Posts Tagged Marketing Japan

Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan | Marketing Japan

A Japanese professor of English was lamenting to me that Japanese young people these days are not interested in going abroad to study English. (He thinks this presages the end of Japanese civilization.)

Today, I read a post that I think goes some way to explaining this phenomenon.  For better or worse, I think  the days of “admiration” for the West “akogare” (longing and admiration) are over.  Mike Rogers’ main point is “You might think that major Japanese artists all suck and I might well agree. But I will add that they suck no more or less than most big western (especially Top 40) artists! But no one can sneeze at Japanese bands that can sell out an entire week at the Tokyo Dome. And the list of bands that do is long.”

For many years, Japan and Japanese rock stars have had an inferiority complex towards western artists as they deservedly should have. But nowadays, things have changed in Japan. And, when they can make this kind of money playing in Japan – and never make near that amount in the west – all the while western artists come here to make big money – why bother going to play in the USA?

Sure, the big name artists still dream of becoming big in the west too, but the west doesn’t hold the allure it once did for people. And that’s not just people in Japan, but, I think for people all over the world.

Sure, some dream of Hollywood and New York, but when it comes to the big name Japanese artists (who don’t sing in English anyway) it’s no longer practical to even consider trying to break into the USA market… Most certainly isn’t profitable.

These big name Japanese artists can stay at home, in their comfy chairs, and copy the western artists that they are inspired by and make those musicians’ music their own.

The domestic audience doesn’t know the difference.

via Marketing Japan: Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan.


Japan retired nuclear workers ready for duty – Yahoo! News

“Skilled Veterans Corps”. Good name. It took a politician to call them (publicly) a “suicide corps”. Way to go, Hosono! Diplomatic, eh?

This article has more details than the one Mike Rogers linked to yesterday.

More than 160 engineers, including many former atomic plant workers, aged 60 or older say they want to set up a “Skilled Veterans Corps” to help restore the cooling systems crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

via Japan retired nuclear workers ready for duty – Yahoo! News.

“We need to bring the participants’ voices to parliament as well as to the government,” said Hiroe Makiyama, an upper house member of the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan.

What the heck for? To make it look like the parliament and the government are actually doing something? As the man who came up with the idea, Yamada, said,

“A functioning cooling system is indispensable,” he pointed out. “But who is supposed to build it? Only people can do it”

Only people. And not politicians, but people who actually know what they are doing. As Masahiro Ueda, 69, a former nuclear power plant worker with more than four decades of expertise on water pumps of cooling systems, put it:

“Someone should take action. You can’t work properly at nuclear plants without specialist knowledge.”

“We will also consider the necessary legislation to back the project.”… said Hiroe Makiyama, an upper house member of the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan.

Why is legislation necessary?

“We are very thankful and want to accept their feeling of devoted action,” said Goshi Hosono, the special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan in charge of addressing the ongoing crisis, according to local media.

“But our principle is that we should stick to procedures that will not require such a ‘suicide corps’,” Hosono said.

Translation: we’d rather Tepco paid minimum wages to inexperienced sub-contractor workers who don’t know what they’re getting into, than nuclear industry veterans who know exactly what they’re doing and what the risks are, and are more than likely to criticize Tepco and the government’s strategies. Who needs that, sheesh! We’re in charge, and we don’t want anyone throwing doubts on our competence, duh!

And anyway, initiative is a dirty word. It upsets solidarity and harmony, the pillars that uphold Japanese society, doncha know.

March 5th 2008 - Everyone should give themselves a slap on the wrist sometimes

"Slap on the wrist" (for initiative). Photo by Stephen Poff on Flickr (click photo to visit)



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Japan advisor says nuclear threat receding

Some good news, kind of, I guess, although I’m always suspicious when politicians make statements regarding technical or scientific situations. I’d rather hear it directly from NISA, or even TEPCO.

The government could not say the situation had been completely stabilised at the plant, but after studying the possibility of severe deterioration Tokyo was comfortable with the current evacuation policy, Goshi Hosono told the paper in an interview Saturday. “There is no way Tokyo or Kyoto will come into harms way,” said Hosono, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s special advisor on management of the nuclear crisis.

“Our goal is very clear: preventing further spreading of radiation into the atmosphere and into the ocean,” Hosono told the [Wall Street Journal].

“In order to achieve that, we must restore stable cooling functions. This is extremely difficult technically.”

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says it does not expect a “cold shutdown” of all reactors for another six to nine months.

Hosono said officials had started to examine the causes and handling of the nuclear accident.

“When we investigate the accident, it will naturally become clear where the problems were, including issues with Japan’s nuclear regulatory policy,” he told the paper.

Hosono, a member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said it was not the right time to decide whether the country should look to non-nuclear energy sources or continue to keep using atomic power.

“I just don’t think we can make a cool-headed judgment in the current atmosphere,” the paper quoted him as saying.

