New Delhi: India key market for the Japanese entertainment industry. Indian interest towards Japanese culture has been growing significantly over the last few years, especially amongst Gen Z, believes Kaoru Miyamoto, Director General, Japan Foundation, New Delhi.
“Entertainment, as history and economics suggest has been the most potent source to share knowledge and therefore India is a key market for the Japanese entertainment industry”, he adds.
Japan Foundation is set to launch the fourth edition of the Japanese Film Festival (JFF)-India 2020 digitally amid the pandemic, starting December 4. It will screen critically acclaimed award-winning titles along with mainstream entertainment for 10 days.
IANSlife speaks to Miyamoto who shares details of the events, views on how Japanese content is liked by Indian audiences and more:
Q: How do you perceive the impact of Japanese lifestyle on the Indian population?
A: India and Japan share a close resemblance in terms of culture, food, clothing, art, and social practices. Needless to say, Japanese culture is permeating in India, advancing and strengthening the relationship between the two countries. Additionally, with an increase in exposure to global content, there is a significant surge in demand for international projects across markets. We aim to continue to empower people with quality choices and cater to a wider set of audience with the launch of the fourth edition of the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) in India.
Q: How do you see the response of the Indian audience towards Japanese culture and cinema?
A: Cinema depicts all dimensions of a nation’s culture. The interest towards Japanese culture has been growing significantly over the last few years, especially amongst the Gen Z. With the fourth edition of Japanese Film Festival, we seek to celebrate the vivacious Japanese culture in India, bring its different stories to the Indian audience through the medium. The 2020 Festival line-up features critically acclaimed, popular films which offers an enriching experience to our Indian viewers. We are confident the festival will not only be successful and bigger with the virtual access but also promote the appreciation of Japanese culture and cinema in the Indian landscape.
Q: Which genres and formats, in particular, do you believe have received more traction amongst the Indian audience?
A: Usually international award-winning films like the Cannes’ winner ‘Shoplifters’ or popular anime features like ‘Weathering with You’ have been quite well-received in India, in fact, becoming the first of their kind commercial releases of Japanese films in India. In addition, at the 3rd edition of JFF India, we were overwhelmed with the response of the audience to the visit of director Makoto Shinkai.
Q: Do you see the scope and popularity of Japanese content increasing in India and your thoughts on JFF’s role in catering to Indian cine lovers?
A: This is the fourth season of Japanese Film Festival in India and from our earlier editions we can say that the popularity is growing rapidly. The demand is significant beyond the metros and tier 1 cities. As we understand our young audience (below 25 years) have an affinity towards foreign culture and that stems the interest in learning about and appreciating them. Entertainment, as history and economics suggest has been the most potent source to share knowledge and therefore India is a key market for the Japanese entertainment industry.
The festival, however, focusses on strengthening the bond between the people of the two nations. The initiative is designed to promote global entertainment and offer a platform for new talent to showcase their work to diverse international audience and markets. Through the Japanese film festival in India, our endeavour is to map the interests of the Indian audience and cater to them with more precision and in pragmatic ways. The festival is free of cost, so we welcome everyone to join us in celebrating the beginning of the year end festivities with some prominent Japanese films.
Q: What are the similarities you see in terms of culture and cuisine in Japan and India?
A: Be it the love for tea or rice being a staple, there is a striking resemblance between the customs of the two countries. In terms of culture and heritage, both have similarities and are connected due to their common practices and closeness with each other. Japan has a fascinating and multifaceted culture, known for its traditions, hospitality and value system. As we know, the same values are followed in India as well. Also, in terms of cuisine, both nations offer similar types of tastes with a wide range of unique flavours and ingredients of fermented nature.