Author: max98y

My Story of Japanese Marketing – The Analysis


Source: The Burning Ear

Last week I brought to you my story of watching some Japanese commercials as an experience to use for auto-ethnographic research. At the end of my blog I said I would do the one just commercial but for a more extensive account I will attempt to include all of the viewed advertisements. The change to include all of the advertisements came after I began research on the experience as certain elements or what became the epiphanies of the experience were realised. These realisations occurred after I had discovered certain information about both Japanese marketing and their culture. Also as you know auto-ethnography seeks to “systematically analyse personal experience” in order to understand “cultural experience” therefore discovering this while beginning the analysis makes sense (Ellis, et al. 2011).  When you accompany this with the matter that auto-ethnographic researchers “selectively write about epiphanies” that are “made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity” the inclusion of more than one advertisement was really the key to this being possible (Ellis, et al. 2011).

Initially I watched the advertisements with a little prior knowledge on Japanese marketing and held some beliefs about it that I thought were just. It was then pointed out to me that these beliefs may reflect what most people think about any other cultures advertisements around the world. This being the case coupled with both the experience I had and the research that I undertook my outlook on Japanese marketing has completely changed.

The first thing that I noticed when watching the advertisements was that in both of the first two there was a dog. One was talking and the other was dancing. At first I thought maybe this was a trend but didn’t think to much of it. I researched it anyway. What I found was incredible. Japan has a very strong love affair with dogs but this wasn’t always the case (Kingston, 2012). Before war time Japan there were extensive eradication of dogs projects and even after that the dog’s of the country were not pampered and loved like they are now. Dogs in Japan are almost a national symbol to its citizens now and this is most likely what the advertisements were reflecting. Although, maybe the advertisements are reflecting something deeper, maybe they are trying to make up for the nation’s past treatment of dogs? Maybe this is why their love affair with them occurred in the first place. My initial reaction of finding a flying and talking dog in Japanese commercials was that it was kind of weird. Although this reaction is one that has been shaped by my own culture. Now although Australians do love dogs I don’t think that they love them enough to include them in advertisements other than the ones for dog food and I guess toilet paper. In both of these they aren’t talking or flying. These preexisting perceptions of mine definitely affected my reaction but after learning what I have about dogs in Japan it makes a lot more sense they are being used to sell lots of different products.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 11.08.27 am

Source: Youtube

The next aspect of the commercials that really stood out to me was the inclusion of Bruce Willis. This seemed odd to me; not because he doesn’t belong in advertisements but rather I didn’t know his status in Japan if any. But as Japan has adopted a lot of American customs this is another one that transcends culture. I discovered that Japanese marketing companies will pay $1-$3 million dollars for a few hours work (Zabanga, 2016) . Couple this with the matter that Bruce Willis’ latest movie was celebrated in Japan by an artist making a chocolate sculpture of Bruce and the endorsement makes much more sense. This identifies another epiphany where my own cultural perceptions shaped my experience. There was no reason for me to think that Bruce Willis wouldn’t be famous in Japan other than the fact I thought that they would have different celebrities to that of English speaking countries. This is therefore a clear example of my beliefs being wrong and another thing that this research has taught me.


Source: The Wrap

The final advertisement that I watched included kids performing tricks with everyday objects. In my first post I stated that I thought the advertisement would be about sport or some kind of talent show. I was very wrong with this assumption. The advertisement was in fact about noodles. This again displays a moment where my own cultural beliefs shaped my interpretation of what was happening. This is therefore another “epiphany” that I only noticed when reflecting on my own experience.


Source: Tokyo Girls Update

As “auto-ethnography is further informed by research on oral and personal narratives in performance and communication studies” these four epiphanies display a clear example of the research being conducted (Spry, 2001). They also display the benefits / importance of it as a research practice of it. Auto-ethnography can also be defined as “self-narrative that critiques the situatedness of self with others” (Spry, 2001). As this reflection on the experience allowed me to realise where my own cultural experience had shaped my personal experience it is clear that this quote is another one that rings true in terms of auto-ethnography and shaped the way that my study has unfolded.

