Where Did All The Japanese Trends Go?

During the 1980s, Japan saw trends like Hello Kitty-type character products and brand-name fashion. The 1990s gave birth to Tamagotchi, Bandai's portable game character, as well as sticker picture machines and even Windows 95 fever. Now?

Now, Japan has eco cars and "fast fashion", which are clothes from cheap chain stores. Not very exciting! As Japan's Nikkei points out, the Japanese market is maturing, meaning that there aren't the youthful trends of the past.

Pundits think the slowing of trends is related to three points: the decline of the youth population, the decline of their buying power and the maturing of the country's youth.

It's 2010. The start of a new decade, and it's a bit early to count out the Japanese youth. The last decade saw loads of youth-driven trends that were connected to fashion, technology and pop culture. The next ten years in Japan are bound to do the same.

According to the Nikkei's piece, there are no new "booms" (or trends) because Japanese youth don't spend money. With the global economy still pulling itself out of the doldrums, it's only natural that youth spending is down. Money's tight — and not just with youngsters, but all across the board.

Why it was just a few years ago that the Nintendo DS was still so popular that it was regularly selling out, customers were still lining up when new shipments arrived and Nintendo DS consoles intended for sale in America were re-imported into Japan. While it didn't only appeal to Japan's youth, gamers from grade school to their early twenties did make up a large chunk of the buying populace.

But that was 2007. Before tough times hit and before everyone lost their job and had to eat rocks.

The fever-pitch the Nintendo DS reached was on par with what Bandai saw with Tamagotchi. The number of Japanese young people is getting smaller, but it isn't disappearing. And the most interesting trends aren't store-bought. Take these two dudes, for example.

消える若者市場:日経ビジネスオンライン [Nikkei via 痛いニュース]  [Pic]


    The whole 'cosplay' and 'gothic-lolita' thing seems to be taking off around the world. Kids on the streets of Tokyo are still trend setters methinks.

      His point was that there hasn't been anything new in the way of trends since the economic downturn because of decreased spending. Cosplay and Gothic Lolita is barely new in the East or the West.

    I think it's just Japan's youth gradually outgrowing those awkward teen years.

      And I don't get what's this thing about Japanese youths tightening their belts. DSes (of all types), PSPs and other consoles are STILL selling by the truckload over there even years after their release.

      By this stage, you'd think the whole country has half a dozen consoles. Surely the "collector's edition PSP" market isn't that huge?

    Perhaps their could be a correlation to the 80's Recession and the pick up of trends there, the sort of boom that is "dissapearing" Take a look at Visual Kei, Harajuku and the Youth fashion like Ganguro. It isn't cheap keeping those styles and the wardrobe probably eats into the youth's pockets. When you spend 7000 on a designer jacket so you can cosplay on the weekends, there isn't much cash for anything else. Just my thoughts.

    Japan is also entering an ageing population crisis (much like Australia will very soon). With too many retired seniors being supported by too few working-class adults, the youth spending market will plummet.

    It'll SHOULD pick back up in another generation (20 years or so).

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