Could NFTs and Crypto Help Japan’s ‘Cool Japan’ Strategy?

Japan has always been a leader in the technology industry, so it’s a logical move that given the current trends in the space, the Cool Japan movement could incorporate Web3 to strengthen its initiative. Bringing Web3 into the mix along with the popular culture aspects of the movement could greatly help the mission, but this movement has yet to be implemented by the government-led movement.

With much of Web3 still a mystery as to its capabilities and future prospects, it’s understandable that the government has yet to combine it with its initiative to take Japan into the future technologically and bring Japanese culture to other areas of the world. but doing so would certainly increase the potential in many areas.

The making of ‘Cool Japan’

If Japanese culture is so popular in other countries, it’s understandable that some may not understand why the government felt the need to create the Cool Japan initiative in the first place. But just because something is well known or popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s thriving.

Ultimately, Cool Japan was created to promote positive attitudes towards Japan, increasing sales of Japanese products around the world, and promoting tourism. The movement’s mission, laid out in its proposal, is for Japan as a country to provide creative solutions to the world’s challenges. The goal was never simply to promote the country as a cool place to be or go, but also to express that Japan can offer useful ideas to the rest of the world.

The television series “Cool Japan” explores Japanese culture from the perspective of foreigners. Source: CR-Nexus

The country is known for its influence on popular culture, as well as its constant political stability and innovation. But while Japan may have a strong economy, it faces other problems, such as an aging society, the loss of communities, and environmental and energy problems.

To achieve the country’s mission, the Cool Japan strategy consists of three steps: promoting domestic growth, connecting Japan with other countries, and becoming a Japan that helps the world. Each step has its own missions, set to achieve the overall goal, and there are multiple government organizations involved in promoting the initiative, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and even the Cool Japan Movement Promotion Council.

The success of the movement in the recent past is not fully known, but what is known is that as industries and times change, so should the strategy, creating greater potential for future success.

Japanese culture has been popular abroad for decades without stopping. Everything from anime to manga to traditional Japanese cuisine and clothing has spread and influenced other areas of the world, especially the United States. The Japanese government caught on to this trend and saw its potential. This potential was turned into action and led to the “Cool Japan” initiative, which was created to promote Japanese cultural products and technologies globally with the goal of increasing the country’s cultural exports.

The current state of Web3 in Japan

While Japan may not be leading the charge in Web3, it is certainly still ahead of many other countries.

Whiplus Wang, the director of Japanese crypto conference IVS Crypto, told Cointelegraph where Japan currently stands with respect to Web3 and whether the Cool Japan movement has plans to incorporate Web3 into its initiative to promote the country.

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While Wang said that Cool Japan has no relationship with Web3, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making an effort to increase Web3 adoption in Japan.

“Right now, there are three policies in place. One policy is to tax companies, which has caused many Web3 companies to leave Japan and move to other countries, such as Singapore,” Wang said. “However, I think this will change soon. They want to create a better environment for Japan to have this kind of business.”

According to Wang, it seems that Web3 is moving slowly at the government level but much faster at the community level. The government is still figuring out what Web3 is and what cryptocurrencies and blockchain can do, so movement in that direction is slow.

Widespread use of NFTs

However, at the community level, what Japan is doing with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3 is way ahead of the curve. There are a couple of high schools that are giving students courses on NFT and Web3, some decentralized autonomous organizations are educating people on the basics of Web3, and there are even special policies that incorporate NFT.

“In Japan, there is a special policy called the Hometown Tax. With this, you can choose which region you want to pay your taxes in, it doesn’t have to be the one you live in. When you pay tax to a region, you get a gift, something that is special to the area, like a commodity that they are known for,” Wang explained. “Areas that don’t have anything special are giving NFT. Some of them would be coupons for local restaurants or something similar.”

If this policy were changed in a way that would allow exchanges with people outside of Japan, this could very well be a tactic used by Cool Japan to attract tourists from abroad just as it is attracting tourism within Japan.

A lot of what Japan is doing with Web3 and cryptocurrencies is domestic, but there is a special market that sells NFTs abroad: anime.

Anime is an aspect of Japanese culture that has become popular all over the world, garnering a large and loyal fan base. Some anime-related companies have released NFTs that were immediately bought by overseas customers.

Wang said: “For those companies, they are trying to use NFTs to attract revenue from abroad rather than within Japan, because the fee for people in Japan who own a wallet is really low.”

This is another tactic that the Cool Japan movement could incorporate to increase visibility as a country and as an industry leader, combining the aspects of pop culture that people around the world love with the innovation that can only be found with Web3.

future outlook

For the Cool Japan movement to realistically incorporate technology and Web3, Japan will likely first need a more widespread social implementation. Sagawa Koheia promoter of the project and the Symbol/NEM community, told Cointelegraph that the process could be slow.

“Blockchains empower individuals and creators, especially when compared to Web2. Transparency is expected to ensure the authenticity of the content, so you will know its history, who made it, who bought it, etc.,” Kohei said. “However, it is still developing and not widely recognized in society. Most people don’t even know what it is. The social implementation will increase, but it will be little by little”.

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While those in the industry (or those in the know) may be few, their number is certainly growing, and the same can be said for the Web3 knowledge base in Japan. Kohei said that there are a number of services currently accepting crypto payments and that the government is working on regulations and taxes.

As Japan continues to move forward with its cryptocurrency and Web3 legislation and the government learns more about what it can do for the country as a whole, it will be interesting to see how companies will incorporate Web3 into their business practices. Once it takes off, it could provide the Cool Japan movement with more and more potential for success. But even if the move itself doesn’t create a relationship with the technology industry, Web3 could still very well allow Japan to achieve the goals they set for themselves.