Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Japanization: Globalization via Sonyism

The article by Iwabuchi regarding the idea of "Japanization" within the globalization era serves as an informative look into the other side of the cultural media flow paradigm. While I think the author begins the article with a bit of a "Napolean complex" regarding the lack of respect that Japan has received due to their "culturally odorless" commodities, I think Iwabuchi progresses, along with the reader, into a rational and intuitive assessment of Japan's place in the globalization structure. As Iwabuchi notes, Japan's cultural power has yet to reach its economic prowess and until this balance is achieved, Japaneseness will remain a foreign and exotic notion.

I am very intrigued by the approach that Iwabuchi takes regarding the Americanization of Japanization and he points back to the importance of distribution channels in achieving any level of success in globalization. In this way, I agree with Sklair's argument that Americanization is simply a contingent of global capitalism. America has been extremely successful, as we learned last week, at acquiring distribution channels and growing within the global media structures. It is very similar in the way that Japanese media and technological products were swept into the American media wave and, as a result, became a global media player.

The notion of global cultural flow, or lack thereof in the case of Japan, also results in an interesting concept given the success of intra-regional globalization. Iwabuchi makes it clear that Japan's media success in Southeastern Asia is due to its ability to glocalize which is seen especially in the case of Sony. Japan has taken advantage of the decentralization of globalization and made a stronghold of media power within its regional control. As Tunstall argues, this regional focus and Japanese indigenization of American media products will be adopted by India and China and is seen as a new development for non-western media industries. While the West may not be as aware of the globalization of Japanese culture, spatial affiliation and cultural proximity have been important successes within the context of Japanization and are positive cultural influences within the regional spectrum. I look forward to learning more about these other players in the global media construct and discussing the importance of such balances within the framework of a globalizing society.


  1. I think you make a very interesting point by bringing up Japan's strategy in glocalization which therefore strengthened it's position relative to other countries in Southeast Asia. Similary, I agree with you that it is essential that we learn about other active players in the globalization of the media system not merely the West and I do think that China and India are important case studies to look at in the near future.