Raw Japan

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Japan eyes pop art stimulus

April 10, 2009

Japan’s manga-loving prime minister, Taro Aso, has long touted the importance of pop culture such as comicbooks and anime to boost Japan’s global diplomatic status. Now he’s targeting pop culture’s economic potential.

JAPAN/Included in a $154 billlion stimulus package is a target of raising exports from the “content” sector to about 18 percent of exports from less than 2 percent now, and Aso waved glossy magazines from China and Taiwan featuring Japanese pop stars on their covers to show what he wants to do.

“Japanese content, such as anime and video games, and fashion draw attention from consumers around the world,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately, this ‘soft power’ is not being linked to business overseas.”

The prime minister says he wants to harness Japanese pop art to create a $200 billion to $300 billion market and 500,000 new jobs over the next decade or so.JAPAN-MANGA/

At least one government agency is already eyeing a cultural project using funds from the stimulus package,  Japan’s biggest ever.

The Cultural Affairs Agency wants nearly 12 billion yen to build a “National Comprehensive Centre for Media Art” that would showcase contemporary Japanese culture such as manga comics, anime films and
video games, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao and REUTERS/Issei Kato

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