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Comparison of Anime in Japan and Indonesia Due to Globalization

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“Globalization” emerged as a buzzword in the 1990s, characterizing the process of unifying and converging widely different economies, societies, integrating them into one World.

Globalization of media is probably most pervasive. Although American media play a prominent role in the global scene, media industries from a number of other countries are also heavily influential across the world.

Ming Guan in ‘Understanding Popularity of Japanese Animation’ demonstrates that Japanese animation, Chinese movies or Korean TV drama are gaining widespread popularity all over the world. In particular, Japanese animation has become the most profitable pop culture export, enthralling all types of audiences: young and old, men and women, and the rich and the poor.

This paper explores the proliferation of Japanese animations throughout other countries. In particular, it shows its influence on Indonesian culture and Indonesian anime development nowadays.

Since the ancient times until now, culture has been an inalienable part of its country and has been always attached to human development. In the international world, culture can be one of the means used to achieve the interests of a certain country. Culture is used as a tool of diplomacy; as a result, it is better known as cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is an effort of a country to fight for its national interests through cultural dimensions, such as sports and arts.

Japan is one of the countries in East Asia that is famous for its culture. It successfully managed to spread its culture throughout various countries. The uniqueness of the Japanese state or society can be seen in the way Japanese dress, eat, do chores; the people’s mentality is original as well. The culture of this country has unique features galore. They are Ikebana, Noh (musical theater), Chado (tea ceremony) and a lot of other peculiarities.

Hence, Japan appears to be a country where traditional hierarchy and formalities still remain important. But, in the last two decades, Japan has impressively changed. Susan Naiper notes:

“A dedicated, industrious nation where the men are the dominant breadwinners working for large corporate businesses and the women are shy, submissive wives, yet wise, over-ambitious mothers fixated on their children's success in education. However, since the 1980's and 1990s women are moving away from this stereotype, relying less on their husbands to bring an income into the household and as a result, becoming more independent both financially and socially. In comparison to twenty years ago, Japanese women are now marrying and giving birth much later, which, it has been suggested, is due to the bid by the Japanese Government to increase equal opportunities in employment and education. As a result, there are now more career-oriented women which are attending higher education.” 

Today’s Japan is different; it has absorbed many ideas from other countries, including technology, customs, and forms of cultural expression. But it did not lose peculiarity. Yet, in spite of all the above, Japan still maintains and preserves the original culture. Japanese culture became richer and wider.

Moreover, in the past twenty years, contemporary Japanese culture (especially media-centered youth popular culture) has been proliferating in East and Southeast Asia, and also in the Euro-American West. Some examples of Japanese cultural influence are comics (manga), cartoon or animation (anime), and Japanese food.

Japanese animation (anime in Japanese) is one of the few forms of Japanese popular culture which has truly been globalized. Both hand-drawn and computer-animated types of anime exist. It is used in television series, films, video games, commercials, and internet-based releases, and represents most, if not all, genres of fiction. Pretty Soldier Sailormoon, Dragonball and Pokemon have swept the world in the 1990s and 2000.  Even in the United States and Europe, where the cultural and language barriers are thick for Japanese popular culture, increasing numbers of young people have become obsessed with Japanese animation. Western scholars and journalists are also interested in Japanese animation.

Japanese animation enjoys tremendous popularity in Asia, where it has become a mainstream youth culture due to cultural and geographical proximity. East Asia nations, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, are the centers of this global Japanese animation boom; Southeast Asia has been strongly influenced by it as well. Japanese television cartoons have become very popular in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines; they are screened daily on local television stations in different Asian languages.

The creation and exploitation of anime is a multibillion dollar industry in Japan. The Japanese External Trade Organization estimated the size of the Japanese domestic anime market for feature films, TV series, and video sales to constitute approximately $1.6 billion in 2003, with the value of merchandizing rights associated with the anime industry (e.g., toys, clothing, and other items featuring the series’ logos or characters) estimated at over $17.5 billion.

The main players involved in the anime industry are the creators and producers as well as the distributors and licensees. In Japan, anime series are often produced through production consortia, which consist of media companies, advertisers, sponsors, and the original authors or creators.

The members of these consortia engage in cooperative joint planning for the entire franchise. Actual production of the series takes place in one of the hundreds of production houses, the majority of which are located in Tokyo.

The vast majority of anime produced in Japan is intended for television or home video release; “[e]nterprises that primarily produce feature anime for theater release are the exception.”

Whether distributing the finished anime series domestically or overseas, the creators or producers usually rely on third-party distributors to release their work on television or on video. In the case of releases to overseas markets, like the United States, the production consortia grant the distributor a license to adapt the work as well as distribute it. The distributor translates the original Japanese script for each episode of the series into English and then replaces the voice track of the show with an Anglophone voice cast. The distributor then typically releases the new English-dubbed version of the series on television, and later takes it to the home video market. If the series is successful, the dub companies receive good profit from advertising, video, and merchandizing sales, and then pay valuable royalties to the Japanese producer licensors.

One of the countries granted a license to distribute anime is Indonesia.

Indonesians are Hostile of Japanese Pop Culture in Indonesia

For almost two decades entertainment shows for children and young people were originally imported from the West (Hollywood); now they watch the shows from Asia, mainly Japan. And superhero idols of children and adolescents are also beginning to move out from Superman, Batman, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, to Sailormoon, Naruto, Crayon Shinchan, Ninja Hatori, and Doraemon.

In the book industry, Japan comics are dominating. Based on the publication in December, 2010, from a list of comics that are printed by Comics & Magazines unit of Scholastic Magazine, there are 475 Japanese comic titles, or approximately 86.4% of the total comics produced by the printing company. At the same time, Indonesian comics include only 3 titles (0.5%), American comics – 23 titles (4.2%), Chinese comics – 14 titles (2.5%), and Korean comics include 35 titles (6.4%).

Anime works produced by Japan are extremely popular in Indonesia. Their popularity in Indonesia has actually started in the early 1980s, when the Betamax video was developing. Anime fans born in the 1960's and 1970's still remember the anime works titled "Voltus Five", "God Sigma" "Candy Candy" and "Ikkyu-san", which were so popular in the decade of the 1980s. However, their popularity in Indonesia at that time was limited due to the circulating Betamax video format; at that time, not everyone could buy a Betamax video player device.

In 1990s, anime began "booming" as Indonesian television stations began to play some of the popular anime series that could be witnessed by anyone who had access to television.

Popularity of anime grew even bigger after pirated VCD and DVD anime copies became so easily available throughout Indonesia, not sold only in shopping malls, and even readily available over the Internet. The otaku, fans of anime and manga, in Indonesia also contributed to the popularity of the genre by establishing various communities both in the real world and in the Internet in the form of mailing lists and forums.

In conclusion, Japanese pop culture has widely spread all around the world. Lots of enterprises in different countries gain large profits out of it. But for some countries (such as Indonesia) it has been and remains a big barrier to promoting domestic products.

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