Did Manga Conquer America? Implications For The Cultural Policy Of Cool Japan

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Casey BRIENZA , City University London, United Kingdom
This paper explores the efficacy of an international cultural policy based upon the export of a nation’s popular culture through the case study of Japanese comic books, called manga, in the United States. I begin by exploring the origin of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of “Cool Japan” and providing a concise account of the Japanese cultural policies in this vein. Then, drawing upon participant-observation and seventy in-depth, semi-structured interviews from informants in and around the American manga publishing industry, I discuss in detail what is actually involved in publishing Japanese comic books in the United States post-2007. Arguing that what they do is first and foremost to make manga American, I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the likely fortunes of “Cool Japan” and any other cultural policy premised upon exporting popular culture.