Japan's duality: on the way to the heart of the Japanese consumer



In some surprising way, the Japanese managed to impose on the world that their culture is special and when we come to Japan, we must follow it. What's more, even when they come to us, when dealing with the Japanese, we again need to adapt to these mythical barriers.


Convenient, right?


To distribute hundreds of books to the world on how to communicate with the Japanese and not make any attempts on their part. Perhaps in the 21st century this factor will undergo changes. The culture will be preserved and will enter its zenith within the Japan, and outside it, young people will follow the path of assimilation.


But, if we conduct business with the Japanese today, we have no other options. Let's find the way to the heart of the Japanese consumer.



A distinctive feature of modern Japan is the synthesis that manifests itself in all areas of public life. Synthesis - to say correctly in French manner, and if you call a spade a spade - duality.

This duality we can observe in everything.


There is what I feel, and there is what I show.


There is a tight framework at work, and there is time to drink after it. In Japan, it is not considered shameful to get drunk and wallow in the street, this person will never be convicted.


It’s not considered shameful to read "hot" magazines in the subway, but to look at this person, or at other people, is already beyond the bounds of decency.


Therefore, rule number one: the presence of a deep emotional subtext that carries the bulk of information to the Japanese consumer.



The most complete look at the cognitive picture of the world of Japanese consumers is possible in the anime. “Pokemon”, “Sailormoon”, mind you, positive characters lack any desire for power and wealth in any form. If such an aspiration is present, it characterizes a strictly negative character who in the end will be surely defeated, aware of the severity of his delusions and will certainly take the path of spiritual rebirth.

A good hero, as a rule, is driven exclusively by the desire for self-improvement.


Moreover, the hero is usually lonely. The young generation today has absolutely no desire to be in the society of other people, when historically it was believed that in Japan "collectivism" is at one of the highest levels in the world.


Therefore, rule number two: on the way to the heart of the Japanese lies communication through images, symbols and the sensual sphere. The texts are dominated by the load on the sensory channel of perception, and the emotional relationships and experiences of the characters play a role that is much more important than the development of the storyline.



In the sphere of social relations, along with the manners and customs of the Western type, there are customs and norms of the Asian type.

The densely built-up areas, the bustle and rush of cities are Asian. But behind all this is Western technology that has gone far ahead.


Japan combined, on the one hand, rapid technological development, and on the other, the extreme conservatism of traditional society.


Therefore, rule number three: on the way to the heart of the Japanese consumer, we need a rich imagination. Landscapes, beautiful photographs, thoughtful images that sometimes appear, it would seem, out of place, again, a synthesis of progress, development, signs and symbolic thinking.



Advertising does not have cultural value, does not become a part of culture, but has cultural significance, reflects the general cultural context.


In Japanese culture, a man must overcome obstacles while observing certain cultural requirements, the essence of which is basically the same - blind stamina and the victory of the spirit over the flesh. Both that, and another is recognized by Japanese as especially important values.


For this, the creators of advertising will have to spend a lot of time studying the Shinto and Buddhist doctrines and getting to know the heroes and genres of mass culture of modern Japan.


So, the conclusion: Japanese texts are distinguished from American texts by a less pronounced group orientation, success and power. At the same time, Japanese texts are more sensual, the highest load falls on the sensory channel of perception, there are a lot of positively colored vocabulary.



And here is a wonderful example to prove all the above.


Culturally yours,

Anastasia Antarès



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