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Reviving Japanese "Traditional" Industries: Prospects and Strategies for Asian Regional Integration

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Title: Reviving Japanese "Traditional" Industries: Prospects and Strategies for Asian Regional Integration
Authors: Beamer, Jennifer
Keywords: Asian Regional Integration, Traditonal Craft Industries, Japan, Myanmar
Issue Date: 25 Mar 2010
Publisher: Waseda University Global COE Program Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI)
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Abstract: In the 1980s, most Asian traditional craft industries severely declined, deeply impacted by the process of globalization. Japan’s craft industry was no exception, and in looking for new ways to expand the shrinking domestic market for crafts, Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) began to look for opportunities outside its borders. Several prospects emerged in the form of cooperative and developmental craft exchanges designed to raise awareness and create an appreciation for traditional commodities among Asian neighbors.
While research to date concerning Asian regional integration has focused mainly on economic analysis, this paper argues that focusing on the social and cultural benefits of such craft cooperatives is potentially a more effective means for successful regional integration and advancement of Asian community building. Furthermore, as traditional crafts are material objects that can represent aspects of local, ethnic or cultural identity, therefore symbolizing not only the economic, but also social and cultural elements of a society, they can be part of the discourse of grassroots integration focused away from the elite.
This paper investigates the case of a regional community initiative—Japan’s Kiso Lacquer- ware Technical Cooperation Project and educational exchange with the Union of Myanmar in 1998. As an initial investigation, this paper will suggest preliminary strategies for regional cooperation and the survival of traditional industries.
Pages/Duration: 13
Rights: CC0 1.0 Universal
Appears in Collections:All Graduate Scholarship
Beamer, Jennifer

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