Japan has had a small but vibrant Chicano culture scene for years. The Japanese have had a community on the west coast of the US for over a century and a love of the detailed sub-cultures of the US. Japan also influences cultures and consumers in Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and even China. Add to that, the fact that Chicano culture is portrayed in shows that are streaming internationally like Mayans MC.
In the west, this would be called cultural appropriation; but I don’t think that really captures what’s going on here.
It is interesting that it is happening now, while Thailand is ruled by a military government; there is a sub-culture flourishing that probably looks rebellious and anti-authoritarian is very interesting.
Vice News did an episode on the families behind chaebols – Korean business empires called South Korea’s Untouchable Families. None of the content will be of any surprise to anyone who has read this blog or has an appreciation of modern Korean culture. The tale of how the chaebols where largely creations of the Korean government and in time managed to capture the country after the 1997 financial crisis is largely a matter of public record. The extra-legal nature of chaebols are the stuff of Korean dramas.
The ‘chaebol negotiation rule’ of a three year sentence commuted to five years probation is also well known.
What I found curious is how much emphasis they have put on Samsung, who have the most international reach and advertising spend. The Samsung semiconductor experience with workers suffering from cancer mirrors the experience of workers in fabrication facilities when they were based in Silicon Valley. So the risks involved in the chemicals and the need for protection would have been well known.
Asianometry has also recently published a video on the Chaebols that takes a slightly different take on the rise of the companies, linking their rise with weak and financially challenged political parties.
Japan – Tokyo Girl’s Collection
I have written about Tokyo Girl’s Collection in the past. It is interesting to see that it was extended into the metaverse this year. The formula is still largely the same:
- A large live event with entertainment
- Models and dokusha-models. (These are chosen among actual readers of the magazines as “representatives”. They are more attractive than average readers but not pretty enough to be actual models).
- Online shopping and m-commerce of looks that the audience wouldn’t be able to buy locally if they live outside Tokyo
Hong Kong deindustrialisation
By the time I got to Hong Kong, the city’s industrial base had migrated north to the mainland. But I did get to see the massive packaging and printing factory that had been converted to the home furnishing shopping centre now called Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau. As a child many of my clothes and toys had ‘Made in Hong Kong’ written on them.
I got to see the massive buildings that used to have clothing factories in Fo Tan and the Sui Fai Factory Estate – a multi-storey building full of light industrial units. De-manufacturing encouraged the rent-seeking oligarchs that dominate Hong Kong today, for instance Li Ka shing started off manufacturing plastic flowers and other light industrial processes, but pivoted to rent seeking businesses property, telecoms and retailing.