In the Closet: Japanese Creative Industries and their Reluctance to Forge Global and Transnational Linkages in ASEAN and East Asia
This paper addresses rarely asked questions: is Cool Japan a creative industries policy and, if so, what kind of creative industries policy is it? It addresses these questions by examining Cool Japan’s differences from the UK derived and globally very influential creative industries model. The paper will try to make sense of these differences by looking at how the Japanese creative industries comprise businesses of different sizes with a varied history and prestige, how those companies have complex and contrasting relationships with various state organisations, and how the forces of globalisation and its free-market and neo-liberal economic ideologies affect companies in various sectors differently. This will challenge the dominant narrative of Japanese Creative Industries and Cool Japan in which, it is generally believed, the former embraces globalisation and digitalisation, and the latter is responsible for broadening the appeal of Japanese popular culture abroad. This paper reveals the complexity and diversity of the creative industries from socio-cultural and politico-economic perspectives often overlooked in the Cool Japan discourse.