Difficulties of advertise in Japan

Difficulties of advertise in Japan

The Japanese market is a very interesting market for many international brands and several companies aim to carve out space in the mind of Japanese consumers. Advertise in Japanese however presents several difficulties that must be considered when deciding to enter this market and it becomes essential to rely on professionals in the sector, or at least be supported by a consulting company, to avoid wasting energy and resources in attempts of succeeding.

Language and expression

Obviously for advertising in Japan, the Japanese language is mandatory. But a simple translation is not enough, because of the uniqueness of tone of voice and language structure that vary depending on who the target audience is. It is necessary to use the language according to the logic of Japanese syntax, paying particular attention to the form in which the message is conveyed.

If in everyday life Japanese people don’t express what we think, Japanese advertising is much more aggressive, using a lot of “Buy now” “Try it” “You must have”. Of course, this risks overwhelming the customers who will pay attention only to “those who shout the most”, or to the advertising that makes them laugh the most, usually because they are the most insane.Or because a famous perso n is a testimonial.

Knowledge of Digital Marketing

We can therefore see how substantially advertising in Japan is still based on a traditional marketing model, created to target everyone, hoping to attract the attention of as many people as possible, without any segmentation or customization typical of digital advertising. And with the advent of digital, most Japanese marketing companies have simply moved the same concepts from offline to online, maintaining high costs and hardly segmentable returns.

This balance difference between Japanese marketing strategies and the requests of international brands often turn into misunderstandings between expectations and results, for this reason choosing an agency able to mediate between Japanese culture and overseas culture is fundamental to successfully advertise in Japan.

Furthermore, Japan is still a very closed country, not inclined to change and with a knowledge of English that is not really permeated in society. For this reason, the latest trends and best practices of digital marketing, now consolidated abroad, are still little known among the Japanese who therefore don’t know how to apply digital marketing to make the most of it to drive results.

Digital promotion is therefore still linked to massive advertising and only small attention dedicated to social media, revealing this interesting slice of the market almost uncovered, despite its high potential.

We at Hatago Consulting know the benefit of digital marketing thanks to our international staff experienced in the field and thus we are able to cover that slice of the market that remains almost unexplored.


To sell in Japan you need a story, a reason that makes Japanese people choose your brand over the one Made in Japan.

If you want to enter the Japanese market, you have to think about how to present the story behind your product, create attractive packaging and consider a strategy that includes limited editions, the real Achilles heel of the Japanese.

Creating storytelling that emphasizes the uniqueness of a brand or product and at the same time is able to attract the attention of the Japanese consumer, is the key to successfully advertise in Japan.

It should always remember, however, that digital marketing emphasizes what is already existing, positively and negatively, and it is, therefore, necessary to approach the Japanese market with an already well-defined idea.

Digital advertising in Japan

Even with Covid19, the number of active users of social networks (LINK) in Japan is growing, we need to consider that the average time spent on them is far less than the world average.

Japanese public tends to use social media in a different way from the Western world (link) and an effective strategy, capable of finding a touching point between the wishes of the brand and the requests of users, is fundamental for the success of the brand awareness and the conversion.

If abroad social networks are used above all to create a community of loyalists, in Japan there is still a lot of “I follow a profile for the information and the advantage it gives me”.

So coupons, loyalty programs, special deals for subscribers, pre-order and so on are important elements to consider in the digital strategy for advertise in Japan.

Our Social Media Marketing Solutions