Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Spanning the globe: Now this is interesting. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a government organization, bangs the drum for the nation's economic growth and global influence, and cites Shonen Jump as further proof of Japan's commercial grip on the U.S.:

"Commercially, Japanese culture is gaining further traction within the U.S. Japan's most visible pop icon Sanrio's Hello Kitty, presently generates worldwide sales estimated to be almost $1 billion and has up to 15,000 product licenses. More recent successes include the introduction last year of Shonen Jump, a leading Japanese comic book, which has already achieved a monthly U.S. circulation exceeding 500,000. Japan-oriented video games, such as Tenchu and The Way of the Samurai are also worldwide best sellers."

The press release also positions Japan as a pop-culture trendsetter:

"Japanese 'anime' (Japanese for animation) or 'manga' (illustrated book of drawings that tell stories) are quickly gaining in popularity around the world. One analyst Ichiya Nakamura, a visiting scholar at the Stanford Japan Center and M.I.T. Media Lab was recently quoted in Time Magazine stating 'Japan has changed from being a manufacturing and industrial society to a pop-culture society.'"