Country’s status and culture

by Rina Terasaki

In this globalized time, I often happen to see foreign cultures in Japan. Also, Japan expresses many of its traditional and pop ‘culture’ to the world at the same time. It is interesting that ‘only’ culture, but it has relation with its home country’s governance.

I have heard of such insistence in a book written by a Japanese author: ‘When a country is developed enough, the culture of the country would be able to be recognized.’ It means when people see culture (including; music, arts, dramas) of different country, they firstly tend to see its background’s status. If the status is high enough, in other words the economy is at high level, finally it can be recognized. For example, Korean movies and music were not familiar to Japanese people several decades ago, but with growth of Korean economy, those movies and K-pop music started to be recognized by Japanese people and even spread around the world. It does not only simply mean Japanese people recognized the K-pop music and Korean movies, but also means they recognized ‘Korea’ nation itself as well-developed.

In globalized society, a large number of information swirling around us. In such situation, media takes a big role to give various impressions in people’s mind. Therefore, media are used to export ideas in this way. Some say behind K-pop’s popularity there is strategy of the government. Korean Deputy Foreign Minister included additional about five billion Korean won for cultural exchange in this September, and it is said most of it is going to be spent for K-pop market. It is thought that attracts of culture can make the country itself effective for foreign diplomacy.

It seems like a new way of diplomacy, however, Japanese government in colonial age used the same way to stand its status ahead western powerful countries. For example, Ukiyoe (art), Kabuki, Sumo and other ‘traditional’ Japanese culture were exported abroad in this period and it made an effort to express ‘Japan’ to western life and to insist existence of Japan as a ‘nation.’

As I mentioned, it can be said that image of culture are strongly connected to country’s diplomatic achievement. Also, media takes its part to spread cultural information much easily that brings people many positive images of the country.



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