Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Wanted: Japan’s next fun fad

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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.

JAPAN-ECONOMY/DEFLATION

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

Liberating loincloths

Whether you’re a g-string girl or prefer granny-style knickers, a Japanese lingerie maker is inviting women to liberate themselves from conventional, body-hugging underwear and don loincloths instead.

Loincloths, called “fundoshi” in Japanese, have been largely given up by men who traditionally wore them, but Kyoto-based lingerie firm Wacoal has brought them back for women seeking emancipation from the tightness of conventional underwear.

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