Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Deconstructive Creativity

“Something that I find interesting about Japan in creative terms is that creativity is expressed in Japan using a kind of deconstructive method. The design motifs and everything, for example, are Western but it is put together in a way that is entirely Japanese and there is nothing Western about it. Everything is borrowed – can you think of anything that is genuinely, genuinely Japanese? People say manga – well comic books weren’t invented in Japan….well maybe they were, I shouldn’t say things like that. But anyway, my point is that a lot of the work involves reinterpretation and I think that is genuinely creative. This is why, I think, people are interested in Japan. When everything has been done and you’ve got a culture which is basically reinterpreting everything you’ve done and putting it out in a fresh, Japanese way, then that is genuinely interesting. But I am not sure whether big business is the best channel for that creativity.”

This post is part of a series of excerpts from interviews with foreign executives in Japan, focusing on creativity. Excerpts have been edited for confidentiality.
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