「アニメの殿堂」 文化政策のあり方を問え

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 10, 2009)
Parties' cultural policies a focus in election
「アニメの殿堂」 文化政策のあり方を問え(8月10日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan is fiercely opposed to a government plan to build a national popular culture center, dubbed the "anime hall of fame," arguing that it would be a wasteful use of the state budget.

The Diet passed in an ordinary Diet session a supplementary budget that included 11.7 billion yen for the construction of the comprehensive media arts center. But the DPJ intends to cancel the plan if it takes power after the upcoming House of Representatives election.

The issue is more than a disagreement over whether such a center per se should be built--it also highlights each party's policy stance on cultural affairs.

We hope, taking this opportunity, that political parties will have active discussions on the issue of cultural affairs.

The envisaged center is expected to serve as a base for disseminating information on manga, anime and game software to people at home and abroad. Planned projects at the center include the exhibition, collection and preservation of such works, research into pop culture and the nurturing of pop culture creators.

Tokyo's Daiba area was at one point considered for the site for the planned facility, but the government now reportedly will have to work from scratch to decide on the location.


'Manga kissa' jibe misplaced

The DPJ has condemned the planned center, saying it would be a "state-run manga kissa [cafe]." This kind of stance will only foster misunderstanding about the project.

It is an important task for the government to actively support the production and publicizing of works in this area, which has gained international recognition. A particularly big challenge will be collecting pop culture works, which are said to be widely dispersed.

The point is to create a facility that matches the purposes for which it is built without wasting taxpayers money.

It also is important to have cooperation with other facilities across the nation, such as the Kyoto International Manga Museum, set up by a group of entities including Kyoto Seika University.

Consideration should also be given to the idea of using existing buildings that could be renovated without necessarily sticking to the idea of constructing a new facility.


Arts a broad field

The Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, comprising companies engaged in cultural support activities, polled political parties about their policies on cultural affairs ahead of the general election.

In its reply to the questionnaire, the Liberal Democratic Party said promotion of culture and arts is a basic plank of its national strategy, and that culture-related budgets need to be drastically increased.

The DPJ, for its part, said it wants to transform the conventional cultural policy centered on construction of facilities into one that makes use of human resources. The party also said it would carefully study culture-related spending in the past and compare it with the situation in the other countries before deciding the scale of its budget for the arts.

These differences in opinion seem to be reflected in the two parties' positions toward the media arts center project.

Cultural administration covers a broad range of issues, including the transmission of traditional culture and the development of cities' cultural assets by taking advantage of their historic landscapes and buildings. We hope political parties will deepen their discussions on cultural policy and come up with concrete policy proposals on the arts.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 10, 2009)
(2009年8月10日01時11分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-10 08:54 | 英字新聞

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