prevalent in the continent, namely China.

I don’t think we can lump Korean pop culture together with the 大陸の大衆文化, because the history, mindset, lifestyle of people, and culture of the continent and peninsular are very different.

Even Taiwanese distiguish their culture from the Continent (Chinese mainland) culture.

  • Thank you. It's interesting. I was trying to search for the term as I wanted to discuss how the business model for television production and pop music is so completely different in south east asia from the west. In formalistic terms I think Korea, China, Japan and Thailand really share similarities but you're right that content wise they seem to have completely separate value systems. I guess it's one of those generalisations that makes a lot more sense if you're someone from outside Asia. Even with these answers my friend was very confused. Sep 19, 2016 at 0:51

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