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The dark half of kawaii culture; Is there a terrible secret behind cute Japanese anime and games?

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Throughout history, Japan has been known as a very tough and even cruel country, especially in the eyes of Americans. In the past, Japan was portrayed as a belligerent militarist country that bombed Pearl Harbor, colonized Korea, and invaded China. In other words, this country was considered a threat.

Therefore, after the end of World War II, Japan used anime and kawaii culture - meaning something cute. is - attempted to redefine its culture so that it no longer seemed threatening to an American. At first, my motivation for writing this article was that I found some aspects of anime and kawaii culture interesting and wanted to talk about them, but when I researched more about this topic, I realized that there are different opinions about this topic. Some of these comments approach the level of weird conspiracy theories. Personally, I am not into conspiracy theory. I just want to touch on the interesting facts.

Now let's dig deeper and see where anime and kawaii culture started, and whether the conspiracy theories that kawaii culture is an attempt to hide Japan's former military power are true. It is, true or not.

Background on kawaii Culture

To provide some background on this, I went to the Hagley Museum website. there is a podcast called Stories from the Stacks on this site. One of the episodes is about how Japanese companies redefined their brand in America after the end of World War II.

William Chou explains in this podcast that in the years after At the end of the war, the American people hated Japanese products. A large part of this hatred was rooted in the conflict between America and Japan in World War II, but another reason was that the products exported from Japan at that time were of low quality and were made at low cost. According to Cho:

The main goal was to rebuild the Japanese economy... The [economic] outlook of the Japanese was much more nationalistic in origin. Their idea was that: we have to rebuild our economy; Our domestic economy is not enough to support the production of consumer goods we have to export these goods. Of course, in the first decade after the end of the war, there were many discussions in political circles about this question: "Should we focus on the domestic economy or move towards the international economy and take all the risks associated with it?"

Finally, Japan decided to focus on international exports. Now the question was, what goods should be exported?

Japan had a wonderful military heritage. Their cameras were so powerful in World War II that American soldiers would take away their cameras and rangefinders after killing any Japanese soldier. However, because Japan did not want to reinforce the perception that they were a military nation, they decided to abandon work on this technology to work on other areas, on products that were of high quality and changed America's view of Japan. p>

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So one of the first goods that Japan exported was a camera. Before I go on, I need to say that William Chu emphasizes in the podcast that he doesn't want to generalize about the Japanese focus on what they wanted to export. Neither William Chu nor I can comment on the thoughts of everyone involved. This position has many semantic nuances and is very sensitive. However, during World War II, very racist and degrading cartoons and depictions of Japanese people were spread in America.

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After the end of the war, Japan probably felt the need to not only redefine itself so that it would no longer be seen as a violent country, but also felt the need to end the stereotypical and racist depictions against it.

Of course, it was not only the Japanese who decided to rebuild themselves; Those who agreed also expected these changes from them. According to the information on the History.State.Gov website:

In the first phase, which began with the end of the war in 1945 and ended in 1947, the most fundamental changes in the Japanese government and society took place. The Allies punished the Japanese for their past militarism and imperialism by holding war crimes trials in Tokyo. At the same time, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) disbanded the Japanese military and barred former Japanese military officers from assuming any political leadership positions in the new government. In the economic field, the High Command of the Allied Forces proposed a series of land reforms aimed at making profits It was to the farmers who had leased land and also to reduce the power of the rich land owners. Many of these landowners in the 30s supported Japan's belligerence and imperialism. Also, Douglas McArthur tried to break up Japan's multi-cluster business corporations to bring the Japanese economy closer to the free market capitalist system. In 1947, Allied advisers dictated a new constitution to Japan's leaders.

Among the most profound changes implemented in the new constitution were the reduction of the emperor to a ceremonial position with no political power and the increase in the power of the parliamentary system. He pointed out the rights and privileges of women and not having the privilege of declaring war. The last case practically did not allow Japan to have any army except for its own defense.

