It’s 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night and I’m sitting down with some Japanese executives, who are advisers to the Cool Japan fund. The topic of discussion? What is the most optimal way for Japan to promote its cultural exports overseas and how best to capitalize on the internet’s constantly evolving fascination with Japanese culture.
The best part of the chat? This conversation didn’t take place in a boardroom — it took place in my living room, via the social media platform Clubhouse.
Initially released in April for iPhone users, Clubhouse has grown from a few thousand members to more than 2 million in under a year. I joined the app in early December, when it was mostly popular with Black creatives. Back then, Japanese users hadn’t yet received their invitations to this invite-only app. That led to an interesting phenomenon of different nationalities coming on board in waves — in late January I noticed a large influx of German users, and there was a wave of Chinese users before that country banned the app.