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Regionalizing Culture

Regionalizing Culture: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia

Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Regionalizing Culture
    Book Description:

    This ambitious work provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded study of the production, circulation, and reception of Japanese popular culture in Asia. While many studies typically employ an interactive approach that focuses on the "meaning" of popular culture from an anthropological or cultural studies point of view,Regionalizing Cultureemphasizes that the consumption side and contextual meaning of popular culture are not the only salient factors in accounting for the proliferation of popular cultural products-the production side and organizational aspects are also important. In addition to presenting individual case studies, the book offers a big-picture view of the dramatic changes that have taken place in popular culture production and circulation in Asia over the past two decades.The author has gleaned information from primary sources in Japanese, English, and other languages; research visits to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Seoul; as well as insights of people with firsthand knowledge from within the cultural industries. From this broad range of source, he develops an integrative political economic approach to popular culture. Regionalizing Culture offers a dialectical look at the organization of cultural production, primarily at the structure and control of cultural industries, interconnections between companies and production networks, and relations between the business sector and the state. It traces the rise of Japan as a popular culture powerhouse and the expansion of its cultural industries into Asian markets. It looks as well at the creation of markets for Japanese cultural commodities since the late 1980s, the industrial and normative impact that Japanese cultural industries have on the structure of the local cultural industries, and the wider implications these processes have for the Asian region.The growing popularity and importance of Japan's popular culture will make this book a basic text for scholars and students of popular culture as well as for those interested in political economy, media and communication studies, Japanese-Asian relations, Asian studies, and international relations.Nissim Kadosh Otmazginis lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-3906-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin
  4. INTRODUCTION: Popular Culture and Regionalization
    (pp. xv-xxvi)

    During the past two decades, Japanese popular culture products have been widely disseminated and consumed throughout East Asia.¹ As a visitor to any of the region’s big cities can easily observe, Japanese popular culture is widely available as part of a confluence of American, Chinese, Korean, and other popular cultures. Many of the fashion journals sold in Hong Kong are from Japan, whether in the original Japanese or in a translated Cantonese edition. In virtually every big city in East Asia there are shops that specialize in Japanese-style clothing and accessories, updated with the latest fashions from Tokyo. Japanese comic...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Political Economy of Popular Culture
    (pp. 1-17)

    This book is about the political economy of Japanese popular culture within East Asia. By “political economy,” I mean the relationship between economic matters (such as the workings of markets) and political affairs (such as the decisions of government agencies). I use the term “popular culture” to refer to commercial cultural commodities, such as television dramas, music, and animation, and their derivative products (such as games, foods, magazines, toys, accessories, or stationery) and spin-offs (such as DVDs and video-on-demand). By “East Asia,” I refer to urban areas of both Northeast and Southeast Asia.

    The focus of this book is on...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Popular Culture and the East Asian Region
    (pp. 18-50)

    Throughout most of the twentieth century, “East Asia” was a relatively divided region.¹ Apart from the geographical entity, East Asia existed as a construct of the mind and as the object of attempts to force or promote solidarity among Asian people.² As a matter of custom, many people tend to draw the boundary of East Asia along the western coasts of Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, leaving out the South Asian subcontinent (Purnendra 2000, 208). Geographically speaking, East Asia consists of a land mass that includes Mongolia, the Russian Far East, the Korean Peninsula, China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam,...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Japan’s Popular Culture Powerhouse
    (pp. 51-89)

    It is no exaggeration to say that the world’s interest in and admiration for Japanese popular culture has grown dramatically in the past two decades. The reach of Japan’s popular culture extends far beyond the island nation’s borders; keen interest in Japanese popular culture commodities, especially anime, manga, and video games, is evident not just in neighboring countries, but also in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa. A large increase in the number of students learning Japanese is an indication of the world’s fascination with Japanese popular culture. According to the Japan Foundation (2011), Japanese language studies have...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The Creation of a Regional Market
    (pp. 90-124)

    Japanese popular culture products have been influential in East Asia as far back as the late 1970s, in both legal and pirated versions (Ching 1996; Ishii 2001). One example is the hit drama seriesOshin,which was aired in more than thirty countries, mostly within Asia. Another example isDoraemon,an animated cartoon about a robot cat, which became enormously popular among young audiences in the 1980s. There are, however, important qualitative and quantitative differences between the popularity of Japanese popular culture products in the 1970s and those of the 1990s. In the 1970s, the non-Japanese audience for Japanese music...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Japan’s Regional Model
    (pp. 125-160)

    The importance of Japanese cultural industries to the regionalization process in East Asia lies not only in the creation of new markets for popular culture commodities and in establishing collaboration with local companies, but also in serving as a model and in propagating a regionwide transformation of structural arrangements to commodify and commercialize popular culture. This position of Japan as a model for popular culture production was established both through Japanese companies’ active introduction of cultural production formats to local markets and through the emulation of the Japanese example by local cultural industries. The result is that much of today’s...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Conclusion: Japanese Popular Culture and the Making of East Asia
    (pp. 161-184)

    Let me paint for you ten pictures: first, youngsters in Hong Kong sharing the latest anime series, which they just downloaded from the Internet; second, a Taiwanese housewife watching a trendy Japanese drama on cable television; third, a Japanese female vocalist singing in front of an excited crowd at the Pattaya International Music Festival in Thailand; fourth, a group of Chinese fans translating a Japanese comic book into Mandarin; fifth, a young Indonesian girl showing her friends the Japanese fashion magazine she just bought from a street vendor in Jakarta; sixth, young Malaysians, inspired by their fascination with Japanese video...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 185-196)
    (pp. 197-220)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 221-230)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-231)