National

Cool Japan academies to open across Asia

Kyodo

Leading publisher Kadokawa Corp. has announced plans to open a slew of academies across East and Southeast Asia, starting with Taiwan and Singapore, each pushing knowledge of the core design skills at the heart of Japanese pop culture.

Kadokawa said recently that it will open 10 schools in as many countries, including Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, by 2016.

The schools hope to benefit from a wave of pop culture exports under the government-sponsored Cool Japan strategy aimed at promoting Japanese culture, products and services overseas. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry opened an office devoted to the campaign in 2010.

While unveiling the plan last week, Kadokawa Chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa said he expected the academies to turn out 30,000 graduates within 10 years.

“We are hopeful this will lead to the birth of human resource networks,” he said.

In Taiwan, a standalone school is set to open in September with around 200 students, while courses in Singapore will be offered in partnership with a local university.

The courses, in animation, illustration, light novel writing, voice acting and character design will be modeled after those at the Kadokawa Contents Academy in Tokyo, with instructors initially dispatched to overseas schools from Japan.

Chu Wen-ching, director of the Taipei Culture Center at Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Tokyo, said the new academy will help the development of Taiwanese industry.

“I look forward to Taiwan producing the next Hayao Miyazaki,” Chu said.