Japanese soft power + more things

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Japanese soft power

Japanese soft power didn’t start with anime, manga or even Sonny Chiba. Asianometry posted a video covering how Japanese soft power was manifested in the 19th century through a mix of planning and happy accident.

Kanazawa Oki Nami Ura by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) a traditional Japanese Ukyio-e style illustration of extreme waves bearing down on the boats with a view of Mount Fuji. Digitally enhanced from our own original edition.

Japan benefited from a sophisticated artisan culture for everything from food and drink to metal working.


Talking about soft power. Task and Purpose goes back and looks at Wikileaks. This is interesting as it reflects on the US viewpoint of pro-Russian bias with the work Wikileaks did disclosing both Chinese and Russian secrets. The biggest legacy was likely reinvigorating investigative journalism at mainstream media outlets that had been cut back over the previous decade or so.


Dutch YouTuber posts a love letter to VFDs or vacuum fluorescent displays. They were featured on stereos, VCRs, Blu Ray players and my Bose Wave (you can get your own one here). They feel nicer than LCD displays, don’t look cheap and don’t affect your sleep.

Streaming culture in China

While most people think about streaming is China’s e-commerce. But the offering of the streamer featured in this documentary is more ambiguous. Her audience feel some sort of romantic attachment to her. ‘Inside the Daily Life of a Live Streaming Star in China’ is as much about the imbalance in male and females in China due to the one-child policy.

It reminded me of Japanese and Korean ‘idol‘ culture, but designed for the mobile addicted COVID traumatised young adults. Buffeted by societal expectations and the economic issues by the government pivot away from economic growth to internal and external control.


Scott Galloway has an interesting prognosis on the current crisis in the male population which seems to be in a socio-economic death spiral. I am not convinced by his solution. It’s very male-centred and assumes that parenting isn’t broken.