How to approach the Japanese market according to Takahashi Nishihara

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by Nishihara Takashi san from JDS Company Limited organized by the German Chamber of Commerce in Japan (Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan). My expectations were high, because of the given topic: How to approach the Japanese Market – breakthrough with the new observation framework and behavioral feature of the Japanese. Nishihara san has extensive Japan related experience in marketing planning and its execution, Japan related training and seminars. Let me point out the most noteworthy points of his presentation, which are focused on the most noteworthy changes in the last 10 years:

– Decrease of concern for others, no leadership, simply patiently following others.
– Mother as the center of the family and communication is centered around her (mother to son or daughter), husband/father role within the family is getting weaker and weaker.
– Commonly believed that personal efforts are rewarded, but longing for a simple, ordinary life: No dreams.
– Clothes: Move away from brands, focus on practical cheap clothes or reuse. Strong division of interest in new trends or not at all.
– Leisure has become domestic oriented, by having several shorter vacations with the goal of visiting as many spots as possible.
– A strong increase of feeling tired from stress, common hay fever and life style related sickness (decrease in physical activity, gaining weight).
– Stronger demand for insurance as nobody seems reliable or can be counted on in the future.
– In business: Company strategy is understood as what is possible and achievable for a company and therefore company vision changes frequently in order to adjust.

While the presentation had been focused on the changes occurring during the last 10 years, a question from the participants was related to Nishihara san’s expectations for Japan for the next 10 years: From his viewpoint he expects a decrease in population, decreased GDP and decline in productivity, which will result in a rather shrinking market. For sure not an optimistic outlook!

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

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