Foreign films, Western Cultural Influence, and Divorce in Japan.

by Tilman Tacke and Robert Waldmann

Globalization has caused a decrease in cultural distinctiveness. We find indications of a link between the divorce rate in Japan after 1955 and the market share of foreign films. Foreign films in Japanese cinema, including Hollywood productions, may act as importer of Western values. The market share of foreign films has predictive power for three periods of decreasing divorce rates as well as the general convergence of the low Japanese divorce rates to higher Western levels. Using Japanese box office data since 1955 we show that a higher market share of international films is not only associated with an increase in the number of divorces, but also a decrease in the number of marriages. Both effects are especially strong before the 1980s. We explain periods of increasing and decreasing market share of foreign films and divorce rate with historical changes in cultural relations between Japan and the Western world.

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