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Globalization, Creative Alliance and Self-Orientalism: Negotiating Japanese Identity Within Asics Global Advertising Production

by Koji Kobayashi & Steven J. Jackson & Michael P. Sam

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“This article deploys the notion of ‘self-Orientalization’ to empirically investigate the signifying practices across the East–West divide for the construction of global advertising campaigns by Japanese sport brand Asics. In this context, Asics engaged in the practice of self-Orientalization as it formed a creative alliance with Western advertising agencies that represented Japanese culture and identity on behalf of the Japanese-based global headquarters. With insights from interviews with key advertising personnel, the article illuminates practices of negotiation and accommodation between Japanese and European creative workers in shaping ‘authentic’ and ‘cool’ signs of Japan. Overall, it suggests that self-Orientalization: (a) entails negotiations over the cultural-economic politics of representation between the Orient and the Occident and (b) simultaneously functions to blur such distinctions at the micro level of social relations and personal identification of creative workers when embodying and performing the Other on behalf of the Self.”

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