Another phase of Japanese occupation that lasted until the 1950s was called "Reverse Course". At this point of the occupation, the reform of the Japanese economy was in the center of attention. The Allied High Command believed that if Japan's domestic economy remained weak, it would be vulnerable to communist movements within the country. With a communist victory in China's civil war looking increasingly likely, the future of East Asia was at stake.

Policies designed to address Japan's economic weaknesses ranged from tax reforms to measures to control inflation. However, the most serious problem was the lack of raw materials that the Japanese industry and market needed to deliver finished goods. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 provided the Allied High Command with the necessary pretext to address the problem, with some officials saying, "Korea came and saved us." After the United Nations became involved in the Korean War, Japan became the main supply depot for the United Nations forces. Also, this conflict put Japan within the borders of American defense arrangements in Asia. This reassured Japan that no matter what the state of its military, no serious danger would threaten its borders.

I know this quote was very long, but to provide a suitable context for what follows. It was necessary to hit it. The bottom line is that between 1945 and 1950, America's perception of foreign threats changed so that the idea of an armed, militaristic Japan no longer seemed dangerous. During these years, communism became a serious threat, especially in Asia.

Given that Japan was no longer considered a threat or an enemy of America, it had an opportunity to really redefine itself and regain its credibility. . At first, the Japanese did this with the help of technology. As mentioned, they turned to exporting high-end, high-quality technology-oriented goods to show that Japan was a commercial superpower.

For example:

  • Sony for the first time since Transistor used to make small radios. American companies had not yet pursued such technology.
  • In the late 1950s, the importation of a new commercial video recorder by Japan's state broadcaster and HK by Ampex, an American inventor company, attracted the attention of MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) and led to the formation of an organized effort to import its basic technology.
  • In 1969, Intel (INTEL) developed the first microprocessor in response to the request of BUSICOM (BUSICOM), a Japanese company that built It was a calculator, he made it.

But these examples do not mean that everything was as intended. In the 1980s, the Japanese became richer, and the Americans blamed them for the loss of American jobsespecially in the auto and textile industries. Some overreacted by destroying Japanese cars and attacking Asian-Americans. So despite all the cooperation, the relationship between America and Japan was not without its challenges and tensions.

Although Japan still maintained its position as one of the leaders of technological progress, this was not the only image that the Japanese wanted. to present themselves to the western world. Therefore, let's look at the image that many of you think of when talking about Japan, especially in relation to the Japanese artistic and creative works that you have experienced. It means anime and kawaii works. The question is how these works became so popular.

Kawaii culture

At first, we start our discussion with kawaii culture. kawaii - or cute - basically refers to something that has a childish nature, such as sweet, lovable and innocent characters, animals and items.

Interestingly, the origin of kawaii goes back to the variation of handwriting among Japanese women. My source, an article titled Cuties in Japan, states:

In 1974, large numbers of teenagers, especially girls, began to write in a new style of childish handwriting. In 1978, this phenomenon spread to the whole country. In 1985, it was estimated that more than 5 million young people were using the new handwriting.

Prior to this phenomenon, Japanese calligraphy was written vertically using strokes on paper that Their thickness and length It was different. The new style was written horizontally and it was preferable to write with a pointed pencil so that the lines were straight and even. This new writing style, combined with decorative English letters and small cartoon pictures such as hearts, stars, and faces randomly included in the text, became a new style that was distinct from the usual style and difficult to read. .

The emergence of this new writing style caused a series of disciplinary problems, because teachers did not want their students to write like this. But the phenomenon of hand writing became very popular. Cards, stationery, and even cupcakes took advantage of the cuteness fever. Even credit card advertisements started using cute or kawaii characters.

