The main aim of this chapter is to reconsider the impact of the overwhelming construction of “municipal cultural facilities” to the ecosystem of Japan’s arts and culture after the 1980s. The policy heavily inclined towards construction happened in the aftermath of rapid economic growth, sided with an effort to bolster the autonomy of local governments. Based on the idea that culture will vitalize the local community and bring sophistication, municipalities built well equipped, carefully designed, luxurious public cultural centers throughout the country, only to find them in need of specialized, long-term management, not to mention the economic burden. Arts management and cultural policy research had developed rapidly under such circumstances, to fill the gap between the high-quality cultural halls and its inefficient use.
Despite the fact that a lack of a comprehensive cultural policy resulted in the redundancy of cultural facilities, this chapter will argue that they did not only shape the arts management studies in Japan to be in today’s form, but also triggered the discussion of the accountability of cultural policy amidst the dichotomy of “foreign” (western) and “original” (Japanese) culture; contributed to the creation of distinctive community programs; as well as aided in shaping the national cultural policy by invigorating the discussion of the role of the arts in the society.