Sample Essay

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Daliot-Bul suggests that the Japanese government’s embrace of the counter culture is purely for mercenary reasons. This would mean that in case the prosperous times of the past came back and the Japanese industry returned to its late-eighties times of prosperity the Japanese government could abandon it’s embrace of the ‘Cool’ image and return to the ‘workaholic’ image of the past. Her suggestion to the Japanese government is to abandon its attempts to control the ‘Cool Image’ in any way and to let market forces take their course.

Japanese International Relations researcher, Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin studies the effect of Japanese popular culture in East and South-East Asia. Like Daliot-Bul, Otmazgin points out that the Japanese authorities did not pay any attention to the burgeoning amounts of Japanese cultural exports until the economic crash of the early nineties. Previously Japanese authorities were wary of trying to export their cultural products in the Asian region. This was because of the past militaristic and Imperialistic character of the Japanese nation, which had occupied large swaths of Asia right up to the end of the Second World War.

When the Japanese authorities started to promote their cultural products, it was primarily with a view towards the economic benefits of exporting films, comics and computer games, any diplomatic benefit accrued was purely secondary. Right up to the end of the nineties numerous Asian governments had imposed severe restrictions on the types of cultural products that could be imported. Cultural products such as films, television programs and comics were subject to strict censors, these included those cultural products that were imported from USA as well as those that were imported from Japan. South Korea in particular, which has suffered from thirty years of Japanese occupation, had strictly banned importation of Japanese culture (In fact it still bans the airing of Japanese programs and music on public television and radio). However the popularity of Japanese cultural products continued to rise despite the restrictions, often through illegal channels. Unlike the American media industry, Japanese media industry tolerates the piracy of their cultural products. Otmazgin speculates that this is a deliberate strategy by Japanese media companies; they hope that by tolerating piracy, Japanese media will find widespread acceptance in other Asian countries, regularization will take place after the opening up of the markets and profits will follow.

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