From Northern Europe to the World: How Nordic Culture Lives On


The Nordic countries may be hidden away in Northern Europe and home to just 27 million people, but they punch way above their weight when it comes to cultural influence. From North America to Asia, Nordic culture has a mystique that captivates people from all walks of life. Norse mythology and its deities are clear examples of the impact of Norse culture on the world at large.

Norse mythology traveled from west to east

People in Europe and North America will know about Odin and Thor thanks, in part, to the Marvel franchise’s cinematic offerings. However, the roots of Norse mythology run much deeper. Take, for example, the Japanese anime, Kamigami no Asobi. Originally a video game but adapted for television (see video below), it tells the story of Yui Kusanagi, a girl sent to another kingdom. There, she encounters a collection of Greek, Norse, and Japanese gods who teach her the values ​​of humanity.

Kamigami no Asobi tells an age-old story, so it’s not necessarily interesting. What’s interesting, though, is how it combines two popular cultures: mythology and anime. Many adaptations of Norse culture and mythology have come from the Western world. Marvel movies, TV shows like The Last Kingdom and, of course, games. Go to any reputable game download page and you will find plenty of Nordic influences. There are countless examples of Norse culture in games, from the Vikings to the warrior kings of Valheim and the gods of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Sights and sounds from the past live in the present

We can also turn our attention to the music industry and find more than a verse or two from the Nordic countries. Rock, as a genre, has embraced Norse mythology more than any other. In fact, according to Louder Sound, Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song paved the way for Viking metal. Then, of course, you have Number of the Beast from Iron Maiden and Valhalla from Black Sabbath. Moving away from rock, Nordic folk has become popular with mainstream audiences. Bands such as Wardruna captivated audiences with epic vocals such as Helvegen (see video below).

All of these examples show how Nordic culture has found its way into many avenues of modern life. However, none are as striking as Kamigami no Asobi. Japanese warrior culture is just as prominent and influential internationally as its Nordic counterpart. So having stories, games, and TV shows in Japan using Norse mythology speaks to its importance. Indeed, there aren’t many other cultures that could break into Japan or Asia in general. That’s why we see Nordic icons on screens of all sizes and hear its call around the world. Even if you’ve never picked up a history book and read the stories of ancient Northern Europe, you probably know something about it from pop culture.

Living Arts |  Maryland Room

Category: Local News, NEWS


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