Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Help Me Hello Kitty Obi, You're My Only Hope

Aside from the fact that I don't think it's a good idea in general for gaijin to try to wear any version of kimono, (yeah, yeah, I know this isn't exactly a kimono) this picture also introduces an interesting question for Japundits to debate.
Fellow blogger Lainey posits that:
What to do when your album tanks in the English-speaking territories?
Put your eggs in an Asian basket, of course.

Well, it's true. When a film or record doesn't do as well as the US money-men had predicted, it's often hoped that the money will be made up overseas. The implication is that while someone or something may no longer be "cool" in the US, the news may not yet have reached Japanese shores. (Although, with the success the Da Vinci Code which made the bulk of its revenue overseas, there is talk of studios taking the foreign box office a bit more seriously).
Of the Japanese devotion to Tom Cruise, a star who, like Janet Jackson, has struggled in the US as of late, Lainey says:

I find it very, very, very hard to believe this man still makes 'em swoon outside of Hello Kitty country, where emotionally stunted Asians run around with only half a brain and an auto-programmed giggle.

Interesting, no? Look, it can't be denied that stars often go to Japan to hawk their stuff when they wouldn't do the same in the West. But I find it interesting that Lainey equates the love of kawaii with emotionally stunted growth and a willingness to buy whatever "we" tell them to.
For some reason, over there, we breed girls with the maturity of a cartoon frog and the emotional depth of a bow-adorned cat - girls who roll in handholding packs, who erupt in high pitched squeals over something as simple as finding out that the cutesy pencil case they covet comes in green AND powder blue.

Is the Japanese consumer just stupid? More forgiving? Less cynical? Personally I think Lainey's raised an interesting point, and given voice to the often tacit belief of those who go to Japan to hawk their wares. But I'm particularly curious to hear from those of you who live in Japan and watch these waves of celebrities come through the Narita gates for a photo-op.

First posted at Japundit where you can read the comments.

All I can say is it wasn't the Americans that made Baywatch the most viewed TV show of its day. (Or bought David Hasselhoff CDs for that matter.)
Or made Waterworld a profitable movie.
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