The Asian Studies site says:

Sanrio, a company that started selling products in 1975 By developing cute characters for notebooks, pens and other stationery that they called "cute goods", Hello Kitty achieved a successful business that was a combination of youth culture and commercial merchandising. At the same time, Ribbon created Furoku, a manga magazine for girls. Furoku was a kind of supplement to manga magazines, usually consisting of stationery and paper folders with pictures of cute manga characters. Designs by Mutsu Ako, whose Otome-Chikku drawing style was very popular among girls, adorned Ribbon Fukurou from 1975 to the mid-1980s. In the 70s, the political fever of the leftist student movements subsided and the fashion culture and mass media flourished. Of course, there were - and are - those who criticize the movement. In their opinion, this cute and girlish movement makes those who participate in it childish and makes them try to avoid the heavy responsibilities that society imposes on them by remaining children and not growing up, instead of entering the society as mature and responsible people. It makes them run away.

Anime market

Next to the kawaii culture, another market was growing: the anime market. In the early 20th century, Japanese animators were commonly employed to produce anti-American propaganda. However, this trend changed after World War II.

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Osamu Tezuka - widely regarded as the father of modern manga - became popular due to the success of Astro Boy. An animated adaptation was released for Astro Boy in 1963.

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Years later, when Hayao Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli in 1985, anime changed in appearance and a new generation of anime directors emerged.

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Around the 80s, anime became an independent art form. During this time period, American and European children who came from military and business families immigrated to Japan sent illegal anime videos to their peers back home.

In 1988, Akira was released. This anime was so detailed that it took several years for the animators to draw all the scenes of the film by hand. This anime is now recognized as a classic that expanded the anime market to America and Europe.

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In In the 90s, Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon continued this trend and presented a new image of Japan to the world.

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It is quoted from Kaichiro Morikawa (Kaichiro Morikawa), a Japanese architect:

The image of Japan in the West (in the 80s and early 90s), from two contrasting images It was composed of: one, orientalist and feudal Japan, which was depicted in samurai-oriented films and ninjas and their sword duels; And the other is ultra-modern Japan, where humans who have become economic animals are stuck on trains and are pumping Walkmans and Toyotas into the world.

Manga, anime, video games and kawaii culture all give Japan a more relatable and humane image. they forgave The good thing was that it was not just a single super company that tried to impose this cultural image on the world, but this image was being transmitted by word of mouth among people. And as the Internet grew, so did anime fans. According to CNN:

Young Americans were looking for cultural products that offered them a new perspective. To them, Japan was a country that looked as exciting as the image they saw in Akira. Akira's cyberpunk imagery and controversial plot provided a gateway to another world that was both aesthetically and psychologically different. Napier, a professor of Japanese studies at Tufts University, is quoted as saying: "Japanese culture was turning to darker themes and It was exciting that America and Europe seemed to be slower to address them." Watching anime became a way to fill in the gaps of thought in the West.

Japan once again seized the opportunity to change its imagery. As we have seen, in the post-war period, Japan began to export high-quality technologies such as cameras, automobiles, etc. But as anime, Nintendo, Pokemon, and more became more popular, Japan redefined its identity as an exporter of unique artistic culturerather than a global business superpower.

In 1997, the Agency for Cultural Affairs In Japan, it started supporting exhibitions of anime, manga, video games and media art. Douglas McGray, an American journalist, coined a new term in a 2002 article on foreign policy: "Japan's Gross National Cool". McGarry described the term as: "the idea that trends and commercial goods, and a country's ability to produce them, can serve political and economic ends."

However, as " Japan's "national cool" was increasing, the question was raised, what was its purpose? there are many points of view in this field and I don't want to discuss their correctness here or pretend that I have access to the exact answer. there are some ideas such as network marketing (Multi-level Marketing) that you don't need to be a historian to understand their non-contradiction and deceptiveness. But for a subject that is so sensitive and delicate, I want to present the arguments of all factions as much as possible. I cannot determine which is correct and can only express my opinion based on my findings. Now, having said these points, let's go to more obscure areas.

What was Japan's goal in promoting kawaii culture?

The most obvious question is what was Japan's goal in promoting kawaii culture? Did they want to not look as threatening as before or were there other reasons behind it? Let's look at a series of theories related to this question.

The motives behind the promotion of kawaii have various reasons. Perhaps this culture made the world see Japan differently, but some have speculated that the main reason behind it was to keep the war crimes that Japan committed during World War II a secret.

