Japan grows its soft power through the export of kawaii

by Dana on January 29, 2010

China is but an amateur when it comes to cultural exports, Japan has been at this for decades!

What started out as an uniquely Japanese obsession found success first in the Asian market in the early 90s, has now crossed the continent.  The industry of cute now receives the same kind of state support and heavy-duty marketing push once reserved for keiretsu.

Check out Japan’s new Kawaii Ambassadors, appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And why not?  Effectively disarmed after WWII with little room to project its political will, and increasingly marginalized on the economics front by rising stars China and India in recent years, Japan has turned to exercising “soft power”, through the export of culture and technology.

“Japan stands out in terms of its international influence in pop culture, and we need to find a means to enhance this advantage, ” said former Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Yoshikazu Tarui, who headed a group of parliamentarians seeking to promote Japan’s video games, animated characters and digital content.

I can almost hear the sound of marketing machines churning in the background.  The student has overtaken the teacher, America should be so proud!

(h/t Tim Oren)

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