Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Wanted: Japan’s next fun fad

December 8, 2009

I’ve always seen Japan as a nation of trend lovers. From Tamagotchi digital pets and “print club” photo stickers to the morning banana diet and Billy’s Boot Camp, people here seem ready to jump all over the latest fad.

But 2009 wasn’t much of a year for fun and games in the world’s second-biggest economy, according to ad agency Dentsu’s latest Hit Product Recognition survey.

With the exception of flu masks, the Top 10 in this year’s survey was dominated by low-priced retail merchandise and eco-friendly products as consumers pinched pennies and took advantage of government stimulus subsidies.


Hybrid vehicles topped the rankings while other low-emission vehicles eligible for tax breaks and subsidies placed fourth.

Inexpensive fashions ranked third while cheaper store-brand items came in at No.9, as cost-conscious shoppers sought out bargains at budget retailers such as Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo chain.

For a story and list of the top 20 click here.

Still, a couple entertainment entries made the Top 20. The Oscar-winning movie “Departures” ranked 11th and Michael Jackson-related items placed 20th.

And one standout was heat-retaining underwear, at No.12. The toasty innerwear also ranked third in a separate question on how people plan to spend their winter bonuses, boding well for further popularity in 2010 – though also suggesting this year’s bonus payments may be on the thin side.


Japan’s top 10 fads for 2009:

1. Rude politeness.
2. Massive Government Debt.
3. Overfishing.
4. Pacifism.
5. Incomprehensible Samurai Movies.
6. Nintendo.
7. Spy Satellites.
8. Actresses on Iron Chef who only speak in monosyllables.
9. Creepy Porn.
10. Changing government for the first time in fifty years.

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