However, historical evidence there is a lot that proves the occurrence of these war crimes, and according to some of these documents, it was actually the United States that secretly arranged deals with a series of doctors of imperialist Japan. In exchange for exclusive access to these doctors' biological warfare data, America promised them legal immunity for the deadly experiments they conducted on humans. America and its allies severely punished Nazi doctors for the same experiments that Japanese doctors did, but perhaps using the results of Nazi experiments - due to their proximity to the Western world - was too controversial and sensitive.

Documents there is a lot that proves that the US ignored Japan's war crimes for its own interests, so considering the efforts of the US in this field, I don't think it was necessary to promote kawaii culture to cover up these crimes. This conspiracy theory that Hello Kitty was created to cover up Japan's war crimes doesn't make sense, because America itself did it for Japan.

Also keep this in mind. In the early stages, otaku and kawaii culture spread through word of mouth among people, so this cultural change to transform the face of Japan was more of an attempt to renew the brand than to hide the crimes of the past.

Now, as mentioned, there is a lot of debate about this matter. Norihiro Kato, in an article for the New York Times titled From Anne Frank to Hello Kitty, wrote:

When you make something or someone look cute, it's a way of making yourself protective and Become your guardian and disarm that thing or person in a non-hostile way. A famous example of this happened in 1988, when high school girls remarked that Emperor Hirohito was dying; Addressing Emperor Hirohito as Kawai is to absolve him of the responsibility he had for Japan's entry into the war. Hello Kitty, a white cat with a pink ribbon on her ear, is the biggest symbol of cuteness culture in Japan; He has no background, no mouth. She represents the desire to run away from history and avoid talking about it.

From what I've heard, Hello Kitty was designed to have ambiguous emotions so that consumers could project whatever emotions they personally felt onto her face. do Of course, I'm not saying that Hello Kitty can't be seen as a desire to escape from history, but I don't think that was the purpose of her design.

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Cato mentions other interesting points in the continuation of his article. It is quoted from him:

Japan also made Anne Frank cute. In January of this year [2014], Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, published an article about Anne Frank's popularity in Japan. Its source was an interview with Alain Lewkowicz. Lukowitz is a French journalist who created the interactive app Anne Frank in the Land of Manga for the iPad. This is a comic strip app filled with interviews and photos. Anne Frank's story is unusually popular in Japan, but rather than her condemnation of the Holocaust or her warnings against racism, the reason for her fame is that in Japan she has become the biggest symbol of the "victim of World War II." The problem is that this is the view that the Japanese have towards themselves. He argues that because of the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan sees itself as a victim of the war, rather than one of its main perpetrators. identify with European Jews, because many people, especially young people, are surprisingly ignorant of Japan's atrocities during World War II. As Mr. Lukowitz stated in Haaretz: "[They] don't think about the countless francs that their soldiers made in Korea and China in the same years.

I find this argument persuasive, but I think it's more complicated than that. It's words. The face of Anne Frank in Japan is another example of the cythicization of unresolved issues left over from the war. As noted in the Haaretz article, Anne Frank's diary has achieved extraordinary popularity not only through translations of the book itself, but also through at least four manga and three animated films. These movies and manga tell the story of a girl in a cute way, as cute as Hello Kitty is.

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I can understand why this trend seems so alarming. Categorizing Anne Frank does not do justice to the horrors she experienced. However, some people may argue that these works help his legacy to last longer and define him for the masses.

It should be noted that many agree with Cato's opinions, but not all. In other articles, such as Anne Frank and Sadako Sasaki: Two Girls that Symbolize the Horrors of War in the Japan Times, a person like Gyotso Sato has been discussed. Sato was one of the leaders of the Hiroshima-Auschwitz peaceful marches. It is quoted from him:

We Japanese, both as criminals and victims of war, have a special duty to invite the world to peace. We experienced the atomic bombing and the occupation of our country, but at the same time, we must also think about the sin we committed - that is, aggression against other countries.

