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Global Perspectives on the United StatesPro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and the Discourses Between$
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Virginia R. Domínguez and Jane C. Desmond

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040832

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040832.001.0001

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Japanese Rappers, 9/11, and Soft Power

Japanese Rappers, 9/11, and Soft Power

Anti-American Sentiments in “American” Popular Culture

(p.239) Chapter 10 Japanese Rappers, 9/11, and Soft Power
Global Perspectives on the United States

Ian Condry

University of Illinois Press

This essay focuses on Japanese rappers but also explores arguably anti-American sentiments in popular culture otherwise seen as American. Condry is interested in the way Japanese rappers can be very provocative while simultaneously not being easily categorized as either “pro-Japanese” or “anti-American.” Instead he finds that they struggle to define an ethical politics across national boundaries. This essay exemplifies the ways that popular culture can be a vehicle for soft power, but makes a point of showing that it would be a mistake to view the spread of U.S. popular culture styles in itself as an effective national tool in world politics. Condry includes examples from Japanese rap musicians’ portrayals of 9/11 and the Iraq War. They may love hip-hop music and culture but still view U.S. government policies with skepticism. Provocatively, the essay asks how the analysis of soft power might be transformed if, instead of focusing on how American or Japanese soft power could be heightened, we instead asked how transnational goals of human rights, environmental protection, and fair trade (among others) could be made more “attractive” to the world as a whole.

Keywords:   hip-hop, Japan, rappers, anti-American sentiments, ethical politics, portrayals of 9/11 and the Iraq War, U.S. government policies, U.S. popular culture, soft power

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