Cultural influence is no longer for the west to own. There has been a shift in the winds. And it’s blowing towards the east, in a land they call the rising sun.
Japan has taken the world by storm for decades on, as their brands bombard the world with games, manga, anime, toys, sushi, cameras, cars, electronics, you name it.
Coining the term Cosplay has also given them worldwide attention, as more and more people are practicing it as a hobby, roleplaying as characters they have come to adore.
But why the sudden interest in Japan? All you need to do is head to Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur. And there you will behold, Isetan The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur.
6 floors of Japanese culture for Malaysians to experience. Each floor represents an aspect we love about Japan. From bottom to top, it ranges from food, technology, fashion, beauty, craft & art, and lastly, which is not yet open, premium dining.
It may seem overwhelming and jaw dropping, especially when looking at the prices of certain products. But it’s this overload of interesting things that makes Japan cool.
The store is based on the concept “Cool Japan”. The government of Japan adopted this concept back in 2002, after they were considered a cultural superpower – the only country with such a status that isn’t from the west. And they have done well to live up to this expectation of being cool.
One need only look back at the ending ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics to have a glimpse of how cool they are:
Ever since their rise to cultural superpower, they have expanded their pursuit for cultural dominance. Uniqlo have become a powerhouse in the apparels industry.
LEGO has finally found a direct competitor in Nanoblock. The fame of Studio Ghibli is slowly challenging the likes of Dreamworks and Disney. Nintendo just shocked the gaming industry by releasing the most popular augmented reality game to date in Pokémon. And let’s not forget about the abundant amount of anime they have been producing in recent years, albeit they more often than not, using the same voice actors.
People have a perception that brands from Japan has delivered in terms of excellence and reliability. The establishment of the Isetan Japan Store in Kuala Lumpur proves that Japan is seeking to add to that perception with a bit of cool.
With more and more brands with Japanese name and feel popping up like bunnies, Hokkaido, Muji, Yubiso, Tokyo Secret, and Miniso being prime examples, makes one wonder… are all of them actually from Japan? And truly, we won’t be surprised if some of them aren’t.
There was once a time in Malaysia when Western brands were the more popular choice. A prime example would be Dave’s Deli.
Everybody thought it was a brand that came from the west, evidently from the name it adopted, one would assume it came from America, the land that is famous for its Delis. However, one day, they announced that they are “Proudly A Malaysian Discovery.”
So the question on our minds is: Will you adapt a Japanese name or feel to your brand?
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