Tim Craig’sCool 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.
Tim Craig’s Cool Japan is an excellent study in nearly everything a student of Japanese pop culture will want to know more of and get answers to those aspects he or she is afraid to ask.
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Tim Craig’s Cool Japan is an excellent study in nearly everything a student of Japanese pop culture will want to know more of and get answers to those aspects he or she is afraid to ask. If the product can be exported out of the country to experience then it is explored here. Specific companies are examined in this collection of essays, and the big three — traditional culture, popular culture and business — are looked at in synchronicity. The topics include nearly every aspect of the entertainment scene. Foodies will take delight in two chapters too (more on this later).
From the music industry to Sumo culture and even video games, the breadth of knowledge this author reveals (some units are in collaboration with others) is amazing. To take a look at the differences between Japanese games and Western ones is just one tiny part of this particular chapter. Not everyone knows about the details behind the merger of Square(soft) and Enix, and what it meant from a financial standpoint.
The title of this publication is aptly named as it is also the name of the initiative the Japanese government started back in 2010. The goal is to broaden the greatness of this country’s most exportable products and “capitalize commercially on the worldwide popularity of Japanese manga, anime, film, TV dramas, fashion, food, and other cultural products. It was also a response to the widely noted fact that—despite exceptions like Pokémon, Studio Ghibli and Sanrio’s Hello Kitty—Japan’s cultural industries were underperforming internationally. Despite the global popularity of their products, Japan’s cultural creators were earning far less than their counterparts in the United States and South Korea.”