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"Cool Japan" as an Instrument of Japan's Soft-Power Policy

Student: Polina Pokhabova

Supervisor: Alexander Koryagin

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: Double degree programme in International Relations of the NRU HSE and the University of London (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

This thesis analyzes the concept of “Cool Japan,” which is the Japanese soft power project. Its innovative nature of joint governmental and private financial support to Japan’s creative industries is a unique example of cooperative work of the whole country’s mechanisms to spread the ‘cool’ elements of Japanese culture abroad. The image of Japan in the world’s arena dramatically changed since 1945. Japan stands among the most developed nations; however, it still does not enjoy a positive image in some countries of the Asia-Pacific region due to historical issues. Hence, the Japanese Government works hard to wipe out the image of the former Imperial Japan. Combining diplomacy, foreign policy, hard and soft power is the most neoteric strategy to pursue political ambitions. “Cool Japan” is one of the instruments of Japanese soft power tactics. It is meant to change people’s opinions and attitudes to Japan by spreading pop culture. The first chapter focuses on historical background and general analysis of Japanese soft power. The second part is focused on the particular performance of the “Cool Japan” initiative. This thesis also provides a SWOT analysis of the “Cool Japan” policy, as well as the case study of some “Cool Japan” projects.

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