Contemporary Japanese Fashion as a Vehicle of Soft Power: A Case Study of Cool Japan in Australia

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


This doctoral thesis employs interdisciplinary research to analyse the influences on Japanese fashion in Australia that position it as a potential vehicle of soft power. Domestically in Japan, contemporary Japanese fashion has developed as a form of social revenge against an inflexible Japanese society. This has been enabled by the absence of Western institutional fashion systems and traditions, empowering people from the “street” to become influential fashion producers. Freedomto express one’s self in fashion becomes a sanctuary, producing various street styles in Japan. Due to this bottom-up stream, “cool” has become an adjective applied to Japanese fashion internationally, suggesting contemporary Japanese culture is consumed as a “cool” alternative to mainstream Western popular culture. This is reflected in the Japanese government’s soft power initiative known as “Cool Japan,” which seeks to achieve political goals through attraction rather than coercion. Joseph Nye, the father of the soft power concept, asserts that both hard assets such as a nation’s military and economic might, as well as the “soft” asset of cultural attraction are required for a nation to effectively assert its international policies on today’s global stage. The Japanese government’s main political objective over the last twenty years has been economic revitalisation. To meet this goal, the Japanese government has formulated and promoted policies which encouragethe export of Japanese culture, including fashion.
Original languageEnglish
TypePhD thesis
Media of outputText
PublisherFlinders Universtiy
Number of pages403
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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