Tim Craig’s Cool Japan 2nd Edition (Amazon USA link) is a very welcome update to looking at what’s trending, and how it affects the industry. The term was coined circa 2005 and when this look “Inside Japan’s Cultural and Creative Industries” can change overnight due to many influences–be it on a global scale or amid crisis–the effects are often longer term than a return to form.
The fast and furious industries in the business side of Japanese side entertainment–ranging from anime fandom to J-pop to manga and sumo (to name a few)–are not the only industries affected by change. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry coined the term.
Like the original edition, it’s written for folks who want a deeper look into the industry and it’s a perfect textbook to use not only in a high school level but also academic. Two new chapters–”Shesha and the Manga Industry Face a Midlife Crisis” and “Japanese Comedy: Entertainment Powerhouse Yoshimoto Kogyo Shaken by Scandal”– fill in the years between this edition and last. For the other chapters, addendums and what’s happening now are added to reveal whether or not projects like the Cool Japan strategy works.
To see where newer products fit in is still uncertain. When it comes to analyzing Japan’s love for Sanrio and the kawaii, Aggretsuko is still relatively new. She represents what life is in modern Japanese society, and in another type of study I’d love to know more from a psycho and socio-analytical level than a business standpoint which Cool Japan sticks by.
As far as video games are concerned, the numbers take center stage in this update. The geeks of Asia are still the largest consumer, and this update nicely sums up which device holds the most dominance in a very crowded field. According to this Craig’s analysis, desktop and mobile gaming take the top tier.
As with any study, it requires updates as time goes by. When scandals rock the marketplace, it might change the course of things to come. It’s hard to say for an industry where the consumer’s tastes can change like the wind. As for how 2020 will pan out, I’m sure a third edition is being considered. Craig revealed, “Like everywhere else in the world, authorities and ordinary people are trying to figure out how to deal [with the coronavirus panic], and trying to figure out what ‘sensible caution’ looks like. Here in Japan, many major concerts and events large and small have been cancelled. Movie Pop are empty, restaurants and stores less crowded than usual.”
“It’s hard to find any business that isn’t hurting some, and that for sure includes entertainment industry businesses and events,” finished Craig.
To see how the Cool Japan initiative will look like 20 years later will no doubt see a third edition by Craig and his team of analysts.
To read the original review, please click here.