A Movement in the Traditional Japanese Confectionary Industry Reflecting the Modern Normative Trend

Mihoko Morisaki & Kota Kitagawa (2020)

In: Šimić, Anđelko (ed.), 1st Croatian-Japanese Conference: Contemporary Problems in Economics: Mate, Zagreb, pp. 59-79. Open access

Abstract. This article aims to grasp the direction of current movements in the Japanese confectionary (wagashi) industry, which have deviated from the traditional wagashi world. To provide an understanding on the direction, the study uses the following concepts for comprehending the creations, pluralities, and dynamism of values; “cité” that represents common goods prevailing in the socioeconomic context, an “evaluation model” representing a unique value criterion defined by a service community, and “service as a struggle” that encompasses coopetition between a provider and beneficiaries to create greater value. We characterize the movements in relation to the modern normative capitalistic trend, which comprises the projective and inspiration cité (Morisaki and Suda 2016; Suda and Morisaki 2018). We also analyze a typical case depicting the movement from the perspective of the plurality of cité; the results confirm the existence of asymmetry (within the community) between the cité to which the provider conforms and the one to which the beneficiaries conform. We characterize this asymmetric state (the beneficiaries’ weak conformance to the inspiration cité) as the weak degree of “struggle” for greater authenticity. It implies the weak inclination of the community toward driving its autonomous and continuous development. It might not only be an issue for this community but also for the growing number of “wagashi artists,” who undertake wagashi-crafting as a service. In order to drive the autonomous and continuous development of the skills of the wagashi artists and attitudes of both the artists and beneficiaries, there is a need to train beneficiaries to be more demanding ones who can strive for more authentic service. Then, the continuous development of the novel communities, which have deviated from the traditional valuation world of wagashi, would reactivate the whole wagashi industry. In this regard, it should be noted that although service beneficiaries’ weak degree of conformance to the inspiration cité persists, preliminary movements and activities are being conducted for imbedding the inspiration cité into the service beneficiaries.

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