Move over water bottle panties, it’s time to dress up your drinks with a fashionable over-the-shoulder sweater that takes its styling cues from Beat Takeshi.
When you think of “cool Japan,” it’s hard to overlook ninjas, those stealthy spies and assassins with more tricks up their sleeve than a magician in a parka. And yet it seems these timeless icons of Japanese culture have largely been overlooked by the national government’s Cool Japan in favor of AKB48 spin-offs and abacuses.
So instead, a band of 11 Japanese governors and mayors have assembled to create the Japan Ninja Council (JNC) with the sole aim of reminding everyone how cool ninjas are. Having officially launched on 9 October they aim to collect every bit of information on ninjas, including their history and culture, and provide it to anyone who wants to learn more about these elusive figures.
It’s been recently announced that AKB Group, the idol conglomerate responsible for AKB48, NMB48, SKE48, HKT48, NGT48, JKT48, and SNH48, will be adding another serial number to the roster in the form of MNL48, which is planned to operate out of Manila in the Philippines.
This new group will be formed through a project by the publicly funded Cool Japan initiative which, contrary to what Gackt may think, appears to be doing something tangible with all their funding after all. In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.
While visiting friends who were a part of the recent Naruto stage production, Japanese film and music star Gackt was left with a bad feeling. Having watched one of the overseas Naruto performances, the singer couldn’t help but notice the lack of people in the audience.
Gackt doesn’t rule out possible flaws with the play such as too much material crammed into a short time. However, as he wrote in a recent impassioned blog post, he thinks the real culprit may be the Japanese government and their Cool Japan promotional program, which he feels is anything but.
The “Cool Japan Promotion Organization,” an organization dedicated to bringing traditional and popular Japanese culture to countries overseas through various business projects, has announced their plans to open a Japanese mall in the Chinese city of Ningbo, Zhejiang. The mall will provide shoppers with a unique Japanese shopping experience, including clothing stores and anime theaters, alongside other distinctly Japanese businesses.
With the rise of “Cool Japan” as a major part of both the Japanese economic and governmental policy, it’s hardly surprising that so much effort has gone into encouraging tourism. But really, they don’t need to focus on getting people to come…after all, who hasn’t watched an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and not wanted to come to Tokyo!?
But once you’ve settled into your hotel room and slept off the jet lag, then what? Sure, you could just go outside and wander around until you stumbled over a cat cafe, but if your time in the city is limited, you want to do your sightseeing (and souvenir purchasing) efficiently. And for those of you who already live here or are planning for an extended stay, you might be looking for something new to do on the weekend. If so, it might be time for you to check out this new website called 100 Tokyo!
Japanese exporters may have been suffering lately, but Japan still has one major export up its sleeve: Cool.
And now there’s a new strategy for spreading Cool Japan across the world. Up until now businesses haven’t really connected with what’s popular, but from here on a new public-private initiative will use “big data” to more comprehensively measure and predict the foreign appetite for Japanese culture. Read More
Ever since Japan started its whole Cool Japan kick, it’s been pushing manga and anime to a world-wide audience like never before. Near the forefront of it all is the software program turned pop icon, Vocaloid, with Hatsune Miku stealing most of the spotlight. Just last week, more than 20 real-life Mikus gathered together at a park in Kaohsiung, Taiwan! It was a truly magnificent spectacle, perhaps the highlight of our year thus far. Read More