Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America

Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America

Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America

Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America

Synopsis

This insightful book explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan's remarkable post-World War II economic success enable the East Asian nation to overtake the United States? Or could Japan's globe-trotting corporations serve as a model for battered U.S. industries, pointing the way to a future of globalized commerce and culture? While popular films and literature recycled old anti-Asian imagery and crafted new ways of imagining the "yellow peril," and formal U.S.-Japan relations remained locked in a holding pattern of Cold War complacency, a remarkable shift was happening in countless local places throughout the United States: Japanese goods were remaking American consumer life and injecting contemporary globalization into U.S. commerce and culture. What impact did the flood of billions of Japanese things have on the ways Americans produced, consumed, and thought about their place in the world?



From autoworkers to anime fans, Consuming Japan introduces new unorthodox actors into foreign-relations history, demonstrating how the flow of all things Japanese contributed to the globalizing of America in the late twentieth century.

Excerpt

“Culture is ordinary,” Raymond Williams once wrote. the influential Marxist critic was reflecting upon daily life in the rural farming valley in Wales where he grew up. I suspect that, like Williams’s studies of British culture and society were for him, this book will be as personal to most Americans born after World War ii as it has been for me. It is not exceptional—it is ordinary, in fact—that the material presence of Japan has always been a tangible reality in my life. I recall being ferried around in my grandfather’s 1984 Toyota Corolla and my father’s late-1980s Toyota pickup truck; for my seventh birthday, I received a Nintendo Entertainment System, an interactive device that came to dominate after-school activities, weekends, and relationships with friends; my family regularly gathered around our first vcr, a hulking Panasonic, to watch the latest movie releases in the comfort of our home; reared on American food heavy in calories and light on subtlety, it required a herculean effort of epicurean open-mindedness to get me to try, and enjoy, sushi as an undergraduate; today I drive a Subaru (after a decade of driving a Toyota), I own several electronic gadgets imprinted with the Sony label, and, like the 25,000 people with whom I occasionally attend the annual Otakon anime convention and the millions more who watch anime daily on television, I find Japanese cartoons to be more compelling than just about anything the U.S. entertainment industry offers. For me it has never felt unnatural to consume the many material manifestations of Japan, and I am not alone.

Of course, none of this is extraordinary, and measured against the stories of international change that have dominated headlines since I was born— from the Iran hostage crisis to the end of the Cold War and implosion of the Soviet Union to the world-changing events of 11 September 2001—my . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.