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.