In the worldwide circulation of the products of cultural industries, an important role is played by Japanese popular culture in European contexts. Marco Pellitteri shows that the contact between Japanese pop culture and European youth publics occurred during two phases. By use of metaphor, the author calls them the Dragon and the Dazzle. The first took place between 1975 and 1995, the second from 1996 to today. They can be distinguished by the modalities of circulation and consumption/re-elaboration of Japanese themes and products in the most receptive countries: Italy, France, Spain, Germany and, across the ocean, the United States.
During these two phases, several themes have been perceived, in Europe, as rising from Japan’s social and mediatic systems. Among them, this book examines the most apparent from a European point of view: the author names them machine, infant, and mutation, visible mostly through manga, anime, videogames, and toys. Together with France, Italy is the European country that in this respect has had the most central role. There, Japanese imagination has been acknowledged not only by young people, but also by politicians, television programmers, the general public, educators, comics and cartoons authors. The growing influence of Japanese pop culture, connected to the appreciation of its manga, anime, toys, and videogames, also urges political and mediologic questions linked to the identity/ies of Japan as they are understood—wrongly or rightly—in Europe and the West, and to the increasingly important role of Japan in international relations.
The book attempts an analysis of this wide process of transcultural
transit and re-elaboration. Positioning itself half-way between a multidisciplinary framework and a well-informed popularization, The Dragon and the Dazzle offers a different, and hopefully useful to discussion, perspective in international studies on Japanese pop culture.