Reference List

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1

Gilman, G. (2013). Bruce Willis Immortalized with Chocolate ‘Die Hard’ Statue in Japan. TheWrap. Available at: [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].

Kingston, J. (2012). Japan: the history behind its love affair with dogs. The Japan Times. Available at: [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].

Schaefer, M. (2016). Five marketing and business lessons from Japan – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses. Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses. Available at: [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].

Spry, T. (2001). Performing Autoethnography: An Embodied Methodological Praxis. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), pp.706-732. (2016). Celebrities Sell Out But Only in Japan – Marketing Communications. Available at: [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].

My Story of Japanese Marketing


I was sitting in my bedroom on the morning of the 24th of August, It was a thursday and I had my DIGC 330 class in a few hours. I realised it was now or never for me to get a start on my research project before class this week (something I had been planning since the previous lesson but had been too busy obviously…). I was already on my computer and looking at the class plan for the day while importing cd’s onto my itunes (yes a little old school) and this may seem irrelevant but it was part of the experience all the same.

I started by first doing a simple Google search for Japanese marketing. Now this was definitely not the best way to start as it just came up with 100’s of Japanese marketing strategy documents from the way they do their marketing plans to why it is different to marketing elsewhere in the world, even why it is more successful. This is something I care about due to having a marketing degree so it was hard to not get distracted by all the information but I stuck to my task and changed from Google to Youtube in order to find what I’m looking for.

Youtube proved to be a much better way for me to access Japanese advertisements . A simple search and numerous advertisements appeared but in exactly the manner I didn’t want them to. Headings such as the ones seen in the picture below of “Weird, Funny and Cool Japanese Commercials #2”. This automatically puts the view of us ‘vs’ them on the video being displayed and this is something that I want this experience to minimise. Although a little research almost completely disregards this as a justified view but this is something I will talk about next week.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 10.58.02 am

Anyway disregarding the heading I clicked and entered. Ok so the first thing I see on this video yes a little weird. There was a Human sized dog talking to a child, the child looked just as confused as me with the situation. But then a spaceship appears takes the dog and he is back with some crisps. Now all is right with the world and the little girl starts dancing along with the dog. So ok this one maybe a bit strange but more on that later.

Then the next one comes on. It’s a dog in space and this one can talk (little trend here). So far the experience has been a bit strange but then all marketing can be a bit strange just look at the example below. I am still not 100% on what this advertisement is about but I think it might be for a bank.


I skip a few and then a familiar face appears its Bruce Willis. He is there advertising Daihatsu. So celebrity endorsements still commonplace in Japanese advertisements a little something that transcends culture. Although this celebrity endorsement does not make that much sense to me unless you are planning on saving the world in a Daihatsu but it’s still there.

After these few I thought I would change videos and see what some other examples that are available on Youtube are like. I go to one titled “Japanese Commercials, Special,The Very Best Of 2015”. I don’t know what to expect after what I just watched but the first ad that comes on is just awesome. It features school children performing tricks with everyday objects and is pretty mesmerising to watch. I am so curious to see what it’s about and its… noodle soup. I thought it was going to be a talent show or some kind of sport but this assumption was just so wrong. This is where I realised it was time to stop as I have so much to analyse about the advertisements I’ve seen and my reactions to them already.

So that was it, It didn’t take long and I already realised this experience has so much involved in it for me to look at and study. Something Chris has been saying the whole semester “Just choose something small”. Which he then reiterated to me when I went to class after having this experience. Informing me that one advertisement is probably enough so with this being the case I will most likely choose the last advertisement I mentioned as I think it was the best.

Throughout the experience I kept a written journal to closely document my experience. Now that I have chosen just one I will use what I have written on it to further analyse next week. Stay tuned for more.

