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Star Group

on 21 November 2013

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Over-arching Theme: Glocalization
combines the terms

In a globalized world, cultural flows are ever present
However, localization is not replaced by globalization-they come into conversation
Cultural adaptation is a result
It is strongly linked to the exotic vs. the familiar
While the exotic is seductive and interesting, the familiar is what allows Disney to become domesticated into everyday lives
America is not lost, and Japan is not forgotten-they become a hybrid that is TDL
This concept serves as a key theme of
Riding the Black Ship

Japanization of Rides
Onstage Vs. Offstage

The Birth of Tokyo Disneyland

Construction of the Tokyo Disneyland
- On November 28, 1980, the construction plans were approved by Chiba Prefecture, and on December 3, the ground breaking ceremony of Tokyo Disneyland was held.
Tokyo Disneyland is an one hundred and fifteen acre theme park located at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba, Japan.
Black Ship Metaphor
Globalization can be seen as a black ship, which spreads "cultural homogeneity"
For the book's purpose, Disneyland takes the form of the black ship
However, the claim is that it is the Japanese that are steering the ship rather than the Americans
The two parks, or, on a larger scale, Los Angeles and Tokyo, are traveling together as they sail over the global/local dichotomy
Comparing TDL and Disneyland
Riding the Black Ship
compares Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland in order to bring to light the "Japanization" of a so-called cultural import
The rest of our presentation will focus on the elements that define TDL as a glocalized experience rather than a case of cultural imperialism by looking into how TDL functions both onstage and offstage
The mask: an idealized America
Frontier land
When you enter TDL, you enter America
A place of leisure and play: reja and asobi
Domesticating Disney
More ad-libbing in Mystery Tour

TDL Workers
An essential factor in the
Disneyland experience since
they represent not only the
park, but the company in general.
(which puts them in even bigger pressure)

Divided in to 2 groups, the
part timers and the full timers
Although trained through Disney rules,
they perform with Japanese attitudes.
(e.g. importance of the manual, Japanese
organization structure, hiring techniques)
- A "Disneyfied" socialization process
(e.g. the Disney smile, Disney stuff)

- Go through a much different process of hiring and training than part-timers.
- Usually straight from graduation
- More involved with background stuff
(management, office, telephone)
- Have a union membership privilege
as well as the bonuses that come with them (e.g. salary bargaining

Uchi-Soto & Honne-Tatemae
1. Inside and Outside TDL
The park itself (uchi) / Chiba (soto)
The spiel
2. TDL Western River Railroad
cuts off Adventureland and Westernland
Seeing Chiba would disrupt the exotic foreign experience
Maintain exotic -> Distancing itself from surrounding
Uchi - Soto
Nostalgia in Main Street, USA (DL)
Gift shops in World Bazaar (TDL)
Japanese traditions and shows
Kawaii & Youth Culture
roughly translates as "cute" or "loveable"
important aspect of youth culture in Japan since the 1980s
a look, a lifestyle and an aesthetic
its emergence/popularization coincided with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in 1983
Reception of Tokyo Disneyland
Managed by Japanese company

Leads back to "glocalization"
Part timers
3 types: Regular, Casual, Seasonal
Wage: 1000 yen/hr (although can vary depending on position)
- Have a more socialized training than regular workers
- Do not have the same privileges that regulars have
- More prominent within the park itself

America on stage
Disney brand... Sayings, a statue
American image... Caucasian models, American food and music
Fading American experiences
Restrictions- Bento, vending machines
Consumerist culture and commodification
Target audience is varied
Japan on stage
Tokyo Disneyland Commercial
Disneyland Commercial
Simple Example of Glocalization
Adding elements of manga, an element of Japanese culture, to a TDL advertisement
Yet still maintaining the slogan: "Where dreams come true"
The brand name is important
Disney is highly present in both commercials, however it is evident that the TDL commercial is catered to a Japanese audience
12,390 Employees
Visited by more than 16 million people

"At first glance, Tokyo Disneyland is a physical and social copy of Disneyland-a clone created six-thousand miles distant and perhaps something of a cultural bomb dropped on perfect strangers..."
...But there is more to the story!

