A regional gateway: Japanese popular culture in Hong Kong, 1990-2005
Abstract In popular culture, Hong Kong is probably the most “Japanese city” outside Japan. It is home to a wide variety of Japanese popular cultural products and a regional base to many of the Japanese music and television companies who expanded their operations in the city in the early 1990s. Hong Kong’s emerging middle class, especially the younger generation, has enthusiastically accepted Japanese contemporary culture and lifestyle, making the city one of the biggest destinations for Japan’s cultural exports. Based on fieldwork surveys and interviews, this paper looks the organizational aspect of popular culture during the heydays of Japanese popular culture in Hong Kong in the 1990s and early 2000s. The investigation focuses on the marketing strategies and promotional efforts used by agents of Japanese popular culture in Hong Kong and the role of popular culture piracy in this process. Beyond analyzing the Japanese case, the paper introduces a new framework to examine the transnational expansion of popular cultures across markets in East and Southeast Asia, highlighting the role of companies and promoters in this process.
Keywords: Popular culture, East Asia, Japan, Hong Kong, cultural industries
Nissim Otmazgin is a senior lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. He is the author of Regionalizing Culture: the Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013) and co-editor (together with Eyal Ben-Ari) of Popular Culture and the State in East and Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2012) and Popular Culture Co-production and Collaboration in East and Southeast Asia (National University of Singapore Press and Kyoto University Press, 2013).