Manga and anime are a good source of soft power for Japan. If creators and animators can find a way to not just appeal to the elite readership in foreign countries but also to the masses – which would entail translating the manga into local languages and incorporating local stories – then manga and anime can be a veritable bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.

Bollywood’s global popularity and the ‘Cool Japan’ initiative are highlighted in this week’s roundup. 

Headlines explored the various ways cultural diplomacy can connect communities.

The annual J-Pop Summit, hosted by Superfrog Project, will be held from July 22 to 24. This Japanese cultural festival has been held in San Francisco every summer since 2009. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, and food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan. 

As far as awards ceremonies go, the Sugoi Japan Awards were a fairly flashy affair. Held on March 22, the prizes recognized recent titles in anime, manga and fiction that an online poll of Japanese fans wanted to do well overseas. Winners included “One Punch Man” and “Your Lie in April,” and the guest list to the event included pop culture critics, studio executives and, of course, the artists themselves.

December 1, 2015

The militaries of many nations harness mass media and pop culture for promotional purposes… Japan is no different. But what makes their military unusual is that the image being projected isn’t one of might or machismo but of cuteness…this kawaii (cute) imagery is...a testament to the deep ambivalence the Japanese retain about both the history and the changing role of their armed forces.

A big part of Otakon is how it’s planned and managed by volunteers. Longtime anime and manga fans working in various fields are joined by many young people, showing their respect for the Japanese pop culture that has greatly influenced their identities. The event venue is filled with their love for otaku culture.

Online activists are deploying some surprising strategies to combat ISIS propaganda, and while some experts are applauding their initiative, they are also questioning how much U.S. officials can learn from their efforts.