From Hello Kitty to Cool Japan: The political economy of Japanese popular culture in Asia
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 6:00pm


Dr. Nissim Otmazgin

November 29, 2016 | 6pm
(Doors open at 5:30p.m.)

SMSU Room 296/8

(Smith Memorial Student Union - 1825 SW Broadway 

Over the last two decades, East Asia (both Northeast and Southeast) has experienced a massive circulation of popular culture products deriving from multiple sources. Products such as movies, pop music, television programs, and fashion magazines, along with their derivative products such as games, food, toys, accessories, etc., have been widely marketed in East Asia's big cities, where they are regularly disseminated, indigenized, hybridized, and consumed. While many of the popular cultures found in East Asia originated in the United States and Europe, confluences of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean popular cultures, have also intensified to reach consumers of different national and linguistic boundaries.

Japanese popular culture has been one of the pioneers of the regional circulation of popular culture in East Asia. Starting from the late-1980s, Japanese movies, television programs, pop music, fashion magazines, and more recently manga and anime, have reached consumers throughout this region with an intensity and variety not seen before. These products have carved an integral position in the local cultural markets and were regarded as an example and a model by the local cultural industries. The Japanese government has recently been cognizant of the advantages of popular culture as being both a potentially profitable export item and a means to boost the country’s image abroad, and it is now searching for a role in this newly emerging industrial sector.

This talk will examine the expansion of Japanese popular culture industries, especially the music, television, and anime industries, into the market in East Asia since the late 1980s, and the response of the Japanese government to these processes. Dr. Otmazgin will discuss the challenges and opportunities popular cultural exports present to governments and markets in the region and the influence of the Japanese popular culture on the development of the local cultural industries. The talk will include insights from fieldwork in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Seoul.

Dr. Nissim Otmazgin is the Chair of the Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Associate Director of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. A political scientist in training, his research interests include Japanese popular culture in Asia, popular culture and regionalization in East and Southeast Asia, and cultural industry and cultural policy in Japan and South Korea. His PhD dissertation (Kyoto University, 2007), which examines the export of Japan’s popular culture to Asia, won the Iue Asia Pacific Research Prize in October 2007 for outstanding dissertation on society and culture in Asia. He is the author of Regionalizing Culture: the Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia (University of Hawaii Press, 2013), and (together with Miki Daliot-Bul) The Anime Boom in the US: Lessons for Global Creative Industries (Harvard Asia Center, forthcoming).

With Support from The United States-Japan Foundation


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