As far as awards ceremonies go, the Sugoi Japan Awards were a fairly flashy affair. Held on March 22, the prizes recognized recent titles in anime, manga and fiction that an online poll of Japanese fans wanted to do well overseas.

Winners included "One Punch Man" and "Your Lie in April," and the guest list to the event included pop culture critics, studio executives and, of course, the artists themselves. In a room filled with those dedicated to getting people in other countries interested in Japanese culture, however, the room seemed conspicuously absent anyone from outside Japan.

Readers familiar with the government's "Cool Japan" campaign to promote the country's soft power overseas may have heard similar complaints about the initiative before. Efforts to brand Japanese culture often leave out the international perspective, which itself comprises many different kinds of people. When panels and committees are created to decide what gets funding to make a push for a non-Japanese market, they're often made up of locals with the same domestic mindset.