Monday, October 12, 2009

Convergence is the key

Iwabuchi discussed "Japanization." Japan is a economic power. They are well known for their technological advances and creations of American favorite video games such as Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. The Walkman was another captivating consumer electronic. Iwabuchi states how it will be interesting once cultural odors are merely accepted, and products are not seen as simply "made in Japan." The gloval effect that McDonald's seems to have creates an idea of "Americanness." Contrastingly, the popularity of the Walkman did not assimilate a Japanness, so to speak. I personally never ever associated a Walkman as a Japanese invention. The Nintendo character Mario, who I never viewed as Japanese, is almost a trademark of American childhood. Referring back to Iwabuchi's "cultural odor," Mario did not have a cultural odor. In my opinion, Mario was more American than Japanese. Nintendo was simply a "materialistic consumer commodity" (Iwabuchi, 2010, p. 417). I merely appreciated the commodity, but I did not form an idea about Japan, so to speak.

American culture is not as heavy of a global influence as it once was either. Many feel that America's media super power days are steadily on the decline. It is not that America does have a global presence; media has converged. New forms of media have created numerous ways of influencing the masses. I am a fan of Marshall McLuhan's ideas about media ecology. The idea is that the world is a global village, and the environment is an intricate association that is affected by new media technologies. Dueze (2010) states that the media system is more interactive. It is a multicast media ecology. Media is very ubiquitous. Media convergence creates more ways for consumers and producers of media to be involved and interact. In turn creating more diversity. This diversity then leads to cultural convergence.

One connection that I made was the idea that Japan's products needed to affect consumers by forcing them to associate the product with Japan and its culture and not simply a consumer product of the country. Katz and Liebes content analysis of Dallas exhibited the importance of discovering whether the international audience is actually receiving the intended message. The actual "getting of the message" is what is lacking with Japanese products.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps.
    But then there is an alternative contention that "media IS the message." Given that the world is consuming Japanese electronic products - i.e. media - with increasing enthusiasm, for how long can these Japanese exports remain "odorless"? The latter, of course, in the sense of having ANY impact on the consumer...
    I view this case as a perfect instance of successful and not so explicit public diplomacy of some sort, whereby Japanese products are regarded as superior in terms of quality and "endurance," thus inevitably conveying a positive image of the country itself.
    Nevertheless, it is certainly interesting to watch whether Japan will start making its "diplomacy" increasingly "fragrant" around the world, just as it already has in Eastern Asia.