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Tokyo Olympics branding adds to stereotypical view of Japan — but that doesn’t make it appropriation

By Fabio Gygi, Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS, University of London
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In the weeks leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the BBC premiered its trailer for the games – an extravagant, 60-second romp through the recent imagery of Japan as a cute, colourful, anime and manga-inspired wonderland.

With signature music by Kenji Kawai, vocals by virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku and a maximalist aesthetic, the trailer has had a mixed reception. In social media commentary, fans were enthused, non-fans were non-plussed, and some more vinegary voices muttered about cultural stereotypes.

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