Japanese commercials have long been the open-secret safe haven for American stars in need of a quick payday. We've talked about it here, and Sofia Coppola even made a film about it. But there's an article in today's Los Angeles Times that says the trend is on the wane. What's the deal? For one thing, the Japanese economy is no longer exuberant enough to justify the exchange of multi-million dollar paydays for symbols of American popular culture, which have lost a good deal of their cachet in Japan. Asian audiences have started to displace the kind of fervor they used to direct towards American pop stars and blue jeans onto homegrown talent. It also seems logical that sites like Japander (which the article namechecks several times) would have something to do with it: with these commercials now readily available online, the stars that are still willing to shill instant noodles and soft drinks are likely to want even more for it.