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Japan Surveyed on Anime, Manga, Other Cultural Exports

posted on by Egan Loo
57% want anime to represent Japan; Ghibli, Tezuka, DB, Dragon Quest, others cited

Earlier this month, a team of researchers at Tokyo Polytechnic University conducted a survey of Japan's public opinion on "Cool Japan" — the premise that Japan's strength in business and international affairs lies in anime, manga, films, fashion, and other fields of Japanese arts and entertainment content. Only 29.0% of the respondents had heard of the term "Cool Japan," and only 4.6% said that they were familiar with what the term means. (The use of culture for global influence is also called "soft power," as opposed to "hard power" such as military strength.)

When asked about which fields they want to introduce to the world as "Cool Japan," 56.9% said "animation" — the #1 response. At 49.9%, manga was the #2 response.

Question: "What part of Japanese culture do you want to introduce to the world as a part of 'Cool Japan'?"


1 Animation 60.9%
2 Manga 56.7%
3 Game 47.5%
4 Japanese cuisine 41.8%
5 Japan-like scenery 39.5%


1 Manga 58.4%
2 Animation 57.1%
3 Japanese cuisine 53.4%
4 Japan-like scenery 49.8%
5 Traditional arts 42.9%


1 Animation 56.2%
2 Japanese cuisine 48.5%
3 Manga 46.5%
4 Japan-like scenery 43.5%
5 Traditional arts 38.8%


1 Animation 53.5%
2 Japanese cuisine 45.4%
3 Japan-like scenery 43.8%
4 Manga 39.2%
5 Traditional arts 33.8%

47.7% said that they considered the Dragon Ball franchise and Doraemon to be television anime that represents "Cool Japan," followed by the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise at #3 with 47.6%.

Question: "Which television anime do you think of as part of 'Cool Japan'?"

Male Teenagers

1 One Piece 50.7%
2 Dragon Ball franchise 50.0%
3 Doraemon 41.2%
4 Neon Genesis Evangelion 40.4%
4 Pokémon franchise 40.4%
Males in Their Twenties
1 Dragon Ball franchise 59.6%
2 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 56.4%
3 Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise 50.0%
4 Doraemon 45.7%
5 Lupin III franchise 42.6%
Males in Their Thirties
1 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 61.5%
2 Dragon Ball franchise 54.8%
3 Neon Genesis Evangelion 47.4%
4 Doraemon 46.7%
4 Lupin III franchise 44.4%
Males in Their Forties
1 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 48.9%
2 Lupin III franchise 46.7%
3 Doraemon 40.7%
4 Space Battleship Yamato franchise 40.0%
5 Dragon Ball franchise 36.3%

Female Teenagers

1 One Piece 62.4%
2 Detective Conan (Case Closed) 47.2%
3 Pocket Monsters franchise 45.6%
4 Dragon Ball franchise 43.2%
5 Doraemon 41.6%
5 Neon Genesis Evangelion 41.6%
Females in Their Twenties
1 Doraemon 62.4%
2 Dragon Ball franchise 59.2%
3 One Piece 51.2%
4 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 47.2%
5 Lupin III franchise 44.8%
Females in Their Thirties
1 Doraemon 52.8%
2 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 44.8%
3 Dragon Ball franchise 43.2%
4 Lupin III franchise 36.0%
5 Galaxy Express 999 34.4%
Females in Their Forties
1 Doraemon 51.2%
2 Mobile Suit Gundam franchise 46.4%
3 Dragon Ball franchise 38.4%
4 Space Battleship Yamato franchise 36.8%
5 Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) 36.0%
5 Detective Conan (Case Closed) 36.0%

For manga, Dragon Ball was the top response (61.5%) among all demographics except for female teenagers. The top response among female teenagers was One Piece (71.2%). All age groups gave Osamu Tezuka (75.6%) as the top response among manga creators. At 60.8%, the Dragon Quest franchise was the top response for games.

As for Japanese films, the top two responses were Studio Ghibli films (76.3%) and Departures (39.6%). The top response for directors was Akira Kurosawa (70.5%), followed by Hayao Miyazaki (60.7%). Ironically, Miyazaki himself has downplayed the use of Japanese entertainment as a "soft power" to promote the country.

62.8% said that they believe that soft power will become the driving force behind Japan's recovery from the current recession. Former prime minister Taro Asō made soft power a key element in his policies, although the Japanese government has been dealing with soft power before and after Asō's time in office.

On Wednesday, the government laid out a proposal to double the revenues that Japan earns overseas from anime, films, and other content fields by 2020. The "Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2010" is intended to boost the international revenues in these fields to 2.6 trillion yen (about US$28 billion) in a decade. The plan's backers also aim to reduce the damages caused by piracy on Japanese businesses by half.

The Tokyo Polytechnic University team conducted its survey through mobile phones from April 30 to May 7. The team had a sample of 1,000 respondents between 15 and 49 years old, split between males and females. There were 136 male teenagers, 125 female teenagers, 94 males in their 20s, 125 females in their 20s, 135 males in their 30s, 125 females in their 30s, 135 males in their 40s, and 125 females in their 40s.

[Note: More data from the survey will be presented this week and next week.]

Source: Business Media Makoto, Yomiuri Shimbun

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