Document Type

Book Chapter


On 3 November 1999 Comedy Central screened 'Chimpokomon', an episode of the controversial South Park animated television series, on cable in the United States. It is ostensibly a parody of the Pokemon phenomenon, whose integrated merchandising and marketing strategy enabled it to become a popular, and often incomprehensible to adults, cultural icon of the 1990s in Japan, the United States and indeed in many nations. However, at a slightly deeper level, it also provides a rich vein of resources for understanding the cynical perceptions of series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, on the one hand, and the continued orientalized perspectives of Japan broadcast on US television, on the other. While South Park is a consciously parodying animation series, poking fun at US social conventions, here it extended its parody beyond US borders. In going global, Parker and Stone's satirical representation of Japan, of the United States, of male obsession with sexuality and of conspicuous consumerism, aimed ruthlessly at children, is astute and funny. It also exposes the historical constructions of stereotypes and posits new forms of essentialism that inform a perceptional globalization.