Multinationalizing the multicultural: the commodification of ‘ordinary foreign residents’ in a Japanese TV talk show

Koichi Iwabuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses the representation of foreign residents in Japan in the popular television variety show Kokoga hen dayo nihonjin (This Is So Bizarre, You Japanese). It discusses ways in which the increasing presence and visibility of foreign residents in the Japanese public space enhances the commercial value of ‘ordinariness’. In this process the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them-within-us’ are sharply re-demarcated in an international framework and the intensifying multicultural situation is subtly turned into a multinational media spectacle, in a way in which the national imagined community is not fundamentally displaced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-118
Number of pages16
JournalJapanese Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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