Pop-Culture Diplomacy in Japan

Koichi Iwabuchi, a professor of media and cultural studies and director of the Asia Institute at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has published a new article. His piece, Pop-Culture Diplomacy in Japan: Soft Power, Nation Branding and the Question of the 'International Cultural Exchange' appeared in volume 21 issue 4 of the International Journal of Cultural Policy. The article traces the history of Japan's cultural diplomacy policy—from its nascence in the postwar era to the emergence of the "Cool Japan" campaign in the early 21st century—to offer a critical assessment of its strengths and failings. Iwabuchi contends that while Japanese pop culture does facilitate some understanding of the nation beyond its borders, as a public diplomacy initiative, it fails to meet its "stated objective to bring about the deepening of cultural exchange." He concludes that the problem lies in the government's "one-way projection of Japanese culture," and in turn, suggests that cross-border dialogue, people-to-people exchanges and mutual understanding about cultural diversity both within and beyond ones national borders could improve both Japan's soft power standing and its attractiveness as a nation brand.

The full article is available here

Photo courtesy of Marc Veraart via Flickr Creative Commons


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