Last Thursday was an exciting day for the btrax team. We launched our first virtual event of the 2021 series on Japan Market Insights. With 150 attendees registered, btrax hosted the virtual event, Localizing for the Japanese Market, inviting leading industry experts from Square, Wix, and Shootsta. This article will be focusing on 3 insights that Kazu Mori, Japan localization specialist at Wix, shared in his presentation.
Japan is perceived as a difficult market to enter and grow. The Japanese market is known to be the gateway to the Asian market with a combined market cap over $5.6 trillion dollars. Yet many Western companies fail to successfully enter and grow in Japan.
There are drastic cultural differences, seemingly peculiar customer habits and needs, and potentially substantial investment needed to understand this market. btrax gathered 4 leading localization experts to explore the fundamentals of localization in Japan.
What is Localization?
Localization is envisioning the final product as if it were made by the local company from scratch.
The following are three fundamentals to consider when localizing your company into the Japanese market.
Small details lead to success in cultural transitions
“Localization is not about adding a new value to the product. Rather, it’s about presenting the product in its supposed form for the country. When the localization is done right, it’s often unnoticeable,” said Kazu Mori from Wix.
In the movie, Inside Out, there is a scene of a young girl refusing to eat her vegetables. In the original US movie, the despised vegetable was broccoli. However, in the Japanese movie, the vegetable was a green bell pepper. The green bell peppers in Japan tend to be small and bitter, notoriously known to be hated by children.
Cultural values translated into design differences
Marie Kondo localization for her Japan and US Youtube channel, respectively.
The US aesthetics is clean and minimal, while the Japanese aesthetics desire bold, colorful, and provoking designs. Five important aspects to consider when localizing design is color psychology, typography, hierarchy, navigation, and platforms.
Purely translating content and using the same design will not work effectively if your target audience has already gathered learned experiences from their cultural surroundings. A common design difference in Japanese design is the use of the color red which is correlated to boldness or positivity, while in the US, red is used to emphasize errors.
Ant-Man released in Japan VS US, respectively.
Know your consumer mindset
When it comes to quality, the Japanese consumer is said to be discerning with a high expectation for quality. In Japan, the quality evaluation does not end with the product, it extends to the service during the sales process and post-purchase customer service. According to the 2017 American Express International survey, 56% of Japanese consumers answered, “they will take their business elsewhere after one bad service experience;” in comparison, China is only 23% and the US is 32%.
This insight should showcase that building loyalty and credibility is important when entering the Japanese market. Consumers in Japan value quality brands, services, delivery, packaging, and advertisements, and are all relevant when making purchasing decisions.
View our speaker’s presentations here!
For more information about customer behavior traits to consider in Japan, please check out our frestrax article, “Japanese Website Design Trends: 3 Consumer Behavior Traits to Consider.”
Without the right cultural, demographic, and linguistic knowledge, localization will never likely reach its full potential. With extensive knowledge of Japanese culture and over 15 years of experience working with global companies, btrax provides localization services and more for companies interested in entering the Japanese market. If you would like more information about our services, feel free to contact us.
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