Sunday, October 5

Soft Power Discussion no 3

An old article from CNN, talking about Japan's soft power; a sort of continuation from previous entry.

'Soft power' part of balancing act

By Geoff Hiscock

(CNN) -- Soft power, or the art of influencing people to like you, is a growing part of Japan's perennial balancing act with the world.

For a taste of Japan's soft power, look no further than "Gedo Senki" (Tales from Earthsea), the blockbuster animated movie that has just knocked "Superman Returns" from the No. 1 spot in the Tokyo box office stakes.

The Earthsea stories come from the pen of American fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin, but it is Japan's anime (animation) world that has most fervently embraced her characters.

Anime and its print sister manga (comics) are part of Japan's huge otaku (think fan or nerd) culture that is fixated on fantasy, robots, dolls, swap cards, video games, role playing, costumes and other such accoutrements.

And while geekdom in Japan is a big business, it is even bigger globally, with scores of anime and gaming-related conventions tracked by international sites such as

In September alone, for example, fans can attend Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Animania in Sydney, Australia, Fumettopoli in Milan, Italy and Connichi in Kassel, Germany.

The otaku world is but one of the many projections of cool Japan. From fashion to food to film and a dozen other cultural avenues, Japan is a global player.

Fashion designer Nigo, architect Tadao Ando, novelist Haruki Murakami, baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, footballer Hidetoshi Nakata and actor/singer Takeshi Kaneshiro are just some of the skilled exports who provide a "soft power" counterpoint to Japan's underwhelming performance in the international political arena.

Full article is here

Soft Power Discussion no 2.

Akaha, Tsuneo. "Debating "Soft Power" in Japan's Security Policy: Implications for Alliance with the United States"

Abstract: In this brief analysis, we will look at the ongoing Japanese discussion on soft power and consider its implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance. We will first discuss the concept, as developed by Joseph Nye, its potential and limitations as an instrument of national policy. We will then examine how the Japanese are using the concept in discussing their nation's security policy. In the process we will identify some indicators of Japan's soft power. We will then explore the implications of Japan's interest in expanding its soft power for its security alliance with the United States.

This article discusses the correlation of cultural trade between economic and military superpowers of current day. How bridging cultural can do for expression of cooperation and collective security in the region made possible by larger acceptance of popular pop trade namely anime, jpop and movies from Japan. A bit overstretch but this Japanese interpretation of Joseph Nye's idea of soft power concept. This time, it is other way around, with Japanese soft power vis-a-vis USA exportation of rap, Hollywood and consumer goods like Levis.

Full article here

First impressions: Kannagi/ かんなぎ

Nice pacing, well placed humor and unmistakable Yamakan's touch all over the place. Dynamic camera angle and good placement of background music. It is faithful to the manga source so far. Lush animation especially the OP and main character is quite interesting. Former A class staffers from Kyoto Animation gesture of revenge against Kyoto Animation for cashiering Haruhi's director into bin after early Lucky Star fiasco.

I wonder if this series is the reason why Haruhi S2 got delayed? Remains to be seen.

Earlier entry and trailer

Haruhi Season 2 and Kannagi's relationship?