I personally agree with Sato's statement: it is possible that A country can be both a criminal and a victim. Besides, when we are talking about a country made up of many individualities, the situation will never be completely black or white. However, other arguments can be made in this context.

America dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese soil. After such an event, is it any wonder that Japan is doing its best not to appear threatening to the country that brought such a calamity to them? Is it any wonder they identify with Anne Frank and Sadako Sasaki? (Sadako Sasaki is the main character of the tragic novel Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.)

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In another article entitled Hello Kitty Isn't Just a cute Character for Kids, She Actually Comes from a Post-War Punk Movement, it is claimed that Kitty's handwriting, which we mentioned earlier, is rooted in the Japanese tendency to It didn't seem threatening to outsiders, but kawaii culture - as we know it today - had its roots in student protests by Japanese people who were fed up with old traditions and used the movement as a way to reclaim their individuality. According to what is stated in this article:

In the late 60s, revolutionary social movements were launched all over the world, and the Japanese people also participated in this movement by protesting against atomic weapons and the Vietnam War. In 1968, Japanese students took their protest to university campuses and refused to attend classes. Instead of reading their textbooks, they read manga. Although the reason for this was partly a reaction to world events, many younger people rebelled against the rigidity of traditional Japanese culture and the assumption that everyone had a predetermined role in the social hierarchy.

These protests in The 70s continued, as female students embraced their childhood innocence and tried to prevent themselves from growing up. They even resorted to using horizontal and scrolling handwriting to establish their individuality.

However, the culture of kawaii and anime eventually served to introduce a specific image of Japan to the western world. were used, but it is clear to me that this was not the original intention. Therefore, the claim that kawaii culture was invented to cover up Japan's war crimes does not fit with the existing narrative. Of course, these are the results I have received. Of course, I don't want to pass a definitive verdict on an issue that is so multifaceted and complex. gained popularity, there is no doubt that today Americans know Japan for these products. This imagery is related to the phrase we mentioned earlier: "Cool Japan". As this culture grew, the idea of redefining the country according to this new brand became stronger.

According to Douglas McGarry's article mentioned earlier, Japanese national cool was on the rise in the early 2000s, as the popularity Manga and anime were also increasing day by day. Smithsonian magazine states:

During the last decade, other countries have also joined the branding movement, using slogans such as "Incredible India" and "Drink Finland". use. Countries hope to have a share in the global economy by promoting their cultural exports. Branding of the country can also play the role of a kind of "soft power" and be a way to gain indirect power on the world stage.

Ian Condry, a cultural anthropologist at MIT University, has stated that even Something as trivial as a huge interest in Pokemon can eventually lead to an "identitarian reaction to the Japanese people." However, in his opinion, the efforts of the official authorities to use the coolness of Japan to their advantage do not end anywhere. He is quoted as saying: "Usually, there are dark and unusual works in the forefront of Japan's front, and it is unlikely that the conservative government of Japan is willing to publicly support these works." which other countries have to influence them. "But branding a country as a commercial product" is a relatively new approach, and that is why it is very different from "looking at a country through the eyes of a community of citizens".

Takahashi, The curator of art works believes that if Japan learns how to be in harmony with nature and be a peacemaker in the world, branding will not be necessary. However, the phrase "cool Japan" has caught on and Even NHK, Japan's only national broadcasting organization, produced a TV program called Cool Japan, each episode of which focuses on a specific aspect of Japanese culture.

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In the early days of the show, its focus was naturally on Japanese popular culture. It should be noted that the bursting of Japan's economic bubble in the 90s made Japan's cultural excellence both possible and necessary. The reasons for this happening are a bit complicated and may need to be addressed in a separate article, but the point is that as the financial power of the Japanese people decreased, companies turned their attention to foreign countries to find a new market for their products. But along with the spread of the idea of "cool Japan", the attention of the government was drawn to it more and more. The Japanese government started supporting the annual cosplay competition in 2005 and the best manga artists in 2007. there is no doubt that the Japanese government also liked the idea of "cool Japan". After all, who cares when there's so much to be gained from it?

