Whoever speaks of administration speaks of national branding… Creative industries and Japanese cultural policy

Prof. Koichi IWABUCHI
Director and Professor, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Australia

Creative industries has attracted much attention of the Anglophone academia, both positively and negatively, supportingly and dismissingly. In East Asia, the notion of creative industries also captures the attention of policy makers, industries and academics but differently. In Japan, while sharing a global trend of the increasing policy concern with the marketization of media culture, it accompanies a strong emphasis on the enhancement of cultural diplomacy and soft power of the nation-state. This makes the Japanese policy discussion fundamentally disengage the issue of democratization in the digital age, which is a contentious one in the discussion of creative industries. In reality, however, the Japanese media culture industries confront globally shared problems such as market economy’s takeover of culture and precarious labor conditions. The Japanese case also exposes the issue of cultural diversity and creative industries in its own way, which highlights a fundamental question of how cultural policy discussion critically engages with “cultural” matters.