[Conversation with Hiro Nagakubo]

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. A conversation with Hiro Nagakubo, product inventor for Sony, about American culture and its influence on Japan.

0:00Copy video clip URL Nagukabo finishes a phone conversation, then talks about Japanese appropriation of the American 1950s. Nagukabo says that the Japanese ’50s were so poor that the American ’50’s were the Japanese dream. Someone suggests that the ’50s in America were focused on consumerism and productivity, which explains the reason why a technologically industrializing Japan would appreciate the American ’50s.

3:55Copy video clip URL After a bit of eating, there is some more talk of societies built on the idea of consumerism and consumption. Someone suggests that these cultures are always searching for something more to consume, even after physical products have been oversold.

6:00Copy video clip URL Nagukabo talks about his generation’s feeling that affirming life is an important goal in daily life, whereas the younger generation has little sense of this.

8:45Copy video clip URL Nagukabo says that AIDS introduced a greater era of obedience and carefulness in America. Nagukabo responds to suggestions he sees regularly that the Japanese are to blame for the decline of American finance. Interviewer says that the death of the Communist threat has been directed towards Japan.

11:10Copy video clip URL Nagukabo describes his view of America before visiting the US. He says that he thought of “high-protein ice cream” and bananas, which were precious in Japan.

12:15Copy video clip URL Interviewer asks Nagukabo why his generation didn’t have stronger negative feelings towards the USA, following the second World War. He explains that the Japanese culture, once it experiences complete defeat, is able to look at its opponents with respect. He uses the metaphor of eating rice versus eating beef–when Americans eat beef, it stays with them, when Japanese eat rice, it passes through quickly.

14:45Copy video clip URL Nagukabo says that the majority of Japanese have no negative feelings towards Americans, “I don’t know why…” Nagukabo suggests that the Japanese tried to forget the experiences of World War II, since they had been such terrible years. Without this past, America suddenly looked like an attractive surrogate. He says he learned about America from “The Lucy Show” and “Father Knows Best.”

17:18Copy video clip URL Nagukabo talks about celebrating Christmas with a family in the United States and being shocked by how perfectly the quantity of food matched what he had always dreamed about.

20:08Copy video clip URL Nagukabo talks about his father’s work as a painter for the emperor. He explains that his father was a bohemian type. He also says that the toilets in American airports were so large he was afraid of falling in.

22:29Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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