If you can portray your culture in a creative and unique way, while enjoying the love of the rest of the world for your culture After the economic recession - make a profit, there is no reason not to support this movement.

On the Global Asia site:

Rumi Sakamoto (Rumi Sakamoto), university professor Japanese at the University of Auckland and a specialist in Japanese comics and popular culture, has attributed the origin of this movement to the prime ministership of Junichiro Koziumi between 2001 and 2006. According to him: "Since the administration of Mr. Koizumi and Mr. Aso, the Japanese government has been actively promoting and promoting Japanese popular culture, and this category has been taken very seriously. In times of economic recession, the idea of "culture" and "cool Japan" provided new hope for Japan's influence beyond its borders.

Marie Rosengaard, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, says. "Although cultural diplomacy has become more prominent than in the past, it is still the industry and customers who play an active role in promoting anime, manga and kawaii culture. Still, the main motivation behind the production of these products is the customers, while the government is simply trying to make a small profit from a popular item that is very visible. is the winner Culture flourishes and the government benefits from it. However, there are some East Asian countries that are not so happy with the idea of "cool Japan". Quote from a reporter named Peter Harsmen

Among the young Asians, Japan has acquired a positive image, and this contrasts deeply with the feelings of their parents and grandparents towards Japan, because they experienced the crimes of imperialist Japan in World War II. Hamsen, as evidence, points to the fact that about eighty thousand Chinese students are studying in Japan; This means that more than half of the foreign students in Japan are Chinese. If these Chinese students were only getting their information from the Chinese government, it is unlikely that this number would be so high, because the Chinese government is still focused on the crimes that the Japanese soldiers committed against the Chinese people. Hamsen argues: "Japanese popular culture and the positive image that this culture has created of this country has undoubtedly been an effective factor in the decision of many Chinese students to study in Japan."

On the other hand, Rumi Sakamoto believes that young Asians, like the aforementioned students, can distinguish between modern Japan and imperial Japan. He is quoted as saying: "I think younger people are becoming more receptive to Japan and its cultural influence. This does not mean that they have no criticism towards Japan and its past; They simply separate the government from the culture of the people and anime from foreign policy.

That seems to be the real answer. If you enjoy parts of Japanese culture, this is not the determining factor in whether or not you will identify with Japan, but it is important to separate these issues from the country's foreign policy and past. If all one knows about Japan is anime, one cannot comment on the international conflicts that have taken place there.

By comparison, while Disney is a huge part of US culture, the Smithsonian magazine in an article How Disney Came to Define What Constitutes the American Experience even argued that Disney defines and determines the "American experience". However, Disney should not become the main factor in shaping people's view of America.

Of course, I am not saying that Disney and anime/kawaii culture are perfectly comparable, because the scale of their activities and influence are similar. it is different. But in this particular situation, it is the best comparison I can make to express my point. Now that we understand what "cool Japan" is, let's see how it has grown and been promoted over the past decade.

Creative Industries Promotion Office

In June 2010, a new Creative Industries Promotion Office was established, according to Japan Time. This office is the "Cool Japan Advisory Council" and its purpose lies in its name: to keep Japan cool.

At that time, according to CNN, the Japanese government decided to invest $237 million in the field of creative arts to keep this industry thriving. This report states:

Mika Takagi is the deputy director of the Creative Industries Promotion Office - or in other words, the Cool Japan Office. This government agency is tasked with making Japan's cultural industries (such as anime, graphic design, film, fashion, etc.) more profitable.

Takagi told CNN: "Japan has a unique culture... [but] if the cultural industries Compare with other money-making industries, you will see that these industries do not make much money." He added: "We want to invest more in these cultural categories and transfer the uniqueness of Japanese culture to Japanese products. .

Unfortunately, these plans did not come to fruition, and most of the articles I saw recently about the Cool Japan council were negative. Of course, I don't live in Japan, and maybe Japanese-speaking sources say otherwise, but the Japan Times itself headlined in 2018: "After four years, the 4.4 billion yen budget of 'Cool Japan' has not yielded significant results."