“For now, we should maintain both options and let the people decide in time.”

via Japan advisor says nuclear threat receding. (Also here)

Related videos (also on NewsOnJapan):

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“Let the people decide in time.” Ha! That’s a good one. Since when do the elites that run countries let the people decide? Sounds good, tho, eh? Democratic, like.

Still, I’m looking forward to seeing this debate in Japan. A debate in Japan. This should be something to see.

Join the debate at Marketing Japan.

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Used minicars too dear for survivors : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Kojiro Sekine / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

Rising demand for used minivehicles in areas hit by the March 11 earthquake has increased sales prices nationwide, adding another financial burden to disaster victims struggling to rebuild their lives.

One reason for the popularity of minivehicles is the ease with which procedures to register them can be completed.

According to one estimate, the earthquake and tsunami destroyed nearly 150,000 cars in Miyagi Prefecture, about 10 percent of those owned in the prefecture. Thousands more were destroyed in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.

“An increasing number of people want to buy used minicars that already have car inspection certificates,” said Takahiro Horiuchi, 55, president of a Suzuki Motor Co. dealership in Minami-Sanrikucho, Miyagi Prefecture. The tsunami virtually swept the town away.

via Used minicars too dear for survivors : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).

Mike Rogers of Marketing Japan helped distribute relief supplies to people in Ishinomaki in the tsunami-hit area recently, and made a video of his trip. The video, however, doesn’t give much info about the kinds of things that people there still need, or need now. Well, there’s one: minicars.

And here’s another, perhaps: bicycles (altho this article focuses on Tokyo):

Tokyo residents haunted by the memory of how the March 11 earthquake shut the world’s busiest subway system are returning to bicycle travel, tripling the sales of retailer Asahi Co. in the area last month.

“I was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, and everything stopped,” Asahi Co. President Susumu Shimoda said in an interview. “Trains stopped, buses were in chaos and cars were jammed. Within that, you could just see bicycles swimming through. Some of our stores stayed open until 4 a.m. to meet the surge in demand.”

Asahi, the best performer on the 146-member Topix Retail Trade Index this year, has gained 8.6 percent since the magnitude 9 temblor and the tsunami.

via Bicycle sales triple as 3/11 haunts Tokyoites | The Japan Times Online.

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Guerrilla Hoarding – Wendy McElroy – Mises Daily

A timely article on the libertarian site on hoarding. Although it is not directly related, and makes no reference to, the Japanese disaster, it is a pertinent topic.

Maruetsu store, Tokyo, 19:18, March 16th, 2011

No bread, but most Japanese eat rice anyway - photo by Mike Rogers

After the Japanese disaster in March, it soon became apparent that there was a) a dire need for certain goods, and b) that there was a growing shortage of these goods in an ever-widening area of Japan. This was because people were either buying them for themselves or buying to send to needy relatives and friends in disaster-hit areas.

Even in areas unaffected by the disaster, such as Kansai or Kyushu, batteries and torches and bottled water were soon sold out and unavailable. People in disaster-hit areas were obviously buying these things like crazy because they needed them immediately. People in more distant areas were also buying up these and similar items and sending them to needy friends and relatives. Yet more people also bought these kinds of items “just in case” and because they could see that these items were quickly running out and who knows when supplies would be restored?

Inevitably, government officials came out and urged people not to buy certain desperately needed items in bulk, such as batteries and bottled water. Of course, the temporary scare of radioactive iodine in the Tokyo water supply did not help matters, and the government had to hand out bottled water to mothers with infants.

However, the Japanese government was not chiding people for stock-buying, but making a pretty sensible request and for a reasonable reason that most people could agree with: the people directly affected by the disaster need these items more than you do; please help avoid short supplies by not buying more than you immediately need. The same was true for electricity. The shortage of electric power may be felt most strongly in the coming summer, even more than now.

Below is an article that explains why governments tend to criticize hoarding in general. This is not exactly the case in Japan at the moment – most people understand the need the refrain from hoarding or panic buying at this time, and are willing to go along.  However, the principles revealed in the article remain true pretty much across cultures.

The argument is really the old one of “who, whom?” Who gets to tell whom what to do? The Japanese way of doing things blurs this issue because rather than giving direct orders, they prefer people to come to a common agreement autonomously. So commands become requests.

A common example of hoarding is stocking up on durable grocery items — such as canned goods, rice, or pasta — when they are on sale, so that your family has a years supply of staples in the house. In rural areas, this is known as “keeping a good pantry.”Historically, governments have frowned upon hoarding. Especially in bad economic times, stigmatizing the hoarder for “causing” high prices or shortages because he buys more than his “share” serves a useful political purpose. They divert attention away from government policies, such as tariffs, that are the true cause of empty shelves and high prices. By stirring up resentment toward neighbors who own one more can of peas than you do, politicians avoid the full and just brunt of public anger…

Hoarding, like any other human activity, can become obsessive. But in its common form, hoarding is nothing more than preparing for the future by laying aside a store of items you and your family may need. This is an especially valuable practice during economic instability, when necessary supplies can become scarce or suddenly double in price.

