Exporting Japanese Aesthetics: Evolution from Tradition to Cool Japan

Tets Kimura (Editor), Jennifer Harris (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthologypeer-review


Exporting Japanese Aesthetics brings together historical and contemporary case studies addressing the evolution of international impacts and influences of Japanese culture and aesthetics. The volume draws on a wide range of examples from a multidisciplinary team of scholars exploring transnational, regional and global contexts. Studies include the impact of traditional Japanese theatre and art through to the global popularity of contemporary anime and manga. Under the banner of “soft power” or “Cool Japan”, cultural commodities that originate in Japan have manifested new meanings outside Japan. By (re)mapping meanings of selected Japanese cultural forms, this volume offers an in-depth examination of how various aspects of Japanese aesthetics have evolved as exportable commodities, the motivations behind this diffusion, and the extent to which the process of diffusion has been the result of strategic planning.

Each chapter presents a case study that explores perspectives that situate Japanese aesthetics within a wide-ranging field of inquiry including performance, tourism, and visual arts, as well as providing historical contexts. The importance of interrogating the export of Japanese aesthetics is validated at the highest levels of government, which formed the Office of Cool Japan in 2010, and which perhaps originated in the 19th Century at governmentally endorsed cultural “courts” at world’s fairs. Increased international consumption of contemporary Japanese culture provides a much needed boost to Japan’s weakening economy.

The case studies are timely and topical. As host of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2025 Osaka Expo, “Cool Japan” will be under special scrutiny.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEastbourne
PublisherSussex Academic Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9781782846581
ISBN (Print)9781789760019
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameThe Sussex Library of Asian and Asian American Studies
PublisherSussex Academic Press


  • historical case studies
  • contemporary case studies
  • impact of traditional Japanese theatre and art
  • global popularity of contemporary anime and manga
  • "soft power"
  • "Cool Japan"
  • Japanese cultural forms
  • performance, tourism, and visual arts


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