Asian & Asian American Studies

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Exporting Japanese Aesthetics

Evolution from Tradition to Cool Japan

Tets Kimura teaches Creative Art at Flinders University.

Jennifer Harris has a PhD focusing on the 19th century formation of Japanese art collections. She teaches Japanese Art History at the University of Adelaide.

Exporting Japanese Aesthetics brings together historical and contemporary case studies addressing the evolution of international impacts and influences of Japanese culture and aesthetics. The volume draws on a wide range of examples from a multidisciplinary team of scholars exploring transnational, regional and global contexts. Studies include the impact of traditional Japanese theatre and art through to the global popularity of contemporary anime and manga. Under the banner of “soft power” or “Cool Japan”, cultural commodities that originate in Japan have manifested new meanings outside Japan. By (re)mapping meanings of selected Japanese cultural forms, this volume offers an in-depth examination of how various aspects of Japanese aesthetics have evolved as exportable commodities, the motivations behind this diffusion, and the extent to which the process of diffusion has been the result of strategic planning.

Each chapter presents a case study that explores perspectives that situate Japanese aesthetics within a wide-ranging field of inquiry including performance, tourism, and visual arts, as well as providing historical contexts. The importance of interrogating the export of Japanese aesthetics is validated at the highest levels of government, which formed the Office of Cool Japan in 2010, and which perhaps originated in the 19th Century at governmentally endorsed cultural “courts” at world’s fairs. Increased international consumption of contemporary Japanese culture provides a much needed boost to Japan’s weakening economy.

The case studies are timely and topical. As host of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2025 Osaka Expo, “Cool Japan” will be under special scrutiny.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-001-9
Hardback Price: £75.00 / $89.95
Release Date: February 2020
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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