6 Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing in Japan

Are you a Japan-based entrepreneur, or planning to set up shop in The Land of the Rising Sun? Then pull up a chair and lend an ear. The Japanese market is a tough market to break into. But with sufficient preparation, you can succeed where others have failed. How might you fail? Well, you could do that by:



You’re spending both time and money opening up a new business in a new market. If you want to reach your goals, you need to think things through, and create an efficient game plan. Track ROI metrics. Set a timeline. Make sure you’re on track as you progress.

And don’t assume the tactics of one nation will translate to another. There are plenty of companies that thought their strategies that worked in one market would work in Japan, only to see their efforts fall flat. Adjust to the environment, and learn what does and does not work in Japan.



Business is essentially relationships- between individuals, between groups, between companies. This goes double in Japan where you are defined by your placement in the social strata. The exchange of business cards informs that placement right from the get-go. It is imperative to build strong relationships, so waste no time getting familiar with your team of experts.

You can’t succeed without a strong level of familiarity with the locals. Affiliate marketers can be invaluable in this area.



Translation is tricky. Nuance, intention and inference can be lost or accidentally inserted if you aren’t careful. In Japanese, this becomes frighteningly pertinent. An innocuous phrase in English can come across as excessively aggressive in Japanese. Or, a seemingly clever slogan can completely fall flat.

When creating your brand message for Japan, be clear and insistent about what it is you’re trying to convey about your company or brand. A lazy or thoughtless translation can be incredibly damaging.



Japanese society is a largely conservative and tradition-preserving one. But those unchanging ways don’t relate to consumer trends. With the growth and expansion in e-commerce, Japanese purchasing trends shift quickly. You need to adjust at their speed, or get left behind.

Japan changes as much as it stays the same, and you hinder yourself if you aren’t ready for the changes.



25% of Japan’s population is over the age of 65. Life expectancy increases, while marriage and birthrates decline. That percentage is expected to jump, quickly. As such, many products and services are directly aimed at this demographic, with great success.

No matter what you offer to Japan, make sure to keep the older citizens in mind by developing content or iterations that appeal to them. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.



Young people love mobile devices. It’s always a good idea to invest in online advertising, and maintain a presence on the popular social media platforms. But, if you’re looking at marketing in Japan, you can’t ignore the aged (see above).

The older Japanese citizens are avid readers of newspapers. So much so that, despite being the tenth largest population in the world, three of the top five newspapers in global circulation come from Japan. The Yomiuri Shimbun has nearly 20 times the daily circulation of the New York Times. Food for thought.

When it comes to English, the Japanese people struggle! You wouldn’t believe the panic and dismay when they want to purchase a product, but give up at the sight of the English language.

Gloture is a new class of promotion agency located in the heart of Tokyo. We specialize in helping overseas startups to launch products in the Japanese market.

As the top choice in our field, we will handle each step from start to finish. 

Get in touch today and let Gloture help your brand standout with huge success in Japan!