For a long time in history, Japan has been a major player in the regional political landscape in East Asia. Since its colonization of Korea in the first half of 20th century, Japan has exerted its economic and political influence in the South and East Asia. Japanese products and culture have been massively exported to Korea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan for the last fifty years. Currently, it is commonplace to find a shop in Korea or Malaysia stocking Japanese products in music, art, and comic. In other words, popular culture has seen homogenization in East Asia with Japan playing a central role in this globalization. Additionally, Korean popular culture is present in its neighboring countries, meaning that this culture is paramount in cultural exchange in the region. In all cases, the import and export of popular culture in East Asian countries has resulted in regional integration and the progressive decline in political differences that existed in the past.
What Represents East Asian Countries Culture?
Popular culture can take many dimensions. It ranges from fashion to music, to visual arts to video games. In East Asian countries popular culture is exemplified by Japanese Manga, Korean Hanru and many aspects of Chinese culture like Kungfu movies. The active exchange of popular culture among countries follows the same pattern as the global MacDonaldization. According to Steger (76), MacDonaldization means homogenization of a certain way of life over a wide area. Japan has adopted an American culture that it later exports to other East Asian countries. It is now common to find Starbuck Coffee and Macdonald fast food joints in Japanese cities and indeed many other East Asian towns. According to Otzmasgin (67) the place of Japan in the regional relations with respect to its historical relations with its neighbors has significantly eased the long standing tension that has negatively affected the relations.
Media is probably the most influential popular culture. The social media, in particular, facilitates cultural interaction between people hailing from diverse backgrounds. Friends meeting over the Internet occasionally establish strong bonds that ultimately result in business and other deals among the parties involved. Steiger (82) notes that the media business is akin to oil and automotive industry because of how the industry is commercialized. This commercialization of the media leads to widespread coverage of global markets. Eventually, many customers consuming the media services become members of one large virtual family connected by news, videos, advertisements, and music. Global East Asia is thus a one big customer base consuming similar media products. Creighton (45) notes that Japanese magazines offer a free Korean DVD to every customer who purchases each issue. Additionally, he states that many video, magazine and music shops in Japan are operated by resident Koreans. Since many of these shops deals with both Korean and Japanese media, it is evident that commercialization of the media is now a global concept.
In conclusion, popular culture can influence how people live. The media is an avenue for sharing ideas, and meeting new people. This meeting is the genesis of intercultural friendships that results to further sharing of culture. Scholarly research proves that Japan and Korea play a central role in this exchange as exemplified by the presence of Korean and Japanese products in many East Asian Countries
Millie Creighton. "Through the Korean Wave looking glass." The Asia-Pacific Journal| Japan Focus Volume 14.7 (2016).Otmazgin, Nissim. "Japanese Popular Culture in East and Southeast Asia: A Time for a Regional Paradigm?." The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (2008).
Steger, Manfred B. Globalization. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2010.
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