Do East Coasters really know Asian Cultural Influence?

By Sherise Netanya

From food to technology to music, Asia has greatly influenced the lifestyle and livelihood of American culture.

But do people really know the magnitude of Asian influence in American culture?

An informal survey was conducted on the streets of New York by an NYU Summer Journalism student in an attempt to find out.

Chinatown, Manhattan. Photo Courtesy: @dzotov

Participants were tested on their knowledge of the music, food, and technology of Asia to get a balanced result. Eighty percent who answered were from the East Coast and 20% were not. Every person had an idea of how Asian culture has influenced the nation in a certain field.



Asian Invasion in the Music Industry

Artists of 88Rising. Photo Courtesy: CNN

K-Pop, J-Pop,. These are the two music genres that half of  New Yorkers recognized.

Over the last decade, Asian music has had a wide global growth and expansion, reaching out its influence even to the audiences on the other side of the globe. The music industry had a boom when Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video broke the Internet, which resulted in exposure and more interest in music from Asia.

More Asian artists and bands have been gaining global recognition for their art.

Generally, K-pop and J-pop are electronic and funky in sound. These genres of music are heavily influenced by the Western culture of pop music. It can be seen in the format and style of the songs which have noticeable similarities. The repetitive lyrics and catchy tunes reveal an uncanny resemblance to the pop music in the U.S. The difference with the two is only in their language and production.

When asked on the streets of New York, 70% barely had any knowledge of Asian music.

“ All I’ve heard was that one with the guy in the suit saying Gangnam Style or something like that. Other than that I know of some Japanese pianists,” said George, 49, from Astoria, Queens.

Only four out of ten have even heard Asian music being played in public areas.

The platform has been set for more Asian musicians and producers to showcase their talents. Big names like Keith Ape, G-Dragon, and 88 Rising have started to bubble up in the hip-hop and rap world and are gaining a reputation.

“A lot of Asians are moving in Western music. I see a lot even producing their own pop and rap songs,” said Elizabeth M., of Michigan, an avid K Pop-er.

We had the rock and the Indie eras. Will Asian music be the next big thing? Forty percent said there is a big potential for Asians to be the next hit makers

“It’s not exactly my type of music and I feel like they’re just copying off what was already made. Asian music definitely has potential, only if they can come up with something new and innovative,” said Elvan, a Arts student from New York.



Technology and electronics have become a staple and necessity for life in the 21st century. Yet not many of the people living in the United States know where most of the products they use daily come from.

An article from The Economist wrote “China produces about 80% of the world’s air-conditioners, 70% of its mobile phones and 60% of its shoes.” Despite this fact, only 3.1 out of 5 rating was given as its supposed popularity in the United States according to the survey.

When asked about some of the Asian electronic brands they know of, most participants generally answered Samsung, Toyota, and Toshiba. These companies are known to produce and manufacture products that are used daily, such as automobiles and mobile devices.  

There were also some people in the survey who did not realize that the phones they held in their own hands were from Asia. Seventy percent of the participants in the survey use an android phone, but they all thought it was American made.

Most New Yorkers in the survey only found out about these Asian brands only five years ago, so it can be considered relatively new to the American market. Almost 70% of participants predicted that these brands will stay relevant and in use in the future.

“If they continue to make good quality products like they’re doing now, I’ll probably stay a loyal customer,” said Elvan, a photographer, who makes a living with his Sony camera.


Munchies and Bites

Chinese take outs and sushi are common options for meals in a New Yorker’s  day. Be it Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese, Asian food is very much present in the New Yorker’s diet.

“I love to get bento boxes on my way to work and also some sushi rolls,” said Lila from Long Island City. She is one of the few culturally immersed New Yorkers, having experienced cuisines from the most basic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, to even the rarest like Taiwanese , Malaysian and Indonesian food.

Restaurants like Nobu, Sugarfish, and Totto Ramen are some of the big names in the food life in Manhattan. However in Queens, which is very culturally diverse, there are a few name spots to get a dose of the authentic Asian food.

“Kumo and Watawa, in Astoria, serve really fresh sushi and soba,” said Richard T. from Astoria. “But to get the real authentic experience, take a trip to Flushing, Queens. They have all the good stuff.”



Sherise Netanya is a rising senior from Vickery Christian Academy, Jakarta, Indonesia.