The Grand opening of Tokyo Disneyland
The Theme Park Boom
-Starting from 1980s, the leisure market in Japan grew exponentially and diversely.
-In 1990s, TDL has about 16 millions of visitors every year; while each year about 10 millions of Japanese travel abroad.
The theme park boom
Honne Tatemae
3. The Workers
Disney Family (uchi)
Internal labor market
Keep the hyperreal
Permanent (uchi) v.s Part time (soto)
Tatemae: polite imaging
Honne: “real situation” or the “real feelings”

1.Tatemae: Utopia/ Ideal fantasy world
Honne: :
An hyperreal "cinematic society”
Consumerism; Consumption
Capitalism; Imperialism; Colonialism
2.Tatemae: Modernized Japan
Honne: the “black ship”

3.The Disney smile:
Tatemae: Inviting; friendliness
Honne: Commodified mass culture

Why was the Mystery Tour so Popular?
TDL's version of a ghost house (obakeyashiki)
Marketing Rationale
Structural Similarity
Offers another example of the active role of consumption in subverting the "ideology" of production
Jokes don't drive Mystery Tour compared to Jungle Cruise
Guests interact more in Mystery Tour
TDL doesn't just appeal to children

rise of the OL ("office lady"): culture of single female office-workers who embrace
and who are among the primary targets of TDL's appeal

code (



is already built in to the idea of Disneyland

popular Disney characters like Mickey Mouse exemplify the ideals of

"The highest temple of cuteness is an American import: Tokyo Disneyland."
Kawaii and TDL


- On April 15, 1983, the gates to the Kingdom of Dreams and Magic opened and a brilliant page was added to the history of Japanese leisure industry.
- Intensive training for park operation took place in combination of other preview program prior to the opening of Tokyo Disneyland.
- Even though since beginning of operation in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland attendance has continued to see growth, but challenges to achieve bigger goals were still ahead.
The Tokyo Disneyland is owned by Oriental Land Company which is a Japanese leisure and tourism corporation headquartered in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
OLC approached The Walt Disney Company in the 1970s to fund the very first international Disney themed park
- The cost of the construction ballooned from the estimated budget of 100 billion yen into 180 billion yen in total
- Employees from the OLC had to prepare a large amount of operating manuals, character costumes, and maintenance training required for operating the Park
Exoticism and Familiarity
Post imperialist recreation
Japanese recreation
Japanese demographic consumers
Mystery Tour vs Haunted House
Jungle Cruise
Most popular.
Significant changes to dubbed spiel
Taken from American DL and changed to fit Japanese demographic
Japanization of the Spiel
"American in Japan and a Japanese view of America
Conduct. Reverse social order --> Difficulty of Dual expectations.
Adopting DL conduct, comparing it to
Jungle Cruise

Fun/jokes from "captain" or tour guide
jokes are funny, lighthearted, interactive.
Cute racism
Recreation/cut out "mother in law" line from traditional DL script.
JC Captain
Cultural Importation

"Captain" use of "yari"
Informal nature by using colloquial "Yarisugichata"
using animals as fuel for punny nature, using self as punny material.
Audience reaction is usually positive with laughter.
Reinforces "conduct" difference
Not adlibbed
Find many ways to use pun in many context
Similar to japanese poetry "Share" --> "Kyoka" (comic relief)
Change of tropical attraction= exotic people.
Shared amusement between US/JAP
Not in Paris (colonial past)
Japanization example --> Disney made in Japan.
Onstage and offstage dichotomy is seen even in the organization of the book
Animations and cartoons were already a part of Japanese culture

Disney was made popular by its influence on Japanese animation

Made it easier to accept a foreign culture
Why Disney is popular in Japan
Major theme parks
-"The opening of TDL was, in retrospect, the greatest cultural event in Japan during the 80's." (Notoji 1993.)
Japan's theme parks
in sociological perspective.
-The upsurge of foreign lands was facilitated.
-The common cultural denominator of these leisure resorts is the remaking in Japan of a foreign part of the world.
-Themed traveling is also the
current trend for tourism.
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