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Global Marketing Strategy: Diffusion of the Italian Slow Food Movement in Japan

Italy and Italian seen by people in Japan: are there stereotypes or preconceived images?

The Italian image: from the Grand Tour the prevalence of Sicily as background is notable, and the portrait has a double face: a country with a high artistic value, but Italian people do not have a great reputation.
Before analysing the image that people in Japan hold towards Italy and Italian people, it is necessary to give a brief description of the period in which Italy started being appealing to foreign eyes' and the first representations of our country appeared.
In XVII Century a lot of European aristocratic men were used to travel around the continent to know the places where the culture began, so that the favourite destinations were Italy and Greece. This journey, called the Grand Tour, was considered an important stage concerning the education of young men of that period, and the first representations and comments about Italy and Italian people can be found in the diaries of the travellers (De Seta, 2007).
Italy was crossed from North to South, from East to West, and Rome was the focal point, representing the most important open-air museum of Roman remains, but also others cities of art such as Florence, Venice, Naples and Turin were considered relevant destinations. But the Italian area which was considered the best representative of the cradle of culture, was Sicily, because of its uncontaminated nature and its ancient relationship with Greece (De Seta, 2007).
And it was exactly Sicily which became the most used background of the Italian stereotype which was born in the travellers' diaries: Italy was seen as the motherland of culture, with an incredible and unequalled artistic value and heritage, but populated by a particular kind of people, who lived in big families, with a disappointing position towards authorities and power. The whole Italy was identified with the social situation of Sicily, image that persisted even during the Italian emigration in America during the first part of the XX Century (De Seta, 2007; Rambelli, 2006).
Influence of history and cinema in shaping the Italian image is notable too: you always find stressed the double characteristic, high artistic value but particular people.
In shaping the Italian stereotype, political and historical issues have played an important role, and Italians are often described as passionate and jokers, but always ready to betray and to jeer at foreign people, considering them a threat for the safe of one's family (Kelikian, 1992). The principal reason of this connotation can be seen in the role played by Italy during the Second World War, towards Germany: it is described as a disloyal country, unreliable and always ready to betray. Moreover, during and after the conflict, Italian emigration towards America reached its highest intensity and due to the fact that the majority of emigrants were from Sicily, there has been the tendency in identifying the whole country as an enlargement of the Southern region.
Indeed, the cinema played an important role too and the represented image is always a double one. In this research, two of the most known Italian film at the worldwide level will be taken as example: The Godfather (1972), representing a contested and denied but still present and alive side of Italy, criminal organizations; and La dolce vita (1960), symbol of the artistic and carefree life of rich people in Rome. Firstly the Grand Tour, later the film industry: the image of Italy has kept being double till the middle of the last Century, at the same time motherland of art and culture but unable of having reliable international relations, ready to betray, like its inhabitants. […]

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Global Marketing Strategy: Diffusion of the Italian Slow Food Movement in Japan

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Informazioni tesi

  Autore: Maria Gamba
  Tipo: Tesi di Laurea Magistrale
  Anno: 2013-14
  Università: Università degli Studi Ca' Foscari di Venezia
  Facoltà: Studi Orientali
  Corso: Lingue e Istituzioni economiche e giuridiche dell'Asia e dell'Africa mediterranea
  Relatore: Junko Kimura
  Lingua: Inglese
  Num. pagine: 94

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Parole chiave

slow food
japan
stéréotypes
consumers
italian image
giappone
country of origin

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