"Cool Japan" is a government initiative that focuses on promoting modern Japanese culture around the world, including anime, manga, fashion, design and food. It is a smart idea and should do a lot of good.
Lots of people around the world are interested in Japanese pop and traditional culture, and anything that makes it easier for people to access that is a good thing. There are also folks around the world who have a favorite anime or game, but do not know that it is from Japan, so making an organization which helps educate these people has a lot of possibilities.
Inside Japan as well, it has the potential to stimulate the creators of Japanese entertainment and lead to fresh, new experiences in movies, TV and other media.
It does have a problem however.
The government is based in Tokyo, as are nearly all major Japanese media companies. When there is only one organization choosing what to show, there is only going to be one set of tastes that decide what wins and what looses.
This means a lot of great stuff that might not fit their criteria, will not receive attention. Art and media that does not quite fit the standards of these people, is in danger of not being seen.
When you see what is happening in a place like Okinawa, you see why this is a problem. There is a fantastic amount of creativity, art and media that is unique to the place which does not have a way to get out. There is a different culture, that values different visual styles, and it can have an impact on people around the world. There is a wellspring of stuff that might not be what someone in Tokyo calls “cool” but can easily lead to opportunities, excite audiences and create new connections.
That`s one aim of this blog. If it can, even in a superficial way, help to expand people’s views and see what cultural treasure is here, then it would be a huge achievement.