Japanese Animation and Comics as Soft Power

by Hana Iwaki

These days, Japanese pop culture like anime and manga is very popular in the world.  It has effect to the people who watch or read it.  Most of them are interested in Japanese culture in no small way.  This is called soft power.  Nye defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion.” He also noted that soft power “could be developed through relations with allies, economic assistance, and cultural exchanges.” (UCLA, 2005)  That is to say, the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce and rather than using force or money as a means of persuasion. On the contrary, hard power is means using militarily power or economic power to influence other countries.

Japanese anime is broadcasted over a hundred countries and amount sold of manga is over ten billion. Then why Japanese pop culture is popular in the world? It is often said that the quality of manga and anime is very high.  The scale of it is very huge and it’s like a movie. And the category is wide and all generation people can read or watch it. Serif of Japanese animation has special meanings. It sometimes encourages, heal and entertain people. There are many Japanese comic which theme school life. So young people feel it familiar to them. In many countries, animation is to be for children. However, Japanese animation is not only popular among young but also adult. So this is one of the reasons.

This popular, mainly among young, leads them to interest in Japan. Many people who study Japanese increased and some people think Japan is cool. The Japanese government exports Japanese culture and industry as “Cool Japan”. Ministry of Economy leads this, and they hold Japan expo over the world. It has succeeded.

However, the amount sold of comic is still lower than each country’s original comics. And also the amount sold of animation is very low.  The advertisement is not effective.  I think this is the reason. I often see my facebook friends who wrote Japanese animation character, wear Japanese traditional cloth “yukata” and dressing in costume. This is the influence of globalization. I want people all over the world to watch and read Japanese animation and comic because it is very interesting.


the data of manga market in the world. (2007, 9 4). Retrieved 7 1, 2012, from navigation of manga: http://manganavi.jp/interview/overseas/20070904/index.php?p=17

Japanese is popular because of animation and comic. (2011, 7 20). Retrieved 7 1, 2012, from JA: http://blog.livedoor.jp/janews/archives/5348892.html

a number of Japanese animation in the world. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 1, 2012, from animescales: http://wiki.fdiary.net/animesales/?%C6%FC%CB%DC%C0%BD%A5%A2%A5%CB%A5%E1%BA%EE%C9%CA%A4%CE%C6%FC%CB%DC%B9%F1%B3%B0%A4%C7%A4%CE%CA%FC%B1%C7%A1%A6%BE%E5%B1%C7%B9%F1%BF%F4

UCLA. (2005, 12 1). UCLA. Retrieved 7 1, 2012, from “Soft Power -The Means to Success in World Politics”: http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=34734


One thought on “Japanese Animation and Comics as Soft Power

  1. Pingback: Final Essay | CECI's World

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