Speaking to the delegates of Jenesys 2.0, a program of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) and the Japan International Cooperation Center, assistant professor at Meiji University Renato Rivera Rusca said the success of Japanese pop culture, which includes things like anime, fashion, and entertainment, globally is the “careful balance between foreign and Japanese sensibilities.”
Citing one of the original Pokemon movies in his lecture, entitled “Transition and Present Situation of Japanese Pop Culture,” Rusca said that the makers of the 1999 hit changed some of the details from the original Japanese which might confuse or be unclear to foreign viewers. He further stated that, “the change was made to eliminate these shades of gray in the worldwide release and make the movie easier for kids to understand,” as the country continues to merge “the two images of Japan together – the ‘creative’ and the ‘industrial.’”
Starting the “Cool Japan” or “Creative Industries Promotion Office” in 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aims to promote the culture and arts as a strategic sector of the country with the help of “Cute Ambassadors”, J-Pop music, and Lolita & Harajuku fashion being spread throughout the globe.
The lecture was part of a 2-week cultural immersion of around 260 invited young people from different countries, with the delegates being split into different groups per prefecture. Museum visits, Japanese school exposures including the Kobe City College of Technology and actual Kendo being taught were just some of the highlights of the immersion, with the program including a “homestay” affair where delegates will live with Japanese families. Senior Assistant to the Managing Director of the International Exchange Department of the Japan International Cooperation Center, Erito Uchiyama said that the country aims to promote stronger ties with ASEAN youth through this program.