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Take Go: Japanese Popular Culture Essential Questions

These resources were developed by the Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Team in coordination with the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University to support teaching about Japanese popular culture and globalization in the classroom. Sources for material are focused on the Key Issues for Asian Studies series by the Association for Asian Studies by William M. Tsutsui, Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization.  Materials are designed for teachers to use in the classroom with minimal modification in the Take & Go Series: Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization.  


  • What are the four major themes that distinguish Japanese forms of pop culture from the rest of the world?
  • What factors led to the boom in the entertainment industry in post-war Japan?
  • What historical events and cultural beliefs helped to inspire this creativity in entertainment?
  • What are some examples of Japanese soft power?  How did the development of industries related to this soft power help transform Japan over the past century?
  • How has Japanese pop culture impacted other cultures globally?
  • How can we identify elements that are from other cultures and incorporate them into a story while respecting the culture?
  • What are some of the origins of the Japanese pop imagination?
  • How do the Japanese traditions of artistic expression, folklore, and social life connect to a modern-day pop culture aesthetics of simplicity, sensibility of play, and rich imagery?
  • In what ways has the legacy of World War II shaped the images and storylines of Japan’s popular culture?
  • How has the global influence of contemporary Japanese popular culture been impacted by its distinctive style(s)/theme(s), historical connection to the USA, and marketing strategies?
  • What are some of the intrinsic characteristics of Japanese pop culture goods?
  • What are some of the external factors which have helped to promote Japanese pop culture?
  • What impact does “localization” have on Japanese pop culture?
  • In what ways does Japanese pop culture reinforce existing stereotypes or create new ones?
  • Does the imitation of Japanese pop culture add to or take away from its global success?
  • How has Japan redefined itself from a premier industrial nation to a cultural superpower?
  • In what ways has pop culture helped to develop and define Japan’s political, economic, and foreign relations success?
  • What role has the private sector played in the globalization of Japanese pop culture?
  • What is the global appeal of Japanese pop culture?
  • What are some of the implications of “Cool Japan”?

Source: Tsutsui, William M. (2010). Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization (Ser. Key Issues in Asian Studies). Association for Asian Studies. 

This project was funded in part by the Freeman Foundation through the University of Pittsburgh national coordinating site for the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) Asian Studies Center, University Center for International Studies, and the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant to the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University. The content of this resource guide does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

This guide is available online for classroom use worldwide and can be accessed at EASC's Resource page

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