SINGAPORE — The government Thursday kicked off the Cool Japan cultural promotion by boasting the nation's brands in a Singapore department store on the famed Orchard Road shopping strip.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said products from 15 Japanese fashion brands, including Beams, which is popular with young people, will be sold at the Harajuku Street Style cluster of brand outlets for three months from October as part of the joint public-private campaign, which starts with Cool Japan Month.
The government-backed project seeks to attract consumers and enhance the brands' recognition in Singapore and in the broader Asian market.
Tadahiro Matsushita, senior vice minister for economy, trade and industry, told a reception that the Singapore launch "is aimed at contributing to the growing Asian consumer market."
Similar projects are planned for India, China, France, Italy, the United States, Brazil and South Korea. The Cool Japan festival planned for Mumbai next March will focus on Japanese luxury brands and jewelry.
Matsushita is in Singapore with representatives of several small and medium-size Japanese companies to introduce fashion, apparel and food. Also on tap will be Japan travel, food and "anime" animation promotional fairs.
AWCG Ltd., a Japanese company representing the Harajuku brands, and Singapore fashion house 77th Street Inc. signed a memorandum Thursday to promote Japanese fashion brands in Singapore and Asia starting with a flagship store expected to open in the city-state in May.
Cool Japan aims to help the Japanese economy recover after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and also to reboot the popularity of the nation's pop culture among Asian youth, who have of late turned their attention to Korean pop.
Other upcoming projects include joint development of cartoon characters in India and promotion of Japanese products in China through television programs in cooperation with a Japanese entertainment company.
Cool Japan Month kicks off in S’pore
Lovers of all things Japanese will be delighted to know that they can now experience a piece of Japan without having to sit through a seven-hour flight.
The Cool Japan Month, an initiative designed to cultivate Japanese cultural business in overseas markets, was launched in Singapore on Thursday.
The first round of public-private joint projects to boost the popularity of Japanese pop culture among Asian youths, among whom it has been waning amid strong interest in K-pop, will see the return of Harajuku Street Style at local departmental store Tangs, Orchard.
Over the next three months, the Japanese street fashion collective will present apparel and accessories for both men and women from 15 Japanese brands such as Beams, one of the many popular labels available for the first time in Singapore.
Organised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan, the Cool Japan Month also aims to draw the appeal back to the country's branding earlier affected by the East Japan earthquake.
Said Japan's senior vice minister of METI Tadahiro Matsushita at the opening reception, "Six months have already passed since the disaster and Japan is now delighted in working towards a full recovery."
"We will provide objective data to the people around the world regarding the safety of Japanese-made products and services. By doing so, we will make our utmost effort to regain confidence in the Japanese brands."
Matsushita was in Singapore with representatives of several Japanese small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) to introduce "Cool Japan", which refers to the country's attractive culture with a touch of Japanese creativity.
The minister added that he believed they would be able to contribute to the growing Asian consumer market "by connecting Japanese SMEs and young designers and creators, who are the driving forces of Cool Japan, with Singapore, an information hub with business networks extending throughout this region".
Welcoming the move, Singapore's Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Chan Chung Sing said that he would like to celebrate the start of a cooperative relationship between Singapore and Japan as they try to expand Japanese businesses and culture all over Asia by utilising Singapore's strategic role.
The reception also witnessed the signing of a memorandum between local fashion house 77th Street Inc. and AWCG Ltd., a Japanese apparel company representing the Harajuku brands to promote Japanese fashion brands in Singapore and Asia. A flagship store housing these brands is expected to open in Singapore next May.
Special guests who graced the reception party included Japanese model Midori Kuzuoka and Japanese Shamisen band Kuni-Ken.
The Cool Japan Month in Singapore is Japan's first activity supporting overseas expansion. Besides Harajuku fashion, other highlights include a Japan travel and food fair happening at Takashimaya Square this weekend and an anime festival at the Suntec Convention Centre from 11 to 13 November.
Anyone excited after reading the list of countries? *wiggle eyebrows*