Japan and Globalisation – Shifting Perspectives

Written by Hakuei Kosato, Be Movement issue 3 – JAPAN, published March 2014 Sushi. Ramen. Anime. Mount Fuji. Hokkaido. Kyoto. Hardly a day goes by without someone outside of Japan talking about some aspect of Japan. Japan is hot now, perhaps hotter than ever before. The numbers speak for themselves. Over 10 million visitors flocked to Japan last year. In 2020, Japan will host the Olympics. It’s a given, but more and more people will come to Japan and everyone will be amazed by Japan. What incredible things will foreign visitors to Japan experience? There are Japan’s clean streets, impeccable service, punctuality, politeness and safety. For food and drink, you can enjoy anything from sushi, tempura, yakitori to okonomiyaki, from sake to shochu to whisky to wine made from home-grown grapes. There are so many places to visit and the four distinct seasons Japan enjoys means that every season has a unique, distinct style. Each of Japan’s 47 prefectures offers different landscapes, festivals, traditions, food and drink, sweets and more. In the arts – be it kabuki to the pop culture of anime and manga, as well as fashion – from cutting edge modern to the traditional kimono, Japan manages to keep innovating and at the same time preserve her traditions, creating a mosaic of amazing things. That’s my outside-looking-in view of Japan. More visitors, more exchange, more understanding of the richness of Japan and her culture. Globalisation makes Japan more

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and more accessible, popular and a must-see must-experience country. Now, here’s my inside-looking-out view of Japan: a bold Japan that is venturing out of her comfort zone and opening up new frontiers. This is happening in politics and business, as well as in the trends of increasingly popular food and drink, the arts and culture. japanandglobalisation_japanissue-001 Prime Minister Abe in his first year aggressively travelled overseas, seeking renewed alliances and forging new partnerships with upcoming nations. Hundreds of major Japanese companies, as well as small and medium enterprises, are seeking business outside of Japan. Of course, once upon a time doing business within Japan alone was enough, but this is no longer the case with the changing demographics – on one count, by 2060 the Japanese population is projected to fall shockingly to under 90 million from the 127 million now. In the near term, I see an urgent need for entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators and politicians to urge the young to venture outside of Japan, to travel more, to challenge more, to make mistakes and learn from them, to seek new avenues for growth, stepping outside the comfort zone and taking Japan overseas. Japan has so much to offer the world, that we know. With this sense of urgency to go beyond, Japan will really make a further impact in the world. As Virgin Group’s Richard Branson famously said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Japan, that should be your mantra now. http://www.laditta.jp






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