Nostalgie is in!



Recently it seems to me that goods related to good old times, like the picture on the side of the promotional flyer of 150 Japanese folk songs (懐かしき日本の歌・第一集), are the new trend. From personal observations I see more products being promoted recently that help to connect to a feeling in the past, when everything seemed fine, less concerns perceived or every day life was much simpler. For those curious to see more details about this example of a unique deal of 7 CDs for a total of JPY 19,000 (additionally promoted with “convenient” 10 times payment of JPY 1980) or then want to see the actual CM shown on Japanese TV, please check out this link. Interestingly the company behind is known for long distance learning: U-can. With an in place well-functioning distribution system, adding products like the one above is a great marketing strategy I can only admire.
For your info the good old times in Japan most commonly refer to the Showa period (December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989): A period in Japanese history known for the economic boom related to the rebuilding (The Japanese Miracle), close-knit community that let Tokyo even feel like a small town or then a strong “let’s try/we can do it” feeling.
Why this boom now? I see two reasons. In the words of a professional Japanese friend: “Japanese society is getting older on average and at the same time the country is becoming more conservative”. Increasingly products for an older generation definitely makes sense, when the manga related younger population in contrast is decreasing, plus they have less and less spendable income in comparison. Secondly, starting last year with the earthquake/disaster the unexpected became a part of daily life. A large society was exposed to uncertainty and concerns about the future. Over time this resulting stress is best resolved with connecting to times, when life had been easy and simple.
Although I have not known the Showa Period myself in Japan, I have to confess my heart gets warm and tears are flowing, when I am exposed to the Showa mood. Rather seldom Showa goods have this effect on me, but movies like ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日 get to my heart. With the third part of this series, I guess I will not be the only one in the cinema with teary eyes and wishing to be sent back to the warmhearted city of Tokyo.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (伊藤シビル)

P.S. I have seen in the meantime the movie ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日64 (reflecting this time the period during the Olympics in Tokyo). For sure it was a heart warming movie and I shed some tears, but I guess it will be more interesting for men than for women. In the movie the classical Japanese gender roles were shown, plus the viewpoint from a child to a young adult had shifted. Men were presented as tight-lipped during critical discussions, when the women were silently in the background.
I am not into souvenirs, but my addiction for the series took over and I needed the clear file as below.

3 thoughts on “Nostalgie is in!

  1. Mt.Fuji meeting, I had been totally unaware of there was such an official title for this period of Japanese life you refer to here. Showa: so glad to learn this term. It is quite understandable the nostalgia for this period, especially in Tokyo, that you describe here, given the two reasons you explain so well. Many retired folk in my own community just want the Eisenhower years, the “Happy Days” back again here in the U.S., so I can relate quite well to the Japanese yearning for all things Showa!

    • Dear Granbee,

      for me it is interesting to see what kind of products related to the “good old times” are popping up recently in Japan. At the same time to be honest, I do not know whether it is just product diversification or an actual profitable market was found.

      All the best from the still rainy and cold Tokyo,

      Sibylle

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