Foreign celebrities have been an important part of Japanese television for the past fewdecades and the so-called gaijin tarento cannot be imagined off the television screensanymore. Even though some foreign celebrities may earn up to half a million dollars a year,viewers do not favor them above local celebrities. Japan’s unique markets attract foreigners,who either do not have a market in their own country to promote and sell their craft, or whoare merely looking for a revival or a second chance. The high uncertainty avoidance inherentin Japanese society plays a crucial role in how Japanese consumers perceive foreigncelebrities and how these foreign nationals act up to their audiences’ expectations.The entertainment industry in Japan can be pictured like a zoo with many exotic animals. Thegaijin tarento being the zoo’s dancing bears, dance for their audiences as long as they are fedwith honey, in their case, honey being fame and money. Despite their success and in view of the fact that Japanese culture has been increasingly opening its doors to the West, gaijintarento are becoming less interesting to the audience of the land of the rising sun and theseforeign specimens are most likely to disappear.
Japan became the second largest economy in the world thanks to the US hegemony after theSecond World War. Due to a close relationship with the United States of America, Japan hasbeen influenced by Western cultures, and many foreign companies and celebrities have triedto enter the Japanese market to find success, even though – or because –the rules are differentthan in their domestic markets.The main focus of this work will be dedicated to foreign celebrities who are famous for beingfamous—the so-called gaijin tarento. An important question that has to be asked wheninterpreting this phenomenon is, ‘Why is there a market for gaijin tarento after all?’ Socio-cultural views and stereotypes play a considerable role in Japan’s media, and foreigners, suchas Dave Spector and Bob “The Beast” Sapp, are characters no Japanese viewer wants to miss.It is almost like a zoo, where dancing bears keep the masses entertained as long as theyreceive honey, or in the case of the foreign celebrities, large amounts of money.Many foreign stars can be put in two different categories. The first category is, stars that findfame in Japan “after” they were famous in the West. Especially Hollywood celebrities try