Japanese Commercials

I’m in love with Japanese commercials, partly because it’s strange to me and partly because they have a unique appreciation for Tommy Lee Jones. I had seen a few here and there but hadn’t thoroughly explored them until more recently.



Apparently when watching Japanese television there isn’t as clear of a distinction between the show being aired and the commercial break. From what I’ve seen and been told by my friend Kyle, who studies Japanese and has done study abroad in Japan a few times and whom also introduces me to awesome Japanese tv shows, Japanese media seems to be much more fast paced. My first impressions of the commercials in this video are not only are these insane but quite a few of the commercials, whilst eye catching, are unrelated to the product they’re selling. While I do let out a classic sigh of ‘oh Japan…’ when watching these intense segments I’ve come to think ‘well… what about American television and the insanity of Honey Boo Boo?’ To be honest I’ve just succumbed to the stereotype of Japanese people being weird and haven’t just viewed it solely as ‘entertainment’, and that’s something that I will have to work on.


When thinking about what media I will explore and what specific countries media I will research I have to admit that I am scared of confusing cultures. Yes, I know a bit about Japan, South Korea and China but linguistically, culturally and even ethnically I don’t know enough to actually tell various countries and cultures apart (yes I know I’m a little racist and I’m a terrible Asian). Additionally when I think about countries that aren’t South Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines (because I’m Filipino, not because it’s popular in Western media) I realize that I really don’t know anything about their digital cultures. Personally I’ve never looked at commercials and media for other countries such as Mongolia, but now I am pretty curious to find out what their overall style is.



  1. I agree with you that it is easy to subscribe to the idea that Japan is just ‘weird’. Its great that you have figured out your own prejudices and are going to work on them. I think that something to consider is the interaction between digital media and novelty.
    Advertisements go viral because in some way they are funny or special. Perhaps we see these advertisements, like Japanese game shows, because they are the most unusual. It is most likely that Japanese audiences would not watch the run of the mill Australian cleaning product ad because it would simply be boring. Instead, they’d watch Rhonda and Ketut, because to people outside of Australia it would make no sense and be ‘weird’.
    And to us, that ad is good because it is memorable. In order for an ad to go viral, it must have an element of surprise (http://hbr.org/2012/03/the-new-science-of-viral-ads/ar/1?referral=00060). So although these ads were made for Japanese audiences, perhaps they were meant to be surprising or weird because it is a more effective marketing strategy. But when we view them as outsiders, we tend to subscribe to the idea that this just crazy Japan.


  2. Tommy Lee Jones… Seafood Milk Noodle.. ‘Jerry Beans’… Japanese ads are great. I would swap our Australian advertising for Japanese advertising in the time it takes to make ‘Seafood Milk Noodles’ if I could (so much more entertaining). I CANNOT stand Australian advertising, it infuriates me to the point where I have basically stopped watching free-to-air television. I have a memory of watching Japanese television with my family in Tokyo, the colour scheme’s and content certainly made it difficult to distinguish between ads and programmes, it all seemed so similar! (the fact I can’t speak Japanese probably didn’t help). Within Western marketing the line between editorial content and advertising is becoming increasingly blurred. I wonder if subliminal or ‘native’ advertising is as popular in asian media as it is in western… and I wonder if people from those countries get as equally ‘annoyed’ or ‘infuriated’ as I do when advertising becomes so invasive.


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