If you want to watch the advertisement that is the main focus the link is included below:


Auto-ethnography and Me

Studying marketing throughout my university degree has opened me up to a large amount of ways to conduct research. Learning about ethnography is something that I have now been doing for years mostly to learn the ways you can use it to sell products. So when I started DIGC330 and the term autoethnography came up I was somewhat keen to see what this new type of ethnography was all about but also hoping it wouldn’t be as dry as some of the stuff in marketing. Chris had explained it well and then the reading really showed me what it was all about. (It took three weeks of Chris nagging for me to listen and read it but 100% worth it).

So in short autoethnography seeks to systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience (Ellis, et al. 2011). This is done by selecting moments that one could consider an epiphany about the culture or themselves that helps explains their reaction or the cultural experience. In other words the most memorable moments that occur. Auto ethnographers recognise the ways that their own personal experience will influence their research and consider this when analysing their findings.

Learning this process of autoethnography it made me consider cultural experiences that I have had in my life and if there had been any moments that I could consider an epiphany. I did think of one. In 2014 I went on University exchange in the Netherlands. Although there are many similarities between Australians and Dutch both cultures have some very distinct differences as well. I travelled there knowing the country is very flat and small but I would read facts such as there are more push-bikes in the country than people and really question why. It wasn’t until one day that I was riding down the street and I saw a lady riding her bike with three kids on it with her and I just got it. They can not only get everywhere on it they can take their whole family with them until they can do it by themselves anyway.


This personal experience of auto-ethnography is not complete though. In order to complete the research process I would have to analyse why I reacted this way or held the beliefs I did about the experience initially.

This subject has the task of conducting autoethnography on an aspect of Asian culture. I am very keen to do this knowing that this research has already been a part of my life without me really knowing. The chance to conduct it on a culture in Asia that I am interested in is also a great opportunity. Reflecting on some of my personal experiences has helped me make a decision on what I think I would like to study. That is Japanese marketing. My keen interest on marketing has led me to this decision. It has also been influenced as I know Japanese marketing is very different to marketing in Australia. For now I’m going to check out some Japanese advertisements and go from there. Stay posted for more on my progression as this one unfolds.



Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 10th August 2017,

Godzilla vs Me

Watching the movie Godzilla was an unexpected occurrence in my first class for the semester but one that was welcomed with opened arms. I had heard of the Godzilla movie franchise but never watched or read of the movies so had no idea what I was in for. Upon viewing the movie the welcoming feeling I had about watching it quickly changed. That is not saying that I didn’t like the movie as I actually thought it was quite enjoyable but rather that it was deeper than what I thought it would be. The movie had some very confronting scenes and as we are reflecting on it versus our own personal experiences it made me quite upset. These scenes are due to the relationships that can be made between Godzilla and events in Japan’s history.


The most obvious relationship of what Godzilla represented was to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in World War two. In the movie the elders are displayed saying that the people need to learn from the past to not let the mistakes that created Godzilla happen again. As Godzilla was created by a nuclear bomb the direct relationship between the monster and nuclear warfare is very clear. It also means that the elders are saying that this type of warfare should never happen again. The images that really hit me relating to this were a burning Tokyo city which is where one of the bombs got dropped in WW2 and the emergency centres filling with young families after Godzilla had attacked which is a common occurrence during times of war.


Although if Godzilla was a much more recent movie the beast could also be a representation of nuclear power. This relationship is made due to the Fukushima disaster. The relationship to the Fukushima disaster is very close and parallels include the public and even the people in power not knowing how to deal with the problem / disaster / devastation from Godzilla. The images that hit hard relating to Fukushima to me were again of the overfilled emergency centres with young families as they had nowhere else to go. This was a common site after the Fukushima disaster.


Another issue that this films seems to be tackling is Japan’s struggle to work out its identity after WW2. This is due to its change from a military power to a defence force. Although I see this issue is displayed in the movie it is one that I do not know enough about to comment constructively on.


Therefore I viewed the film through a lens that allowed me to see the devastation that this nation has faced and then watch it try to work out who it is again. But it is also a devastation that I am yet to experience and hope that I never have to. Historical events that have occurred in Japan in the past and very recent past are ones that I hope we are getting further away from as the world progresses.