What sorts of things are Japanese and American people interested in about each other, as people and as nations? The bestselling books in Amazon.co.jp's America category and Amazon.com's Japanese History category (the closest equivalent) might shed a little light on the subject. Let's take a look at the current top ranked books in each country, as of today.
Amazon.co.jp's top-selling books in the "America" category (11/29/2010)
So the Japanese are reading about economic, education, liberty, and health problems facing Americans today. Fair enough. Now, what are Americans studying about Japan?
Amazon.com's top-selling books in the "Japanese History" category (11/29/2010)
So what do we have? Rampaging Imperial Japanese soldiers, yakuza, samurai, swords, and ninja. Nothing about topics or issues facing Japanese for, oh, the last sixty-five years or so, let alone US-Japan relations. Admittedly this is the history category, but it seems to be the closest to a catch-all for books about Japanese culture on Amazon. So much for that whole "Japan Cool" campaign, huh?