Cultural attraction, 'soft power' and proximity: the popularity of Japanese language in Hong Kong since the 1980s

Xiaojiang Yu*, Kazuyuki Takata, Estelle Dryland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper discusses the cultural attraction, 'soft power', and importance of cultural proximity to the popularity of the Japanese language in Hong Kong over the last three decades. Exploration of both primary and secondary sources constitutes the main research methodology employed. Email surveys and face-to-face interviews were undertaken to ascertain the nature and degree of the cultural attraction that stimulates local people's interest in learning Japanese language and culture. The paper concludes that Japan's 'soft power', i.e., popular culture and cultural products, are the most influential driving forces behind the popularity of Japanese language in Hong Kong. Also, the Japanese cultural proximity to the Chinese is another factor that excites local people's interest in learning Japanese as a foreign language. In the Hong Kong context, geopolitical and national identity factors do not seem to detract from the popularity of the Japanese language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-336
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • cultural attraction
  • cultural products
  • cultural proximity
  • Hong Kong
  • Japanese language learning
  • popular culture

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