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Japanese Superstars

0501

Nakama Yukie is a Top Star in the Entertainment Industry

As I have explained many times here, everything in America is reflected in Japan. That is because of the close working relationship that has developed between the two countries after the Second World War. Japan failed terribly during that war, and wished to follow the best path to recovery. The belief they harbored was that the victor in that conflict, the United States, possessed the social and business models to be adopted in order to reform the country along lines that would lead to success as quickly as possible.

It started in the electronics industry. With the encouragement and support of the United States Administration, Sony Corporation started manufacturing cheap transistor radios for the American and international markets. Today, Sony is one of the world’s finest electronic industry giants, but in the 1950s it was a tiny company just starting out, and required American governmental support. Sales of those cheap Japanese transistor radios gave proof of how diligent Japanese companies were working so as to be accepted as part of the international community.

At the same time, new-founded Japanese automobile companies embarked on marketing campaigns in the United States. As the biggest market for automotive vehicles, the US was targeted for sales. To see how Nissan evolved from being initially established to industry leader it is recommended that "The Reckoning," by David Halberstam be read.

That US government support of the development of Japanese industry continued into the 1960s. Sony was given carte blanche to branch out into other spheres. That led to an explosion of development in the electronics industry.

How this came about is that the Vietnam War occurred. In the 1950s the French were still firmly implanted in what was then called Indo-China, which included the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This was despite the fact that all of those countries had their own cultures which were nothing like the others. And there were also ethnic minorities within those countries to complicate matters further.

The Vietnamese had been agitating for independence going back to World War I. When the French abruptly pulled out of the country, the US took over, and stubborn conservative leaders in the US administration were determined to keep the status quo in place.

The point is not to rehash the history of the Vietnam War, it is to explain how the Japanese electronics industry took off. The US was increasingly opposed by neutral countries in regards to the Vietnam War. The war was becoming to be seen as unwinnable. Few thought that it was worth fighting.

Consequently, the US administration was desperate for support. In Asia, that meant Japan. China was still in turmoil, India was far from the scene and had its own concerns, Korea, always known as the "Hermit Kingdom," was uninterested in the situation.

That left only Japan as a potential backer. So what did the US administration do? It turned over the electronics industry to Japan. Which allowed Sony to become a giant in the industry, starting with the marketing of VCR machines.

No doubt, Sony possessed great talent, from engineers to managers to advertising staff. However, it was the stacking of the deck by the US government that settled the matter. One after another, American manufacturers of electronics shut down. And finally, Sony was alone at the top.

Today, Japan is a world leader in many spheres. But what the focus is here is on the entertainment industry.

Leaving aside other vibrant activity, Japanese television is as exciting and innovative as any other. In the mid-1990s a program called, "Trick," introduced a beautiful young actress, Nakama Yukie, to the public.

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Nakama is now 41 years old, but she is still in top form. As beautiful as ever, her skills as an actress are wonderful to watch.

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Another great talent is Matsuda Seiko. She might be called "the Madonna of Japan." She has certainly had as many hits on Japanese radio as Madonna has had in the West.

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But how about men? Are there no male superstars in Japan? Well, I suppose so, but frankly I am not as interested in them as the fabulously alluring Japanese actresses. However, one actor has been on the scene for decades and continues going strong. That is Nishida Toshiyuki. He is a fantastic actor, with comedic talent as well, whose presence in productions gives great credence to them. It is a pleasure to watch him on the screen.

The above is hardly more than a superficial look at the superstars of the Japanese entertainment industry. I am sure that fans of the performers spotlighted would want more detailed treatment of those entertainers, but space is limited. I wish only to introduce these great figures to those who might not have never heard of them.

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