Posts by Toshie Koshiga - Tokyo

From marriage to meeting neighbors, Japanese look to build bonds post-disaster

One of the anxieties that has grown in the wake of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster—one that often follows traumatic experiences—is a fear of being alone. Evidence points to a rise in weddings and engagements: McKinsey & Co.’s June report on Japan’s luxury market says this has helped keep sales of watches and jewelry strong. For example Ginza Tanaka, a major jewelry company, reports that sales of engagement and marriage rings jumped 20 percent year over year in April and May. Takashimaya, the department store, has “never seen anything like this” in terms of ring sales, an employee told The Financial Times. And according to O-net, a popular dating service, marriages among female members have increased 30 to 40 percent and enrollment requests have spiked 40 percent since May in Kanto and the Tokyo metropolitan area.

People are coming to more deeply recognize the importance of not only family but other types of “kizuna” (bonds/ties). My next-door neighbor here in Tokyo, whom I hardly know, gave me some rice and mineral water in the period after the earthquake when supermarket supplies ran short (many parents living in the western part of Japan, which was not affected, were sending goods to their children, but my parents live in Tokyo). I was happy to make a new “kizuna.” We can expect to see continued demand for and consumption of products and services that promote “kizuna” between people other than family, and marketing messages that tap into this idea.

Photo Credit: Lel4nd

結婚や隣人とのつながり – 日本人は震災後「絆」を求めている

越賀淑恵 (東京)

3.11の震災は、その経験自体のトラウマ以外にも、「いざというときに独りでいたくない」という不安を多くの日本人の心にもたらした。その裏付けの一つとして結婚や婚約関連の消費が震災前と比較して伸びており、マッキンゼー・アンド・カンパニーの6月の調査結果でも宝飾品市場が上昇。例えば、宝飾品大手のGINZA TANAKAによると結婚指輪と婚約指輪の売り上げが4月と5月で前年比の2割アップ、高島屋でも関東の店舗で前年比3割増え、売り場担当者は「このような例は今まで見たことがない」とフィナンシャル・タイムズに語った。そして結婚紹介所のO-netでも成婚に至った会員女性が3~4割増え、入会の資料請求も関東・首都圏で5月以降4割増えているとのことである。