PRedictor 2013Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu Trend Prediction Guide Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
What kind of year will 2013 be for the Japanese market?In this guide, making the most of Dentsu PR’s know-how and research resources, wepresent our predictions for 2013, divided into “Trends”, “Topics” and “People”.So which trends, topics and people will come to the fore in 2013?However you choose to use this information, whether as advice for planning or as a fuel fordiscussion, we hope it proves helpful. “Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu” represents the individual views of the editors and not of the company as a whole.
Dentsu PR’s keyword for Japan in 2013ReframingThis year should offer plenty of opportunities for the Japanese to take a fresh look at boththeir country and themselves as citizens.Even as the economy remains far from fully recovered, there is little obvious sense of publicdespair.While Japan comes to terms with a new paradigm, there is no need to feel helpless, as thereare plenty of enlightened ideas around the globe to inspire us.In this situation, rather than being pushed into action by others, we believe that increasingnumbers of Japanese will rediscover individuality and freedom to follow their own ambitions.An age of “reframing”—of changing viewpoints and attitudes—has arrived at last for Japan.
Trends: The Mood of the Era and the Social Climate Japan-consciousnessGrowing sensitive diplomatic issues with neighboring countries meant that 2012 was a yearin which the Japanese public, whether politically inclined or not, were very much consciousof “Japan.” This trend looks set to continue in 2013, with a number of opportunities topromote Japan to the outside world, such as the decision on Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020Olympics and Paralympics, the national soccer team’s quest to qualify for the next WorldCup, and the possibility of Mt. Fuji being designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritagesite. There are also various domestic events, including “Sengu” (shrine renewal) ceremonies,taking place at the two major shrines of Ise and Izumo Oyashiro for the first time in 60 years,which should raise consciousness of a traditional Japan. This all serves to likely make 2013a year in which Japanese people seek out their national identity more than ever. An age of standing out, not blending inOne of the great things about Japan is the general high quality of relatively low-cost items inareas such as fashion, interior design options and consumer electronics. On the down-sidethough, this can result in people wearing and owning a lot of similar things to those aroundthem. It seems that people these days are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with this kindof uniformity, and are subsequently drawn to more individual items and styles, even if itmeans paying a higher price. Judging from this trend over the past few years, of people tiringof conformity, we will likely see more attention being paid to people and things that stand outfrom the crowd. Reconstruction continuedAlthough almost two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake,reconstruction will surely remain an important theme this year. The anniversary in Marchshould serve to highlight what has been achieved in the past two years, and what remains tobe done. In addition to the policies of the new LDP administration, the key to future recoverylies in the continued support, understanding and cooperation of individuals. 1990s revivalWe have finally reached the point where the 1990s, still fresh in the memory not so long ago,are now looked back on with nostalgia. And alongside this development, it seems thatvarious aspects of pop culture from the decade, including street fashions and activities like
skateboarding, are making a comeback. Personalities, items, music and crazes that 90s kidsgrew up with are being given a modern makeover to suit the needs of today’s young people.Rather than a nostalgic longing to return to the past, this 90s boom would appear to bedriven by that peculiar urge of the social media generation to share what stimulates theirexcitement.
Topics: Illuminating the Age “Strategic early marriage” vs. “proactive single life”For many young Japanese who’ve gotten used to the home comforts of living with theirparents, the prospect of living alone depending only on their own salary in these harsheconomic times is viewed with increasing unease. As such, there is a tendency nowadaystowards people deciding that “two is better than one” and choosing to get married earlier. Onthe other hand, a significant proportion of Japanese around the age of 40, who’ve gottenused to a free and easy single life on an ample salary, are tending to decline the option ofmarriage when weighing up its benefits against the loss of their freedom. We can expectthese two opposing trends, of a poorer, younger generation getting married early, and aricher, older generation remaining unmarried, will only become more distinct in the comingyears. Crowd sourced fundingCrowd sourced funding schemes, in which donations are collected from the general publicfor causes such as product development, events and charities, is gradually becoming morevisible in Japan, and a steady rise in social consciousness can be expected. From metabolic to locomotiveWhen it comes to health issues that Japan faces, locomotive syndrome (joint and muscleproblems that affect a person’s daily life or cause them to require aid) is gaining attention ata level similar to the previous focus on metabolic syndrome. Considering Japan’s rapidlyaging population, these problems, which generally require attention from one’s 40s onwards,touch almost everyone’s life in some way. Trends of healthy diets are expected to continue,with rekindled interest in Tokuho food and drink products “for specialized health uses” andorganic products. Evolution of traditional entertainmentThis April sees the long-awaited reopening of the iconic Kabuki-za Theater in Ginza, Tokyo.Legendary Kabuki actor Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII may have passed away at the end oflast year, but the principles he stood for, of protecting traditions while continuing to innovate,are alive and well. Apart from the veterans, this year should see the spotlight fall on a newgeneration of Kabuki performers, including brothers Kankuro and Shichinosuke Nakamura,as well as Somegoro Ichikawa, who made a comeback in February having seriously injured
himself falling off stage last August. The Kyogen actor Mansai Nomura has also gained awhole new legion of fans through starring in the hit movie Nobou no Shiro (English title: TheFloating Castle) last year. So, there is certainly much expectation placed on the evolution ofand challenges facing these traditional forms of Japanese entertainment. Anti-ubiquitousOne result of the increasingly ubiquitous “anyone, anywhere, anytime” nature of society isthat the value of information is becoming more standardized. However, it looks like we willsee a backlash to this trend in 2013. For example, through adding an exclusive “just for you”element, such as limiting a product or service to a particular time period or area, companiesare seeking to generate stronger, more intimate engagement with consumers. We anticipatemore companies will utilize this kind of “secret information” tactic and aim to buildword-of-mouth buzz. Kyushu boomSeptember 2012 saw JAL and JR Kyushu collaborate to release a new credit card, the “JMBJQ SUGOCA.” While Kyushu has a great deal to offer tourists, its relative remoteness andpoor local transport links have caused visitor numbers to drop. With this surprising alliancebetween former land and air transport rivals, expect 2013 to be a big year for Kyushu.