The Austrian investment counselor Jack Pugsley once explained another perspective on hoarding: it is an investment. A low-income family may not be able to afford precious metals, but they can afford to invest in dry or canned consumables. Last year, with some frequency, my grocery store sold a 900-gram package of pasta for 99¢. With wheat shortages, and with the American government diverting almost 30 percent of corn crops into producing ethanol, food products dependent on grain have skyrocketed. The same package of pasta now regularly costs $2.99. If a struggling family bought 60 packages of the 99¢ pasta for a future consumption of one package a week, then their hoarding would have knocked perhaps $100 off their grocery bill. By consistently buying more than they immediately need of bargain items, the family can build a solid pantry to sustain them through unemployment, inflation or scarcity.

A key point is that it is sensible to prepare: do so well ahead of time, and without drawing undue attention to yourself.

The navy man’s fate is a cautionary tale in more than one way. The store of food for his family was discovered because a grocer and neighbors informed upon him. Thus, a sad corollary to the wisdom of hoarding food for your family is the need to do so with discretion. This is sad, because the natural impulse of people in a community is to assist those in need. Measures like the Food and Fuel Control Act mean that sharing food with a neighbor who has hungry children is no longer simply a gesture of compassion and generosity; such government acts make sharing into a danger to your safety and your own children’s well-being.

There is still time to hoard the items upon which your family depends. Prices are rising, to be sure, but the full force of inflation and shortages is probably several months in the future. Hoard now; hoard quietly.

via Guerrilla Hoarding – Wendy McElroy – Mises Daily.

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Marketing Japan: Japan Disaster’s True Ground Zero – Not Nuclear Power Plants

This is a shout-out for Marketing Japan, a blog written by Tokyo resident Mike Rogers. Marketing is Mike’s business, hence the blog title, but since March 11 he has been boldly blogging about the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster focusing on the media reporting and contrasting it with facts about life in Tokyo and surrounding areas. His blog quickly provided facts about the situation in Tokyo (for instance) with links to websites where you can see for yourself the most recent readings in various locations. Based on his own findings, he roundly castigated those who fled, often with caustic humour (that’s Mike’s castigations, not the fleeing).

As well as having valuable and timely info, his blog always includes well-chosen music videos and graphics. I don’ t know how he finds them all so quickly.

Mike is not all words: he acts.

Last week, Mike and friends organized a charity concert. Today, he delivered relief supplies to Miyagi prefecture.

Well done, Mike and friends.

Today I went with 4 friends to deliver relief supplies to Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture in Japan. Ishinomaki and Kesenuma were ground zero for the earthquake and tsunami….

These photos say it all. Being at Ishinomkai and walking around and taking pictures and breathing the air was like a bad dream: Everything was covered in black sh*t and it smelled like a plugged toilet on a dirty, swampy fishing boat; it was like a nightmare.

via Marketing Japan: Japans Disaster True Ground Zero – Not Nuclear Power Plants.
The video below was taken March 11 on the 2F of a building in Ishinomaki. The explanation tells us that what you see is what was happening at the time the tsunami siren rang.

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“18 days later” – Casey Research

Doug Casey’s economics and investment website has a very good summary of the Fukushima situation. Mouse-tip to Marketing Japan for the link. The final sentence sounds optimistic, but  I suspect there are still more things that could go wrong that are not on the radar yet. What about that plutonium, for instance?

Twelve days ago, uranium equities were in free fall. Five days after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the leader of the uranium sector, Cameco (T.CCO), had lost 19% and would continue to drop all day to close almost 24% below its pre-Fukushima level. The price of uranium had fallen 27%. The world was suddenly full of nuclear physicists saying the reactors will blow, they won’t blow, it isn’t dangerous, but it could be deadly. Energy analysts were equally divergent: many proclaimed the end of the nuclear era, while others predicted a serious but short impact on the world’s view of nuclear power.

Moving ahead another six days, it seems like little has changed. On deeper inspection, though, things are quite different. Most importantly, the potential for a major catastrophe has decreased significantly. The Japanese are sparing no effort in their battle against overheating nuclear fuel and are oh-so-slowly being rewarded: one by one, the reactors are being cooled and contained. Fukushima is far from stable but, compared to that first week, there is now some confidence that we have averted a calamitous meltdown.

via 18 Days Later… – Casey Research.

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“Don’t panic!” “What else is there to do?”

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The video below was taken March 15 and concerns the lack of information and news about a third explosion at Fukushima (see the Wikipedia timeline). The young man in the video is frightened and concerned, as are many people in Japan, not only the foreigners.

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I do not blame him (some do, even those also  living in Tokyo like the young man in the video).

He is caught between a rock and a hard place. Read the rest of this entry »

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