Around 2003-2005, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) produces some documents highlighting the importance of manga and anime to promote Japan culture and international/business relations overseas.

The now unavailable online issue of Jetro Business Topics, "Japan's Soft Power Moves into the Limelight" (2 Sept 2004) by Tsutomu Sugiura, Marubeni Research Institute director at time, stated:

If, for instance, children overseas learn to love anime, they may continue to feel a fondness for things Japanese as they grow older. And it is possible that such friendly feelings will translate into business deals involving Japan after they become adults.

directly citing the Soft Power concept by Joseph Nye. Similar concepts are expressed here by the same Tsutomu Sugiura, identifying the phenomena as "third wave of Japonism", where animation and videogames are:

capturing the essence of Japanese character and lifestyle disseminates Japanese culture and Japanese soul to young people the world over

A document produced by JETRO Economic Research Department on March 2005 titled "Cool Japan's Economy Warms Up" associate it with the "Gross National Cool" cultural index theorized by Douglas McGray, and soft power concept is cited again.

After 7 years, are these concept actually implemented by the Japanese administration? Are there documents related to direct intervention by the Japanese government to spread or boost the anime and manga industry overseas aiming to these goals in international relations?

  • 1
    all those quotes are nice but many japanese pple are actually offended if japan is associated with anime and manga. They think that 'outsiders' only think of japan as a anime haven and despise that as they don't approve manga/anime
    – MozenRath
    Dec 12, 2012 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has sponsored many programs that uses anime to promote culture and tourism. Last year, they published an English-language "Japan Anime Map" that highlights the locales in the country with ties to anime.

The map provides info on the various real-life settings in animes such as Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, true tears, and Summer Wars.

It also lists anime-related museums and theme parks such as Sanrio Puroland, Studio Ghibli Museum, and the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

Info on anime-related shopping areas such as Tokyo's Akihabara, Nagoya's Osu Electric Town, and Osaka's Nipponbashi (aka Den Den Town). Also included are shopping suggestions for souvenirs to bring back such as Gundam plastic models, soft vinyl toys, and Nendoroid figures.

Naturally it also provides insight on on otaku culture topics such as cosplay, figures, and games, and also anime-related events such as Comic Market and World Cosplay Summit

The JNTO had previously collaborated with the Hakone Tourist Association to produce the "Evangelion Hakone Instrumentality Map: English Version," and the "Cool Japan Poster: Hakone" to cover the town of Hakone near Tokyo.

One of the more noticeable ones is the Young Animator Training Project.

In 2010, the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan invested 214 million yen (over 2 million USD) in the so-called "Young Animator Training Project" and entrusted the execution of the project to the Japan Animation Creators Association (JaniCA).

In the following years JaniCA produced several original anime in cooperation with different production studios, continuing to receive money from the Japanese government. Each of the single episode anime was 23 minutes long. Young animators receive on-the-job-trainings under the supervision of professional anime creators as the works are shown on TV and/or at anime events.

One of the reasons that the Agency for Cultural Affairs is supporting this initiative is the concern that more of the Japanese animation process is being outsourced overseas -- thus leading to a decline in opportunities to teach animation techniques within Japan.

For those interested, here is the trailer for the four shorts for Anime Mirai 2013 Young Animator Training Project, scheduled to premiere March 2.

  • 3
    Very precise answer, thank you. It covers internal industrial relations, direct subsidies and tourism very well. Talking about promotion abroad, in the last few years in Italy, a Japan stand was present in some comic conventions to promote Japanese culture among anime and manga enthusiasts (JNTO, Japan Foundation, Embassy of Japan). International Manga Award is another "reverse" promotion method among foreigners.
    – chirale
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:16

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