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Cool Japan Strategy

Jasmine, A girl finds her passion in investigating facts and uncovering the curtains

Cover of Tv series “Cool japan” - 2005

Cover of Tv series “Cool japan” - 2005

Cool japan

Cool Japan, proposed by Tomoyuki Sugiyama, president of Japan's "Digital Hollywood University", is a new vocabulary to describe Japanese modern culture. It is to take the export of "cool Japan" culture as a national policy, and cultivate more "Japanese game fans" and "Japanese anime fans" in the world. Japan hopes to promote Japan's economic development by developing "new cultural industries" and changing "product export" to "cultural export". The Cool Japan strategy aims to promote the unique domestic culture that covers everything from games, manga, anime and other forms of content, fashion, commercial products, Japanese cuisine and traditional culture to robotics, eco-friendly technology and other high-tech industrial products," e.g. One Piece, Hokage Ninja, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Kawaii Fashion, Japanese Cuisine, Traditional Japanese Crafts and Potted Plants.


Tomoyuki Sugiyama, president of Digital Hollywood University, believes that in the future development of "new cultural industries" in Japan, the first priority is to protect intellectual property rights worldwide; the second is to improve the treatment of Japanese animation creators; in addition, all industries should be treated as The stage for the content industry, and more importantly, is to take the export of "cool Japan" culture as a national policy, and cultivate more "Japanese game fans" and "Japanese anime fans" in the world.

The youth subculture, which originated in the early postwar period, is almost as long as the history of Japan's peace construction, and its achievements are also comparable. It can be said that it starts with "bad" and "deconstruction" and ends with "interesting" and "construction". Today, those "sub" cultural "species" (such as animation, video games, etc.) that were once regarded as "non-mainstream" have not only become "elegant" cultures of course, but also the charm of the so-called "Cool Power" , and even constitutes an important soft power for Japan to survive and grow in the 21st century.


Pikachu replaces Mickey Mouse

"The United States occupies half of the world's cultural market, we should occupy the other half." At the beginning of the 21st century, when Japanese cultural merchants released this rhetoric, the new word "cool Japan" to describe Japanese modern culture was constantly appearing in the all around the world. In the face of this shock wave, the American media exclaimed that their cultural industry suffered the second "attack on Pearl Harbor". The difference is that this time Japan did not use guns, but animation and games. Japan's "Pokemon" "," Yu-Gi-Oh ", and "Pikachu" replaced "Mickey Mouse" and became the cartoon image that accompanies the growth of a new generation of children.

The rapidly developing cultural industries such as animation and games are called "content industries" in Japan. With the development of digital technology, the "content industry" has penetrated into various fields in Japan. Experts here say that it combines news, publishing, music, advertising and even mobile phones, automobiles and other industries like a skewer, and derives from it. It is a "new cultural industry" that is completely different from the cultural industry in the traditional concept, and it is a real productive force. Japan hopes to promote Japan's economic development by developing "new cultural industries" and changing "product export" to "cultural export".

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Occupy 60% of the global animation market

Japanese animation was first exported abroad in the 1960s. At that time, European and American countries bought cheap Japanese cartoons just to fill the shortage of children's programs. However, the unique charm of Japanese anime gradually conquered audiences in many countries. Statistics from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry show that nearly 60% of cartoons screened around the world are made in Japan, while South Korea believes that it accounts for 65%. In 2003, the total revenue of Japanese cartoons and related products sold to the United States was 4.359 billion US dollars, which was four times that of Japan's steel exports to the United States. Today, the animation industry in a broad sense has accounted for more than a dozen percent of Japan's GDP, making it the third largest industry in Japan.

The booming animation industry not only brings considerable economic benefits, but also has a huge impact on the overall development of the "content industry". Take 2003 as an example. This year, the market size of Japan's content industry has reached 14.7 trillion yen (1 US dollar is about 110 yen). Among them, in addition to the animation industry, including publishing, radio and television, music, cartoon image and other related industry markets The combined size exceeds 10 trillion yen.

In 2003, the Japanese government established the "Knowledge Wealth Strategy Headquarters", which officially identified "new cultural industry" as an important part of the national development strategy, relaxed restrictions on this industry, increased the budget, and improved relevant laws. At the same time, the Japanese people have also begun to actively set up animation schools, and vigorously cultivate talents and expand the creative team of animation and games through various methods such as holding animation and game competitions. Today, in Tokyo alone, there are thousands of anime and game software companies. The employees of these companies generally work 12 hours a day, and the new products they make are continuously exported abroad.

A well-known person in the Japanese animation industry once pointed out that there are various standards and restrictions in the real world, but the cultural world can break through the restrictions of time and space to create characters and plots that cannot exist in reality. There are also scholars who use the word "cool" to comment on anime images created in Japan. In contrast, the protagonists in American cartoons often have a clear distinction between good and evil, while the characters in Japanese animations are quite complex. The protagonists are naughty, lustful, lonely and even a little cruel, with unique and vivid personalities; in addition, American cartoon images Prototypes can generally be found in reality, but Japanese cartoon characters such as "Pikachu", "My Neighbor Totoro" and even the mascot of the Aichi World Expo are very abstract, giving people a novel fantasy.

Japan's "content industry" now accounts for 10.3% of the world market, but it still has concerns. The industry's annual growth rate in Japan is only 2.3%, well below the world average growth rate of 5%. At present, China is catching up with a speed of 13.1%, and Japan has already felt the pressure of competition. To this end, Japanese cultural circles have called on the government to consolidate the battlefield and create and develop a strong "new cultural industry". Take the export of "Cool Japan" culture as a national policy, and cultivate more "Japanese anime fans" in the world.

Photo: TORU HANAI/ Reuters

Photo: TORU HANAI/ Reuters

Prime Minister pushes: set as strategy

In February 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially launched the "Cool Japan Strategy" aimed at promoting Japanese food, animation and local products overseas. Abe has positioned the strategy as a driving force for economic growth, creating a new cabinet and increasing the budget. Abe said he hoped to improve its external image by showing Japan's soft power to the world and help "regain the pride and self-confidence of the Japanese".

As part of the economic growth strategy, Abe asked the relevant cabinet ministers to advance the Cool Japan Strategy at the Japan Economic Regeneration Headquarters meeting on January 25, 2013. The 2012 supplementary budget and the 2013 budget included 33.6 billion yen and 25.4 billion yen respectively, which greatly exceeded the 16.3 billion yen when the Democratic Party prepared the 2012 budget.

In addition to holding international events, the Japanese government will also consider allowing cabinet ministers to promote their hometown products when they visit. A government official pointed out: “If one’s own culture is recognized by the world, it will give the people confidence. It is necessary to make it go hand in hand with economic revitalization.

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