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Home > Special Topics > Activity Report Last Updated: 15:10 03/09/2007
Activity Report #27: December 11, 2003

Takahiro Miyao's Radio Institute of Global Communications: No. 2, December 7, 2003

Takahiro MIYAO (Professor, GLOCOM)

Partial transcript and translation from Prof. Miyao's Radio Program, posted here with permission of Radio Tampa/Radio Nikkei

Takahiro Miyao's Radio Institute of Global Communications: No. 2
Radio Tampa (Short Wave 501); SKY Perfect TV (501 Channel)
Broadcast time:December 7 (Sunday) 18:10-18:40
Recording place:Recorded in Radio Tampa's Studio
Program:1. Introduction
2. Virtual Discussion
3. Trend Research
Audio:Radio Program  (Windows Media Player)
(Mainly in Japanese but some parts in English)
Asia Station Web site (in Japanese)


At GLOCOM (Center for Global Communications of the International University of Japan) I am managing and maintaining a website, called the GLOCOM Platform (http://www.glocom.org/), where Japanese opinion leaders express their views and conduct their discussions on various issues relating to Japan.

In the first half of this program I will take up some of the opinions posted on the GLOCOM Platform, and comment on those opinions. In the second half I will focus on topics such as Japan's pop culture.

Today I will interview Mr. Larry Kubota, who is a specialist on Japanese movies.

Virtual Discussion

(1) Shiraishi paper: "Japan must cope with the transforming world and East Asia"
First I will discuss Kyoto University Professor Shiraishi's important article titled "Japan must cope with the transforming world and East Asia" (www.glocom.org/opinions/essays/20031201_shiraishi_japan/), especially focusing on Japan's relations with East Asia. Prof. Shiraishi emphasizes the emergence of the middle class in East Asian countries, and the growing sense of regionalism or "Asianism" among the middle class population in those countries. This is not due to a common political goal or identity as in Europe, but rather due to the force of the market economy. If this is the case, Japan can play an important role in promoting economic cooperation in East Asia because Japan is still the largest economy in the region. So there is much Japan can do to reinforce economic partnerships with East Asia.

In contrast to Prof. Shiraishi's emphasis on the emergence of regionalism among the middle class in East Asia, Mr. Toyoo Gyohten expresses his skepticism about the unified sense of regionalism in Asia in his recent article titled "What is Asia from global perspectives?"
(http://www.glocom.org/opinions/essays/20030804_gyohten_what/). Gyohten sees no unified movement towards Asia's regionalism, while the U.S. and Europe are increasing in presence as global forces. He warns that if the current trend continues China may well represent Asia, although Asian countries including Japan do not fully trust China.

(2) Gregory Clark "Education Reform: Lots of Debate, Little Action"
Next I will consider Prof. Gregory Clark's article titled "Education Reform: Lots of Debate, Little Action."
(http://www.glocom.org/debates/20031204_clark_lots/). Prof. Clark has pointed out the problems with Japan's education system, including poor teaching in the universities, class disintegration and dropping out of school. A key driver of these problems is university entrance exams, according to Prof. Clark, who makes several proposals to solve these problems. But none of his proposals has been adopted due to refusal by bureaucrats in charge of education.

In my opinion, many of the problems with education in Japan are shared by other Asian countries such as Korea and China, where competition in education in those countries is even fiercer than in Japan. So it is important that Japan cooperate with Asian countries to deal with the common problems with education.

Trend Research

In this corner we focus on Japan's pop culture and its "soft power," as opposed to "hard power" based on political, military or economic grounds. Today I conduct a telephone interview with Mr. Larry Kubota, President of Black Current, a start-up movie company in Japan, about Japan's pop culture. The following is a summary of what Mr. Larry Kubota has said in our interview.

(1) The recent popularity of Japan's pop culture, especially in Asia, is largely due to the fact that the middle class in Asian countries is growing to accept Japan's middle class culture, and also due to the combination of traditions and technologies in Japan's pop culture.

(2) Japanese movies are now widely accepted, not only in Asia but also in Hollywood, because of the great stories and traditions like Kurosawa's movies, which have established world-wide currency.

(3) There are a number of challenges that Japan must overcome before becoming a truly global player in this field. One of those challenges is English, because much of the content in Japan is in Japanese and translation is surprisingly difficult.

(4) However, the future prospects for Japan's pop culture are really good.
We are witnessing Japan's growing dominance in pop culture and entertainment, but we have only seen the beginning of a big break for Japan as a leading cultural power house.

Closing Remarks

The website for this program is now open (http://www.radionikkei.jp/joho), where you can hear the previously broadcast programs on the web.

My next program will be January 4th. In the meantime, have a happy new year.

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