Japanese vs American cultural influence in Asia

Stephen Cremin asianfilmlibrary at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 9 14:40:26 EST 1999

I guess this follows on from the Pokemon debate in some way, cultural 
deoderant and all that...

I had dinner the other night with some list members, and there was the 
assertion that Japanese culture is now more dominant than American culture 
in Hong Kong.  Would anyone agree with that or have points to make about the 
position of Japanese influence in Taiwan, Korea, etc?

What's very clear is that Japanese culture is quite "distorted" in Hong 
Kong.  Perhaps "filtered" is a better word ... not "adapted".  For example, 
one couldn't imagine Toyokawa Etsushi or Asano Tadanobu being cultural icons 
in Hong Kong.  Its a certain kind of Japanese culture that travels: Utada 
Hikaru, etc.  And is it purely teen culture or something more lasting.  I'm 
also amazed that Japanese fashion doesn't have such a strong influence in 
Korea: at least loose socked schoolgirls and cowgirls don't prowl the 
streets of Myungdong or Hyehwa.  Fashion being a cultural form that can't so 
easily be blocked by quotas and other government regulations.

Of course, culture always adapts when it travels, but any specific comments 
relating to film!  I do sense a turning point this year in terms of 
"inter-Asian film culture influence" ... if that phrase makes sense.  And 
are there models within Asia that foreign festival programmers and 
distributors can pick up on when presenting Japanese film abroad?  I also 
sense a generational shift this year in terms of who's "controlling" Asian 
film internationally, something that was particularly clear during Pusan.

Stephen Cremin

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