Government’s “Cool Japan” Promotion Strategies Criticized

Cool Japan and Japanese content creators

As the Abe administration continues to pursue its “Cool Japan” strategy as a means of expanding Japanese cultural influence overseas, it has been suggested during a meeting to discuss how to proceed that Japanese content creators — those who produce anime, art, fashion and so on — pool their skills and resources to further the cause. And that they should do it for free. There was also a proposal that “Cool Japan” schools be set up in other Asian countries.

In particular, AKB48 producer Akimoto Yasushi has come under fire from netizens using Twitter for proposing that people who already work in notoriously precarious industries and often receive low wages for considerable periods of their career might work for the state without compensation.

What do you think? Should Japanese content creators back “Cool Japan” for the sake of the nation? Will “Cool Japan” schools help to spread Japanese culture abroad?

From Yahoo! Japan:

Form Group of Japanese Content Creators To Promote ‘Cool Japan’, Says Government

On April 3, the government held a meeting for the promotion of ‘Cool Japan’, and discussed specific strategies in order to sell Japanese food, anime, and fashion to foreign countries as part of ‘Cool Japan’. As a citizen representative, AKB48 producer Akimoto Yasushi pointed out that “we should ask distinguished creators throughout Japan to take one for the team”. He suggested that those in the fields of anime and art be asked to co-operate in creating posters and catch phrases without pay.

Kadokawa Tsuguhiko, CEO of Kadokawa Group Holdings proposed that they use so-called overseas ‘otaku’ who have been influenced by Japanese anime as teachers, saying “We should establish at least ten schools in places like Singapore and Indonesia that will teach ‘Cool Japan'”. The master of Urasenke school of tea ceremonies, Sen Soushitsu, suggested “How about sending students who are studying the Japanese tea ceremony abroad?”

The “Cool Japan” Promotion Council will gather the recommendations over the next month, and the government intends to reflect on a growth strategy which will be compiled in June.

Comments from Twitter:


Don’t they have any respect for craftspeople? RT @montserrat5: How about Akimoto himself taking the initiative and dragging 48 people along with him on a world tour? Without payment.


Who the hell is going to do it for free….


I had a feeling this would trend and lo and behold it did.


A clearly commercial and thinly-veiled hustle like Akimoto suggests is going to lower the value of Japan’s creativity, so please, don’t do this.

きらもりこ/moriko kira:

If this is being led by the government, then at any rate it’s going to end up being weird. I don’t really get it. If you’re trying to sell something that you have to sell it, that’s that. How are they going to get things supplied for free?

リックドム :

To get creators to co-operate without payment? I mean, when there are so many of them who get such low wages to say that they should be asked to help for free…isn’t that too much?

hiroxxx *(BREAKERS)*:

This failed the moment they selected Akimoto as a citizen representative.


So fed up with this I have nothing to say…


When I woke up early this morning and read this, the words that came out of my mouth were “This is idiotic”(´Д` )


If we’re talking about doing stuff for free, then you do it first, Akimoto (Yasushi).

Syamo / Cubase:

Creators should do it without being paid??? Is this pig fucking joking?


So the kind of “Cool Japan” that the government is talking about, that proposes unpaid labour that begins with this idea of “overtime as service”? I see, I see. This country’s in a league of it’s own, it basically doesn’t ratify any treaties relating to labour.


Schools that teach “Cool Japan”??????


Who the hell is going to do that on a voluntary basis…they must be fucking kidding.


So “Cool Japan” really meant “Cool” in the sense of “Callous Japan”, then…?(´ω`)


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