Internationalization of Culture through Traditional Arts: A Case of Japanese SMEs
Keywords: internationalization strategies, Asian SMEs, cultural aspects as differentiation, Japanese culture.
AbstractThere are two important subjects concerning internationalization strategies that are of interest to academia, the business community and society in general. The first one is internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); the other one is internationalization of local cultures. This article provides insights into the specific internationalization strategies used by Japanese SMEs to export traditional arts to foreign markets, focusing on Japanese pottery for the tea ceremony. SMEs encounter difficulties concerning limited resources in their internationalization process, but what is the situation of SMEs whose business activity is linked to indigenous cultural factors? The findings have been obtained from in-depth interviews with pottery artists as well as qualitative analysis of websites and other sources and they suggest a new previous phase in the export of products with a cultural meaning. I called this phase the 'reverse prior phase' and I argue that it might be a suitable way to start the internationalization process for Japanese traditional arts.