If I was dating a Chinese girl (which I am, haha), and my dad said, "Chinese people are stupid.."
I would not go off on him. But I sure as HELL wouldn't defend him either, and I would tell my gf that I am sorry, and that my dad was being dumb.
So in that sense, yea, Shermy is screwed up in a way, cause I don't see how you could agree or defend "Japanese are stupid..".
Now , as far as the lack of creativity thing. Its a stereotype first started in the East at the turn of the century, during the Meiji Reformation. Japan was an isolationist country (even with its primary neighbors Korea and China, barring Hideyoshi's FAILED (HAHA a-hole) invasion of Korea in 1592) until Admiral Perry used gunboat diplomacy to open up Japan in the mid 19th century.
At the point, the Jap gov't realized a crisis. To avoid being colonized, they had to modernize, copy the West, in a sense. Emperor also saw this as an opportunity to acquire the military might to finally crush those idiotic feudal lords that had been ruling Japan for almost all of its history. So he did just that, the Meiji reformation was about modernizing to combat outside and internal forces. The military was modernized in the Prussian fashion. Equipment was brought in from the USA. Scholars studied in France and Germany. And on and on... Japan was bent on avoiding the humiliating western incursions that were going on in the rest of Asia, and to an extent, they were successful.
However, now they had problems. They realized that the best way to invade their land was through Korea, a weak ass backwards nation that couldn't defend themselves. So, they decided to prempt any western power from taking over Korea (and hence being a short swim away from invading Japan full out), by taking over Korea. This was what the Sino- Jap war was about (1894-5?). Once the Japs kicked the might Chinese's asses, they pretty much took over Korea slowly until annexation in 1910. However, one of the provisions of the Sino-Jap war was that the Liotung Peninsula (chinese territory) was seded over to Japan. However, the West was not going to allow this, and the Triple Intervention (Germany, France, England) returned the peninsula to China. Japan learned that the West was still boss, and hence copied them even more to modernize and strengthen themselves.
Finally in 1910 they annexed Korea. This time the West didn't say anything. The Japs were too strong (they had kicked Russia's ass in a recent war), and besides, why risk war over Korea? The Big Dog was now the USA, which allowed the Japs to have Korea in exchange for USA rights in the Philipines. So there we go.
The colonial rule of Korea was copied first off the British rule of India, then the French rule of their colonies. Japan was new to this thing, and they copied, copied, and copied. Hence the continuation of this sterotype.
After WWII, the Japs realized something yet again. Again they were on the verge of having their sovereignty stripped by the West. They realized, *&^%, we were wrong. We can't combat the West, especially the USA, with military might. We have to do it with economic might. So they started copying off the west again, in a sense, with cars and electronics. HOWEVER, now you must give the Japs their due.
Cause a lot of the things we see today, are Jap innovations that the WEST actually copied from them. 1970s, gas crisis. Japan saw an opportunity and started selling econo box cars in teh USA. The Big 3 scoffed, saying little dinky cars were made for Japan, not the USA (which i tend to agree with) but that didn't matter, as the AMerican public, growing more tired of rising gas prices, bought these little Jap cars. The Jap car market took off, and now the trend is high quality, economical cars, which the USA has continued to play catch up to.
The walkman is another Jap innovation. The Nintendo.
But, the Japs reached their peak in the 80s. Their economy was somewhat built on shaky foundations. They were expanding too fast. Banks were loaning money to companies on sky high interest rates, cause companies were expanding fast enough to pay them back. Consumers invested in companies, FDI was solid. But their currency was overvalued. Eventually, the market dried up. Other East Asian countries (namely South Korea and Taiwan) ate up market share, and achieved their economic miracles. The Japanese machine couldn't continue. Companies showed slowing profits. They had to save on labor. They moved operations to 3rd World Countries. They cut wages, fired a bunch of people. And yet, inflation was still high, and Japan went into a recession and their economy hasn't been the same since.
Now, we wonder, where will Japan go now? What will these people try to do again, to maintain a power position in the world, in the face of a old adversary (china) becoming Asia's darlings?