Compared to South Korea’s success in exporting pop culture, “Cool Japan,” the nation’s 10-year old initiative to do the same has been ridiculed as full of talk with no real action. But thanks to Tokyo’s triumphant bid to host the 2020 Olympics, “Cool Japan” might just soon see real action in promoting Japanese pop culture to the world.
On March 18, Administrative Reform Minister Tomomi Inada announced the re-launch of the initiative in the run-up to the Olympics. Notable personalities from different fields such as fashion, music, television and academia will be chosen to create a panel that would come up with recommendations on how to promote J-Pop culture. This comes as the independent government agency engaged in advocating Japanese exports since 1951, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Cool Japan Fund partner with each other to promote Japanese cultural products and services abroad. The Cool Japan Fund has received financial support of 30 billion yen from the government and 7.5 billion yen from private firms last year in support of the initiative.
The two agencies hope to boost Japan’s economy “by joining forces to develop new demand abroad, nurture industries and effectively transmit Japan’s coolnes” to foreign supporters. One target is the rest of Asia, which already has a fan base for J-Pop culture. JETRO’s 73 offices overseas and a range of business contacts will be a big help in finding foreign partners for Cool Japan Fund’s clients. They hope to broadcast more Japanese anime and TV shows to other countries, but details are still being ironed out. Recently, JETRO organized a business summit with 11 foreign companies at the Anime Japan 2014 trade fair to help market anime abroad and facilitate co-productions with local and foreign companies. Cool Japan Fund president Nobuyuki Ota is excited with the prospects of the partnership. “Using our shared know-how, we will be able to make the world even more aware of the coolness of Japan,” he said.