The top 20 hit products of 2011 according to Dentsu28 November, 2011 by Chad
Earlier today, the Dentsu Innovation Institute released their findings for 2011’s top “hit products” in Japan. The list shows the top 20 items, figures and phenomenons as seen from a internet survey the company carried out earlier this month. It’s a nice representation of the current buzzwords and what’s hot in Japan right now.
Retaining the number one spot as least year are Smartphones. Ever since the introduction of iPhones into Japan in 2008, the public had finally been exposed to a cellphone that wasn’t running the terribly chunky user interfaces they had been putting in their “keitais” since eternity. 2011 has seen Android phones overtaking the market in all but the most KY of countries and Japan is no exception. Japan has always had an unnatural reliance on cellphones, perhaps more so now that they have their hands on some that are actually easy to operate.
#2. LED Light Bulbs
The impact of the the unfortunate Tohoku earthquake and tsunami can be seen in many of the names making this list. While already gaining awareness since last year, the “setsuden” energy saving campaign that swept through Japan explains the sudden increased frenzy towards low energy consumption products, most popular being LED light bulbs.
#3. Tokyo Sky Tree
Tokyo’s new terrestrial broadcasting tower climbs up this year’s list as we ease closer towards its public launch date next May. The 634 meter structure is already the second tallest structure in the world and is hallmark towards the Japanese media’s complete shift to digital broadcasting by next year.
#4. Nadeshiko Japan
Japan women’s national football team that beat America this July to become the first Asian team ever to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Quite literally Japan’s largest pop idol group, AKB48 continue their invasion of Japanese media and chart topping releases throughout of this year too.
#6. Ashida Mana
Popping out of nowhere to take the 6th spot is Ashida Mana. This 7 year old child actress has been clogging television screens since her appearance in popular dramas late last year. Now Ashida pops up in just about ever commercial break, ensuring you can’t ignore this child talent even if you skip all her programs. Like most other talents her age, Ashida is another victim of adultifation that leaves her looking like a creepy, middle-aged midget.
#7. Hybrid Vehicles
Japan continues their raised awareness in all things green, with hybrid vehicles jumping 9 places up.
#8. Disaster Prevention/Emergency Food Supplies
Again related to the Tohoku incident. You’d think something of such importance would rank higher though.
#9. Electric/Battery Powered Fans
During the energy saving campaign, many opted to switch out their air conditioning for more primitive alternatives. Electrical and battery powered fans became a sudden need to get item, like the other setsuden related items on this list.
#10. Digital Broadcasting Ready Widescreen LCD TVs
With 2011 being the last year before switching to full digital broadcasting, it was about time the last few people owning analog TVs moved onto more recent technology. But in lieu with the events, the complete transfer has been delayed.
#11. Chunky Chilli Oil
Singapore’s Lee Kum Kee chili oil (which they refer to as 具入り辣油 over there) has been garnering unprecedented fame over in Japan these couple of years. It drops from a number 3 spot since last year but the oil features just the right amount of spiciness for the Japanese who are so known for their cat tongues to still stay on this list.
#12. Energy Saving Home Appliances
We’ve got to wonder exactly how much good switching to the new, apparently energy saving appliances does but that certainly doesn’t stop their popularity among those not willing to compromise their existing reliant lifestyles.
#13. Lady Gaga
While attracting media attention for all the wrong reasons, Lady Gaga’s involvement with charity efforts has generated enough buzz to put her on this year’s list.
#14. Automatic Bread Makers
This time last year, Sanyo revealed the first ever rice cookers that could automatically turn normal rice into bread. The “Gopan” machines sold over 58,000 machines in its first month alone and have continued to be a major hit in the market.
#15. Tablet PCs
PCs or Pasocons as they are called, have taken far longer to see consumer use in Japan than in the rest of the world. Tablet PCs on the other hand combine the tool with the mobile technology that they so love. Which probably explains the rising interest for tablets from last year’s 19th place.
#16. B-Grade Local Gourmet Food (Casual inexpensive food)
As Japanese locals continue to hold on tightly to their wallets, casual inexpensive restaurants continue to be the food of choice.
#17. Steve Jobs
While Apple products have not seen nearly as much popularity in Japan as elsewhere, the news of Steve Jobs passing have made enough ripples to be felt worldwide.
#18. Twitter / Microblogging
Japan has been resistant to attempts by Facebook to penetrate the country, preferring instead to stick to local mobile social network systems like Gree and Mixi. Twitter is a rare exception, having struck a chord with Japan’s platform of choice. The Japanese language lends itself effectively to Twitter too, with the 140 character limit being a non-issue for oriental users. But with just about everyone having tried or on Twitter already, most of the buzz that put it at number 2 on last year’s list has vanished.
#19. Electric Cars
Though Japan leads the production of eco-cars, just like in the rest of the world acceptance has been sparse. Electric cars creep into the bottom of this year’s list, though probably only in lieu of this year’s events.
#20. K-Pop Groups
Despite the utmost efforts, the surge of K-pop that has taken the rest of Asia by storm has had little effect in Japan. Instead, Korean artists find themselves fulfilling a small niche in Japan.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.