On Monday, September 20th, the 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI*) hosted Professor Christine Yano (University of Hawai’i at Manoa) about her book “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific” (Duke University Press). The event was co-sponsored by Indiana University’s Anthropology Department.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Yano introduced the concept of “Pink Globalization:” the spread of goods and images labeled cute (kawaii) from Japan to other parts of the world. Focusing on the brand of Hello Kitty, she demonstrated how the spread of “kawaii culture” has influenced the world’s perception of Japan, becoming a form of “kawaii diplomacy.” Dr. Yano argued that it is through the values that kawaii culture represents – innocence, youth, girlhood, and victimhood – that Japan has embarked on a nation branding mission.
After concluding her remarks, Dr. Yano engaged in a brief exchange with 21JPSI Director Adam Liff and 21JPSI Faculty Affiliate Marvin Sterling. The event concluded with an open Q&A with the global audience of roughly 120 faculty, students, and community members from Indiana, Japan, and around the world.
*The 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI) was launched at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies in 2018. Under the leadership of Founding Director and HLS faculty member Adam Liff, 21JPSI aims to invigorate and expand research, teaching, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and international (esp. U.S.-Japan) relations, and to educate, raise awareness, and debate policy responses to the various political, social, and foreign policy challenges that Japan faces in this extremely dynamic era of 21st-century change. Supported by a generous $900,000 grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, in its first five years 21JPSI has enabled a new tenure-track faculty line contemporary Japanese politics and society; launched four new courses on contemporary Japan and a multidisciplinary speaker series on Japanese Politics and Society; hosted national conferences and webinars on U.S.-Japan relations; and funded graduate fellowships and faculty travel grants to support research in Japan. For more information, please see https://jpsi.indiana.edu/ or write to firstname.lastname@example.org