November 17, 2014

What is ‘Cool Japan’?

“Cool Japan”: – Cool Japan refers to Japanese government’s PR strategy to export Japanese culture including animation, fashion and food, to promote Japan’s “soft power”. If you have been in Japan for sometime, you must be getting very familiar with this word, ‘Cool Japan’: but do you really know enough about it?
This time in Active Connector’s interactive session, which we aim to provide an occasion where executives from companies and international students can interact and learn from each other: we invited two start-ups that are working in the field of Cool Japan.

スクリーンショット 2014-11-17 20.10.30

‘Idol’ and ‘4 Coma Manga’

2014-10-29 18.44.29
One company, All Blue Inc, promotes Japanese ‘Idol’ (アイドル) overseas with its web media called ‘Tokyo Girls Update’. Another company, which participated as a guest in our session is called Awesome japan. As the name of the company indicates, AWESOME JAPAN Inc. aims to go beyond ‘COOL JAPAN’ and promotes company promotes Japanese anime/manga overseas mainly through the power of the crowd (crowd funding).

This time, since it was Halloween season and also because of the theme of the guest startups, dress code for the student participants is ‘cool japan cosplay or casual clothes’. As Japanese Shukatsu (job hunting) is well known for its particular job hunting style, black plain so-called ‘Shukatsu clothes’, our event presented itself very unique in that sense too. In the venue, which this time was at Active Connector office, there were people eagerly listening to the companies’ talk and sharing their opinions all in serious manner but with the dress of Heidi, Kiki from Majo no takkyuibin, Kumamon and so on.

How to promote ‘Cool Japan’

Our session started with showing the Japan’s PR short movie, which was a part of Japan’s 2020 Olympic promotion campaign. The movie shows not only traditional part of Japan but also a lot of games, anime, youth culture etc…which can be described as ‘Cool Japan’.

After the Japan’s official PR movie, the event moves on to the presentation by each company. All Blue explains how it gained an investment from one of the largest advertisement agencies and successfull provides various services to help foreigners feel close to the girls’ culture unique to Japan, such as idol culture, Harajuku culture and gyaru culture.
2014-10-29 19.40.57

The company introduces AWESOME Japanese anime, game and manga products and creative ideas to people around the world through web/social media platform. Their main service is ‘4 coma party’ There, registered users can read 4 coma manga (manga stories that completes within 4 boxes) for free of charge. They are all written in color and high quality manga curated by Awesome Japan.

After hearing their presentation, the participants were divided into two groups which each group discuss about better strategy for COOL Japan promotion. So much has been said about Cool Japan, but the participants are one of those people who can share the honest insight about what works and what not works in the theme of cool japan from their cultural perspective. Students come from Netherland, Philippines, US, Taiwan etc…such variety of countries did contribute the discussion to very…
Their honest opinions such as why some of the Japanese culture are not perceived as ‘Cool’ in their home countries etc…along with many innovative ideas about how such obstacles can be overcome.

Networking session

After the session, we opened the networking session: over a beer/drinks and also nice food we got from many nice restaurants located in Hongo Sanchome (Yes, we try to be very local oriented company when it come to food!), students could exchange ideas with representatives from companies in very relaxing atmosphere. One big theme that we have about our event is make our session very casual, make sure that everybody can participate in relaxing manner, and most of all, companies and students interact as ‘partners’.