The Disneyization of society argues that the contemporary world is increasingly displaying characteristics of the Disney theme parks. There are 4 aspects to Disneyization, mainly, theming, hybrid consumption, merchandising and performative labour.
THEMING – clothing institutions or objects in a narrative that is largely unrelated to the institution or object to which it is applied, such as a casino or restaurant with a Wild West narrative.
In Japan, there are many different kind of themed cafes and restaurants. One example is the maid cafes. Since around year 2000, maid cafes have been opened in major Japanese cities like Osaka, shinjuku and tokyo. Inside maid cafes, waitresses are dressed in typical manga-style maids and serve tea and cakes. When a customer walks into the cafe, the maids give a flattering greeting like "welcome home, master" to play the role of a house servant. The purpose of the maid cafes and their unique services is to make customers relax and feel at home.
Although excellent customer service is typical in Japan, maid cafes strive to be different in a way as they take special care to pamper their patrons.
HYBRID CONSUMPTION – a general trend whereby the forms of consumption associated with different institutional spheres become interlocked with each other and increasingly difficult to distinguish.
Due to the high influx of tourists into Japan, Japan has been getting a lot of foreign influences. This might cause Japan to lose their own culture or a mix of both local and foreign cultures.
One example would be that in recent years, Japanese has been celebrating christmas and it is made into quite a big festival. It is obvious that Christmas is brought in by the foreign culture into the Japanese culture as Japan's religion are mainly made up of Shinto and Buddhism.
Online forums said that they feel weird that Japan has embraced the western traditions and are celebrating festivals like Christmas and halloween.
MERCHANDISING – the promotion and sale of goods in the form of or bearing copyright images and/or logos, including such products made under licence.
Hello Kitty is a cartoon character created in Japan and it is a world wide figure now. Everyone knows Hello Kitty and every girl loves Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty is copyrighted under Sanrio, Japan and all Hello Kitty items are exclusive and imported world wide.
Countries like Taiwan gain the copyrighted permission from Sanrio to put Hello Kitty theme into their cafe, and even hospital.
PERFORMATIVE LABOUR – the growing tendency for frontline service work to be viewed as a performance, especially one in which the deliberate display of a certain mood is seen as part of the labour involved in service work.
For performative labour, I will be using Maid cafe as an example again. Because of Japan's well known high service of standards, Maids in the maid cafe are always putting on a smile on their face (be it a real smile or a fake smile) to make their customers happy and to uphold the service standards of their cafe.
Also, things like kneeling down to help a customer stir their tea is also part of their job and they have to do it with no complaints. The maids deliberately display a cheerful and happy mood for all their customers because their job scope requires them to.