Read my essay, “Holding Up Half the Sky,” in the August 17th issue of Metropolis.
It is very true that many people outside of Japan laugh at the popular culture videos, game shows, news, and photos. So, if foreigners think that some of the J-Pop is weird, is that good for Japan’s image? I think it is, because the bottom line is that you are garnering global attention. Lady Gaga is a weird American and that doesn’t stop her one bit from upping her Twitter follower numbers. Now I don’t think “weird Japan” will garner more support for Japan’s government policies, but at least it intensifies curiosity.
I do have an issue with the baby doll look of a lot of these adult women pop stars. Doesn’t it feed a stereotype of the Asian female in general and Japanese woman in particular as someone to be dominated and controlled? Am I just being extreme here in my theory? You tell me. I think that the West still gazes across the Pacific to the East and finds it a place of mystery and exotic adventure. We hold a lot of stereotypical images in our heads, both positive and negative, about the Asian region of the world. How can we get to know each other with more honest eyes?