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Advertisement and Migration in Japan

By Carmina Osuna            

            Even with all of the theories of migration that exist now, Castoe’s and Miller’s book The Age of Migration explains how, “no single cause is ever sufficient to explain why people decide to leave their country and settle in another,” the money behind advertisement can definitely help explain why it migrates so easily. 

            Once I began my SAS travels in Japan it didn’t take long to discover the Japanese people’s unique style and their appreciation for high end “world” fashion.  It seems strange to say that the Japanese have a unique style since it revolves around “world” fashion.  However, it appears that the way in which they put it together is what makes their style distinctive.  After only a day in Kobe and Kyoto I recognized a Western store by the name of Claire’s with out any Japanese translation in the title.  The store was located near the local train station and was part of an old-fashion looking street.  Once I walked into Clair’s I noticed that their racks housed the Mariah Carey and Niki Hilton’s jewelry lines.  Later on that day I came across many advertisements for Chanel, Dior, and other designers who used Western style models to advertise their merchandize.  By this time we were in down town Kyoto and this historical town looked at night as Los Angeles does, kit up and very populated.  As we passed all the major department stores I noticed that a diamond company used Beyonce as their primary spokesperson. Photo Beyonce’s face was lit up by not only the dimonds that adorned her, but by the city lights.  The Japanese citizen’s faces were lit up by her beauty and popularity.  She is on display for them to see with out any prosecution or discrimination even though she is completely different and not a native by any stretch of the imagination.

            I have to admit that I was shocked at first to recognize so many celebrities over seas.  I then realized how easy it is for a star or even a brand to go from country to country selling, aigning and advertising, and how difficult it is for a migrant to go from their home country to the country that they work in even if it’s just to see their family.  It is kind of shocking to realize that our world is so money based that it often neglects to be compassionate about the things that should really matter.  Products and brands can flow easily around borders and are often protected and treated as tokens by sending and receiving countries.  A journey that would only take two hours by car takes a migrant days or even becomes fatal. Overall it is safe to say that migration in any way shape or form is a big transnational business.

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