• Gergana Dimitrova Dimitrova
4. semester, Turisme, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This thesis explores the perceptions of authenticity regarding Japan among young European
travelers. The topic was chosen based on the strong personal interest the researcher holds for
Japan and Japanese culture. Furthermore, the researcher is fascinated with exploring the notion
of authenticity and cultures, therefore combines the two ideas within this thesis.
The study is an exploratory one, where the researcher assumes the constructivist approach and by
using qualitative methods looks to understand what are the perceptions of authenticity. Data is
collected through 12 individual semi-structured qualitative interviews, which are supported by a
focus-group interview and a survey with 59 responses on a preliminary stage.
Data collected from the interviews has been analyzed through a theoretical framework created
for this thesis. The framework provides understanding on main notions necessary for the analysis,
such as travel motivation, destination image creation, authenticity, as well as commoditization
and push and pull factors.
The analysis revels that the perceptions of authenticity correlate with the destination image that
the interviewees hold, as well as, with their knowledge about Japan. The researcher notes three
distinguishable patterns, where interviewees with strong knowledge about Japan express
elaborate image and perception of authenticity is influenced by Japanese people. Interviewees
with medium knowledge, showed a pattern of having a positive image about Japan and a
perception of authenticity that is influenced by both physical and abstract representation of
culture. For the third patter, the researcher notes that interviewees within it have a strong
opinion of what is authentic about Japan and are prompt to disappointment when their image
does not overlap with the reality.
The researcher named the thesis Blinding Golden Pavilion based on a pattern found during the
research of interviewees regarding the Japanese people being the most authentic thing about
Japan. The name notes that it is not the gold that shines the brightest within a culture.
Keywords: Japan; authenticity; destination image formation; perceptions; travel motivation
Udgivelsesdato29 maj 2015
Antal sider137
ID: 213196084