Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor | Chair, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Associate Professor, Sociology, University of California / Los Angeles
Made in Translation: LA-Tokyo Mobility Networks and the Emergence of "Offshore" Japanese Cultural Industries in Art, Fashion and Food

A study of the 'offshore' cultural entrepreneurs - Japanese and American residents/visitors in LA and Tokyo, engaged in the transmission of new ideas in the art, fashion and food industries - who lie behind the extraordinary explosion in influence and commerce of contemporary Japanese pop culture. Using interviews, field work, ethnography, and other qualitative investigative strategies in the two sites, the study will build up a portrait of the creative activities and mobility networks of young entrepreneurs who may constitute a novel 'transnational creative class' at the heart of Japanese global influence and 'soft power' . The project builds on past work putting a 'human face' on the inter-city flows and transactions of 'global mobility' , and is set up to facilitate similar comparative work on links between Paris and Tokyo, and between Korean-LA and Seoul. Little work has been done on the 'new' Japanese population in LA, and none that links it directly back to the present-day cultural ferment in Japan, or how this explosion has been facilitated by internationally mobile cultural entrepreneurs. These real life individuals are in fact the best sociological guide we have to the cultural and economic internationalization of these cities. The research will explore the transnational dimension of the much discussed 'freeter' phenomenon in Japan, who may indeed be providing a major outlet and medium for the emergence of innovative new business and cultural ideas. It will contribute to current research on global cities and mobility/migration in sociology, human geography and international studies, as well as policy debates on global culture, international migration and regional development.