Creating Places and Transferring Culture: American Theme Parks in Japan

Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)


In this chapter, we consider the ways that elements of Japanese heritage have been incorporated into the contemporary Hollywood theme parks of Disney (Tokyo) and Universal Studios (Osaka), resulting in an attraction quite different from their US counterparts. This presents a significant change to the way in which these places have been traditionally developed, resulting in a glocalised tourist attraction that appeals to both Japanese and foreign visitors. By taking a cultural landscape approach, the authors uncover the cultural layers of these two theme parks, resulting in a deeper understanding of the relationship between Western and Asian culture, presenting a popular culture phenomenon that transcends a traditional monocultural approach. Consequently, theme parks should be seen as more than bland, ‘placeless’ places of Western cultural imperialism.


Cultural landscape Film-induced tourism Contents tourism Glocalization 


  1. Anderson, K., & Gale, F. (1992). Inventing places: Studies in cultural geography. Longman Cheshire: Melbourne.Google Scholar
  2. Arai, K. (2016). Dizunīrando no shakaigaku: datsu-Dizunīka suru TDR. Tokyo: Seikyusha.Google Scholar
  3. Beeton, S. (2001). Lights, camera, re-action. How does film-induced tourism affect a country town? In M. F. Rogers & Y. M. J. Collins (Eds.), The future of Australia’s country towns (pp. 172–183). Bendigo: La Trobe University. Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities.Google Scholar
  4. Beeton, S. (2005). Film-induced tourism (1st ed.). Clevedon: Channel View Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Beeton, S. (2006). Understanding film-induced tourism. Tourism Analysis, 11(3), 81–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beeton, S. (2010). Landscapes as characters: Film, tourism and a sense of place. Metro, Special Feature Section on Landscape and Location in Australian Cinema, 166, 114–119.Google Scholar
  7. Beeton, S. (2015). Travel, tourism and the moving image. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Beeton, S. (2016). Film-induced tourism (2nd ed.). Clevedon: Channel View Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Beeton, S., Yamamura, T., & Seaton, P. (2013). The mediatisation of culture: Japanese contents tourism and pop culture. In J.-A. Lester & C. Scarles (Eds.), Mediating the tourist experience (pp. 139–154). Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, S. (2007). Landscaping heritage: Toward an operational cultural landscape approach for protected areas in new South Wales. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 25(4), 33–42.Google Scholar
  11. Cunningham, P. (2009). Exploring the cultural landscape of the Obeikei in Ogasawara, Japan. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 7(3), 221–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duncan, B., & Gibbs, M. (2015). Introduction. In B. Duncan & M. Gibbs (Eds.), Please God send me a wreck (pp. 1–5). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Graburn, N. (1983). To pray, pay and play: The cultural structure of Japanese domestic tourism. Aix-en-Provence: Centre des Hautes Études Touristiques.Google Scholar
  14. Hannigan, J. (1998). Fantasy city: Pleasure and profit in the postmodern metropolis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Jewell, B., & McKinnon, S. (2008). Movie tourism—A new form of cultural landscape? Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 24(2–3), 153–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ji, Y., & Beeton, S. (2011). Is film tourism all the same? Exploring Zhang Yimou’s Films’ potential influence on tourism in China. Tourism Review International, 15(3), 293–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Khondker, H. H. (2005). Globalisation to glocalisation: A conceptual exploration. Intellectual Discourse, 13(2), 181–199.Google Scholar
  18. Kim, S. (2012). Audience involvement and film tourism experiences: Emotional places, emotional experiences. Tourism Management, 33(2), 387–396.Google Scholar
  19. McNiven, I. J., & Russell, L. (2008). Toward a postcolonial archaeology of indigenous Australia. In R. Alexander Bentley, H. D. G. Maschner, & C. Chippindale (Eds.), Handbook of archaeological theories (pp. 423–443). Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  20. Morioka, T. (2014). USJ no jetto kōsutā wa naze ushiromuki ni hashitta no ka. Tokyo: Kadokawa.Google Scholar
  21. OLC Group. (2016). Gesuto purofīru. Retrieved from
  22. Raz, A. E. (2000). Domesticating Disney: Onstage strategies of adaptation in Tokyo Disneyland. The Journal of Popular Culture, 33(4), 77–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Reeves, K., & Long, C. (2011). Unbearable pressures on paradise? Tourism and heritage management in Luang Prabang, a World heritage site. Critical Asian Studies, 43(1), 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reijnders, S. (2009). Watching the detectives inside the guilty landscapes of Inspector Morse, Baantjer and Wallander. European Journal of Communication, 24(2), 165–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reijnders, S. (2011). Places of the imagination: Media, tourism, culture. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  26. Relph, E. (1976). Place and Placelessness. London: Pion.Google Scholar
  27. Ringer, G. (Ed.). (1998). Destinations: Cultural landscapes of tourism. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Sankei Shinbun. (2016, April 1) USJ sakunendo nyūjōshasū wa kako saikō no 1390-man-nin! Sankei Shinbun. Retrieved Dec 1, 2016 from
  29. Sauer, C. O. (1925). The morphology of landscape. University of California Publications in Geography, 2(2), 19–53.Google Scholar
  30. Seaton, P., Yamamura, T., Sugawa-Shimada, A., & Jang, K. (2017). Contents tourism in Japan: Pilgrimage to ‘sacred sites’ of popular culture. Amherst: Cambria Press.Google Scholar
  31. Sorkin, M. (1992). See you in Disneyland. In M. Sorkin (Ed.), Variations on a Theme Park (pp. 205–232). New York: Noonday Press.Google Scholar
  32. Staiff, R. (2014). Venice, desire, decay and the imagination: Travels into the ‘dark side’. In G. Lean, R. Staiff, & E. Waterton (Eds.), Travel and imagination (pp. 213–228). Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  33. Toyoda, Y. (2014). Recontextualizing Disney: Tokyo Disney resort as a kingdom of dreams and magic. Social Science Japan Journal, 17(2), 207–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Walter, R. K., & Hamilton, R. J. (2014). A cultural landscape approach to community-based conservation in Solomon Islands. Ecology and Society, 19, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yamamura, T. (2008). Kankō jōhō kakumei jidai no tsūrizumu (sono 1): kankō jōhō kakumei ron (jo). Web-Journal of Tourism and Cultural Studies. Retrieved November 1, 2016 from

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Angliss InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Hokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

Personalised recommendations