Sunday, February 26, 2012
Is Japan Cool? Representations of Japan from ANA's Cool Campaign!
All Nippon Airlines has a new ad campaign drawing upon the "coolness" of Japanese culture. Here are some screen shots borrowed from their web site. There is a contest involved for free air tickets to Japan. Please note the usual disclaimer here about VAOJ not endorsing any product - what is of interest is the cultural representation in the promotional video and the items selected as representative of (possibly) cool Japan.
In some of my anthropology courses we do a free listing exercise for Japanese culture. In this exercise we consider culture to be composed of sets of items: material objects, architecture, landmarks, food/drink, people, thoughts, beliefs, behavior, etc. The following items are those that can be voted on as either being cool or not in the ANA campaign and might serve as a similar list of the sets that makes up Japanese culture.
Itsukushima Shrine, Electrical Goods Store, Manga Cafe, Karaoke, Iced Coffee, Jinrikisha, High-Tech Toilet, Mt. Fuji, Kaminari-Mon, Decorative Anything, Capsule Hotel, Japanese Hospitality, Harajuku Girl, Sake, Sushi-Go-Round, Chopsticks, Public Bathhouse, Paper Fortune, Japanese Pub, Hot Spring Spa, Maid Cafe, Food Model, Character Bento, Idol, Sumo Wrestler, Tokyo Sky Tree, Ramen, Shrine Visit, Massage Chair, Gyoden, Ultramodern Vending Machine, Soba, Scramble Crossing
As of today, all of these things have overwhelming been voted as cool. You can follow the ranking as the days go by. The idea of cool Japan, especially along the lines of its soft power and pop culture, is certainly not anything new and you can find many web sites, campaigns, research projects and TV shows using this idea. The Japanese government has even been using this idea (link).
How do you feel about the ANA set of items as representative of Japanese culture? What would you add? (The list is certainly Tokyo-heavy and in need of some Kansai additions...) And how do you feel about the video? Is the campaign itself cool?
Link to ANA Cool Japan! Campaign web site: https://www.ana-cooljapan.com/#/campaign