Japan wants the world to know just how cool it is. Last year, the Japanese government created the Cool Japan Fund, an organization tasked with helping businesses expand overseas, backed by an initial investment of several billion dollars. There is some irony at work here—an eagerness to promote something as trendy usually signals the opposite—but for years the country's efforts have paid off. The country's pop-culture creations have captured foreign attention since the end of World War II. The first big boom in Japanese pop culture came in the 80s thanks to the rise of Nintendo, Hello Kitty, and anime—with the latter playing a central role in the following decades as shows such as Dragonball Z , Sailor Moon, and Pokemon became staples of thousands of kids' daily routines.
Japan is cool but has no clue about selling itself
Can Japan Prove Its Cool Factor to the Rest of the World? - The Atlantic
Japan is a country rich in culture and history and also a leading center of design and innovation. From traditional crafts with a modern appeal to gourmet foods and cutting-edge textiles, Japan is redefining its reputation as a pioneer in design, fashion, entertainment and foods. It is in such a country that JETRO finds unique and attractive products and services to be showcased all over the world. Japan can offer a wide variety of safe, delicious and high-quality food and beverages. In addition to sushi and sake, processed foods, fruit, vegetables, livestock and marine products are gaining ever more acclaim around the world.
Cool Japan Fund CEO on what’s uncool about how Japan handles its cool
Ever since the Japanese government first began discussing the idea of promoting Gross National Cool as a national resource back in the early s, the discussion on how Japan should stand out on the global stage and how it should promote its culture abroad, has never lost its momentum. In , the country went as far as to establish the Cool Japan Fund, the only public-private company to actively promote Japanese brands overseas by investing billions of yen in businesses that show Japan in its best light abroad in fields stretching from media to food and fashion. Currently in its third year, the fund has invested in 19 projects, including the highly successful pop culture media Tokyo Otaku Mode, the WakuWaku Japan, a TV channel broadcasting Japanese contents in foreign languages, and the most recent project, the Isetan - The Japan Store shopping complex, which opened in Malaysia in October One of the key issues behind this, argues Cool Japan Fund CEO Nobuyuki Ota, is that Japan still lacks what it takes to promote itself as good as the severe global competition demands — a cement ceiling he is on a mission to break.
It is hoped that the increased presence of Japanese cultural products will attract more international travelers and boost domestic tourism, METI said. Yes, but their global expansion has been scattershot, a disorganized approach that has not significantly cultivated merchandising opportunities. In many cases, such creative industries are represented by small and midsize firms that often lack the wherewithal or finances to run a global operation, said Saeko Tani, chief administrator of Creative Industries Division. For example Japanese fashion magazines for women are popular in China, but not many designers and apparel makers have entered that market despite the business potential, Tani said.