Japan: Special Report

In the late 90s, a World Values Survey found that the Japanese had the lowest sense of national pride of any country. Beyond a lingering feeling of regret over the Second World War, observers blamed Japan's lack of self-esteem on its chronically gloomy economy.

Now though, as Japan stages a remarkable recovery, the mood is palpably more upbeat. Japan's economy grew faster than any of its G7 rivals in the fourth quarter of 2005, with GDP up 4 per cent year on year, and as a result, consumer spending shot up by 3 per cent over the same quarter.

Japanese advertising, too, has a more hopeful feel to it of late. As Lucy Aitken discovers (page 33), the feelgood factor - driven by healthier marketing budgets - is prompting advertisers to try new things. The 15-second bursts of celebrity-based fantasy that have come to symbolise Japan's decade-long recession are slowly giving way to advertising with a more human touch.

Change is afoot on the media side, too. The legacy of the internet maverick Takafumi Horie, who staged a David and Goliath-style takeover of Japan's largest TV broadcaster last year, continues to shake up the sector - even though Horie now resides in a Tokyo jail cell (page 37).

Meanwhile, Japan's once highly secretive domestic agencies, moved by a market that is close to saturation, continue to open up and tackle the cultural and linguistic obstacles necessary to thrive on the global stage.

Dentsu, which commands nearly one-third of Japan's ad market, agreed to open its doors and give us a sense of a day in its working life. Mark Tungate (page 38) discovers a 48-storey building with 6,000 staff, high-speed elevators, gobsmacking views of Mount Fuji and state-of-the-art lavatories that Madonna raved about on her last tour of Japan.


Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off Campaign's relaunch than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).