Taking Japan Seriously Again: The Cultural Economy of Glocalisation and Self-Orientalisation

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Koji KOBAYASHI , College of Physical Education, Lincoln University, Hwaseong-Si, New Zealand
Although Japan’s economic presence has declined over the past two decades, the legacy of Japanese cultural-economic contributions to the global process has not been adequately addressed. This paper identifies the pioneering role of Japan in developing, and globally disseminating, two key commercial processes of ‘glocalisation’ (Robertson, 1995) and ‘self-Orientalisation’ (Dirlik, 1996; Iwabuchi, 1994). By delineating the links between the two interrelated processes, it is argued that Japan’s contributions to the making of the global cultural economy have dramatically altered the mode of domination by transnational corporations—from economic rationalisation to cultural differentiation. This was triggered, as I contend, by the formation of strategic alliance of Japanese corporations with Western marketers and advertising agencies when they globalised their products and business operations in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Drawing on case studies of global sport brands, this paper demonstrates the ways in which Japanese workers and corporations negotiate the structural forces of the global/West through their practices of glocalisation and self-Orientalisation. Overall, this re-thinking of Japan’s cultural-economic contributions counters the view of seemingly unilinear development of neoliberal capitalism that has been prevalent in theorising of global consciousness and connectivity.