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Michal Daliot-Bul an Israeli researcher of Japanese culture says that until the early nineties the Japanese Government’s strategy was to expand Japan’s image as an industrial giant. Japanese society was presented as a workaholic society of industrial workers, office workers and scientists, emphasizing the work ethic, the efficiency and their technological advancement, which allowed Japan to produce cheap hi-tech products. But as the bubble of Japanese industrial economy burst, the Japanese government was forced to look elsewhere in the Japanese economy for exportable material.

During the economic crisis in the late nineties, it was seen that the industries doing the most business were related to teen culture like anime, manga, computer games etc that had previously not been considered as a market of any particular significance. . Furthermore, export of these abroad also provided a positive response. The Japanese government recognized this trend & started to actively promote this, with a vision of “cool Japan” as the new image for Japan abroad. One promising avenue they explored was in the export of Japanese counter-cultural and subversive cultural products, which in Japan itself were restricted to marginalized, stigmatized, and suppressed sectors of the population; these products include films, comics and cartoons of extremely violent and pornographic content and featuring ‘deviant’ forms of sexuality. Daliot-Bul argues that the success and popularity of these counter-cultural products arises from their subversive and ‘deviant’ image. These cultural products were a form of protest against the strict mores of the traditional Japanese society. Their rise from the underground into the more mainstream of Japanese society coincided with a breakdown in traditional social strictures and the destruction of traditional sources of authority. The fact that the Japanese government itself is now trying to promote these cultural products means an end to their subversive nature and consequently they are likely to lose their appeal.

While this fear may be true in Japan itself, in the United States and other Western nations the fans of Japanese counter cultural products appreciate them due to their exoticness and ‘strangeness’ and due to their trespassing the cultural values and mores of their own society. In fact the American consumers may not even know that the products of the ‘Otaku’ subculture are from a Japanese underground subculture and not the products of mainstream Japanese society. American Consumers of Japanese pornography which explores themes of incest, bondage, sadism and masochism and fetishism and sexualization of underage schoolgirls are unlikely to care whether these pornographic movies and still images represent mainstream erotica in Japanese society or are regarded as subversive, taboo or deviant in Japanese. To the American consumers of Japanese pornography these cultural products at titillating because they break the boundaries of American society, not because they break the boundaries of Japanese society.

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