Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, School of Business Administration, Hitotsubashi University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University
Interpenetration Process of Japanese and American Consumer Culture: A Comparative Study on Institutionalization of Foreign Consumer Culture

The primary objective of this research project is to analyze the interpenetration process of Japanese Consumer Culture (JCC) and American Consumer Culture (ACC)--the influence of ACC on Japanese counterpart and vice versa--after World War II. Focusing on changes in the intercultural relationship as the basic unit of analysis, this study addresses the following questions . On the one hand, how did Japanese aspire and adapt ACC in their lifestyle during the rapid economic growth period? How did Japanese utilize, cite, and alter ACC as a toolkit to constitute their collective sense of environments of consumption? On the other hand, how did American interpret the massive attack of high cost-performance Japanese products on their domestic market and its influence on their daily lives? How did American change their exotic view on Japan after Japan started to export not only hardware but otaku (geek) oriented software? Above all, how has the relative importance of ACC for Japanese consumers and vice versa been changed for these sixty years? These questions should be considered together with another question: how has the third-party such as European consumer culture influenced the interpenetration of Japanese and American consumer culture? To answer these questions, this project proposes a three-fold comparative scheme: (1) comparison across nation, (2) comparison across time, (3) comparison across the influence of the counterpart country's consumer culture nd that of the third party. By adopting this scheme, this project aims at providing a general framework for analyzing the dynamics of consumer culture. These interpenetration processes can be interpreted as the institutionalization process of accepted foreign consumer culture. Economic Sociologist Paul J. DiMaggio's theory of cognitive institutionalization, isomorphism, and cultural production are useful theoretical frameworks for this three-fold comparison of the institutionalization . This research project is greatly inspired by the ideas and findings of DiMaggio and aims at extending his ideas through the comparative analysis. This research project tries to overcome two limitations of previous researches on consumer culture. One is the lack of a systematic research on JCC. Another is that in spite of this global era, there is little research on interpenetration process among consumer cultures. This research project is very important because it will contribute to develop the theoretical framework for analyzing interpenetration process among consumer cultures, and to deepen our understanding of consumer culture. This understanding will contribute to public policy makers to promote cultural interaction with foreign countries. Because collecting data of JCC will be completed before the proposed research project starts, this project will involve the deployment of two method. First, this project will engage in a content analysis in America to measure the JCC's penetration process. Second,this project iwll engage in ethnographic interviews with people who have tried to introduce and/or distribute JCC, and people who have refused to introduce or criticized JCC to analyze the complex interaction of these various interests.