Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Japan eyes pop art stimulus

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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/

Mortician tale an Oscar surprise

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Even the lead actor was surprised when his movie “Departures”, about an out-of-work cellist who takes a job as a mortician preparing corpses for cremation, won the Oscar for best foreign language film today.

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The film has been a box office hit in Japan but it faced stiff competition and Masahiro Motoki, did not expect to win against the Israeli favourite in the category, “Waltz with Bashir”.

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