Japan continues to be a trendsetter in the global fashion scene, and Tokyo is becoming a new face on the collection scene, with the introduction of Japan Fashion Week. Japan is also a leading producer of cutting-edge textiles and fabrics.
The Japanese entertainment industry as a whole is in a period of transition. As the average age of the population continues to rise, the majority demographic is pulling farther and farther away from many of the youth-based contents that have driven the industry's domestic markets in the past. In addition to adapting to an older audience's demands, industries are also exploring and refining their relationships abroad and developing stable means of overseas distribution. Many are also being proactive in responding to how new technology has transformed traditional methods of distribution and dissemination, and in doing so are making their products more accessible to a more global and thus larger sphere of consumers.
This outward-oriented initiative is attractive at the present largely because of the lingering presence of an international boom of interest in Japanese culture that peaked in recent years. Anime and manga especially have recently enjoyed great popularity, and the release of next generation consoles has generated worldwide success for the Japanese gaming industry. Japanese films and music are also gaining unprecedented levels of international recognition and attention.
However, there are many obstacles to establishing successful international business relations, and many entertainment industries are still in the process of doing so. Language barriers, differences in governmental policies and regulations, and insufficient market information are all significant obstructions, although the industry as a whole is navigating them with increasing success.
Thus, currently the main challenges of the Japanese industry are to adapt its products and distribution methods to the changing demographic of an aging domestic population, and to expand and secure its international markets. In doing so, the industry can assure that its uniquely Japanese cultural products continue to excite and challenge both global and national audiences.
To give further momentum to these trends, JETRO helps small and medium-sized firms take part in prominent overseas events and invites foreign buyers to Japan.
Japan is well known for its love affair with high fashion and luxury goods. Flagship stores of the world's most famous brands line Tokyo's glitzy shopping streets, and Japan's well-healed consumers have an unending thirst for designer labels and the latest fashions. But these days, it is Japan that is setting new trends and making a name as a global trendsetter in fashion and textiles.
Japan's emerging designers and fashion houses are building reputations outside of the country, with number of Japanese designers showing at Paris collection every year. Textile makers, too, are generating increased attention abroad. Moreover, in the fast-growing China or Asian market, plenty of Japanese translated fashion magazines are sold, and the fashion buzzword "kawaii," meaning "cute" and defining a popular style among girls and young women, originated in Japan.