People: 10 Sources of Key Personalities in 2013 More stars to emerge from NHK morning dramas and kids’ hero showsThis year will likely see further cases of fresh-faced and clean-cut male stars of NHKmorning dramas and kids’ hero shows such as “Kamen Rider (masked rider),” who areparticularly popular among housewives, breaking into the big time. This should also makethem hot PR property for brands. Pop idols to be unseatedWith a throng of new groups jostling to be the next “pop idol,” there’s a good chance that thisyear could see a significant changing of the guard in the world of J-pop. For the mostcost-effective results, companies will be looking to snap up these acts for campaigns beforethey achieve their big break. A season of change for pure young actressesWe expect to see a number of popular young actresses in their early 20s fully bloom intowomanhood this year. If this new career path suits a company’s image, then collaboration inan ad campaign should lead to a boost in popularity for both parties. “Mama celebrities” to be in vogueOver the past year or so, there seems to have been an explosion of celebrity births in Japan,and an increasing number of celebrity couples are readily publicizing details of their children,such as names and photos. It seems there could well be more instances in the near future ofcelebrities appearing in campaigns together with their partners and/or children. For example,a campaign for a family-oriented product showing a celebrity and their family actually using itover a number of years would be sure to draw plenty of attention. Queens of the “golden age” of Japanese drama return to charm the publicThis year sees the return to Japanese TV screens of some actresses who achieved hugeratings and popularity through starring in dramas back in the 1990s. How many of theirprevious fans, now a generation older, will tune in to watch this time around? A mixture ofnostalgia and curiosity to see how these actresses have matured should ensure that they,and the “golden age” they represent, are firmly back in the spotlight. Image changes to help celebrity comebacks
Expect there to be significant focus on certain previously popular celebrities’ attempts tore-launch their careers following an image transformation. Comedians from Kanto to make their markThe center of the Japanese comedy scene appears to be shifting, from its birthplace of theKansai region (Osaka and its surrounding area), to Kanto (Tokyo and its surrounding area).While comedy acts from Kansai still remain popular, there is a sense that people, in searchof something new, are increasingly turning to the more cynical, downbeat and subtle brandof comedy practiced by Kanto acts. It should be fun to see how Kanto comedians step up tochallenge the traditional comedy kings from Kansai this year. 2013 to be a big year for baseballWith Japan hosting a series of major international games, the country looks set to begripped by baseball fever this year like never before. From coaches’ memorable quotes, tothe performance of rookies, and return of veteran players based in the US Major League,there’s sure to be no end to the talking points. Online diversification (rise of small-scale influencers)In this age of social media, you don’t have to be famous to find an audience for your views.We anticipate that the power of members of the public to get their message across online,whether through their specialist knowledge, connections or otherwise, will only continue togrow. Such small-scale influencers should be increasingly key players for creating buzz onthe Internet. Headache for traditional media but heroes to the online communitySensitive topics that the Japanese mass media tends to steer clear of are increasinglyprovoking lively debate online. Likewise, celebrities and prominent public figures with strongor controversial views are building up substantial online followings. While companies may bewary of using such opinionated people in their campaigns, it could be worth the risk if theyshare similar views.
2013 in Numbers – 0.2%Japan’s population, which has been shrinking since 2010, is predicted to continue this trendin 2013 with a growth rate of – 0.2%, equating to an estimated population of just over 127million, and a male to female ratio of 49:51. (Source: “Population statistics of Japan (2012)”,National Institute of Population and Social Security Research) 46.9%In 2013, over-65s will constitute around one quarter (25.1%) of Japan’s total population, asthe country continues to age. One particularly startling statistic is that 46.9% of women inJapan will be in the over-50 age bracket. (Sources: “Population statistics of Japan 2012”,National Institute of Population and Social Security Research; “Population Estimates” (2012),Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) 3.6％According to the IMF, the overall global GDP growth rate for 2013 is estimated at 3.6%.China’s GDP is predicted to grow the most (8.2%), followed by India (6.0%), Brazil (4.0%),Taiwan (3.9%) and Russia (3.8%). The figure for Japan is 1.2%. (Source: “Main EconomicStatistics” (29 November, 2012), International Economy Division, Economic Affairs Bureau) 06/2013This year, we will find out whether the campaign to get Mt. Fuji designated as a WorldCultural Heritage Site has succeeded, with an official decision due in June. 09/07/2013September 7 (September 8 in Japan) will see the IOC announce the host city of the 2020Olympic and Paralympic Games. With Tokyo one of only three candidates left in the running,along with Istanbul and Madrid, this day could well turn out to be one of great celebration forJapan. 30 yearsA number of major 30 year anniversaries are due to be celebrated this year in Japan,including the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, the launch of Nintendo’s original “Famicon”console, and the Casio’s first “G-Shock” watch. In addition, the average age of women
having their first child in Japan currently stands at 30.1 years-old (Source: Ministry of Health,Labor and Welfare). So, for many who have grown up together with Disneyland andFamicon, this year could well mark the start of their lives as parents.For more information regarding “Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu”:Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Tel: 03-5565-8433