In my opinion, one of the reasons for this is the way "cool Japan" came about from the beginning. Anime, kawaii and manga culture all spread from the people. This is not a power that the government has. That's why "Cool Japan" hasn't achieved the huge success you might expect.

Mizuki Takahashi, the exhibition director we mentioned earlier, said that the timing of the key to the Cool Japan project is also wrong. Was. According to Smithsonian Magazine: "It was May 2011 and Mizuki Takahashi couldn't believe the irony of the situation. Until two months ago, his country experienced three disasters in a row: an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear fuel meltdown. But now he was reading a report from the Ministry of Economy of Japan, in which the idea of revitalizing the country was advertised under the brand of "Cool Japan". Takashi noted that at that moment, the Fukushima nuclear reactors did not seem "cool" at all.

Soon after these three disasters, it was estimated that the economic damage left from them was something around 250 to 500 billion dollars. Was. Therefore, that moment was not the right time to promote the idea of "cool Japan". However, when the project was funded in 2013 and people felt positive about expanding their culture, it didn't take long for them to be disappointed.

In a report in Japan The Times said:

Two years later, in 2015, the only achievement of "Cool Japan" was complete silence, to the extent that even the tasteful musician and celebrity Gackt became angry and railed against an institution that once promised He had given support to the music industry, but criticized it harshly. The Japanese government again tried to support this under the guise of the "Cool Japan" project, but although a large budget had been set aside for this purpose, the government had no idea what the money should be spent on. It's no exaggeration to say that this funding was a huge amount of people's wasted tax dollars going to unknown corporations.

In 2015, if you were to search for the website "Cool Japan", instead of advertising for the Naruto musical that It had a global performance that year, you could see abacus and magic ads. Some of their big investments in 2017 include the creation of the Waku Waku Japan satellite channel, which broadcasts Japanese programs 24 hours a day.

BingMag.com The <b>dark</b> <b>half</b> of <b>kawaii</b> <b>culture;</b> Is <b>there</b> a <b>terrible</b> <b>secret</b> <b>behind</b> <b>cute</b> <b>Japanese</b> <b>anime</b> and games?

Japan Today was optimistic about these plans, but others, such as the author of the article "Cool Japan's big Ambitions Mostly Fall Flat" in Nikkei Asia, believed that the program Money is haram. For example, using this budget, a shop for selling Japanese products was established in Malaysia, and this shop suffered a huge loss in its first period of operation from June to April.

BingMag.com The <b>dark</b> <b>half</b> of <b>kawaii</b> <b>culture;</b> Is <b>there</b> a <b>terrible</b> <b>secret</b> <b>behind</b> <b>cute</b> <b>Japanese</b> <b>anime</b> and games?

Although the "Cool Japan" project had invested about 50 billion yen in 24 different projects, internal documents show that 10 of the 18 projects failed to reach the expected sales.

As stated by Japan Today, the people involved in the decision on the allocation of funds should focus on shops that have already managed to acquire foreign customers, rather than opening Japanese shops in other countries. For example, Yoshinoya, a Japanese fast food restaurant has a number of overseas customers, so it was a better option for investment.

Another suggestion that Japan Today put forward was to have an annual display of popular culture products at the branch. The Japanese Universal Studios (Universal Studios Japan) could use this capital well. However, many tourists participate in the programs of the Japanese branch of Universal Studios, so this proposal - at least on paper - seems like a good idea. Japan Today's suggestions seem to make the most sense of the projects that the "Cool Japan" budget has been spent on so far.

Overall, I found this very interesting. I understand that this article was just a generalist view on this topic and when we are talking about the culture of a country and the way it spread, it is impossible to cover all aspects in an article of this size. However, when I realized how manga, anime, and video games were used as a way to brand Japan in the Western world, I became very interested. That's why I wanted to dig deeper and see what the truth is behind it. I hope this article has helped you to find out the truth behind the story.

Source: iilluminaughtii YouTube channel

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