How not to be taken seriously

Here’s a problem that pretty much every porn star must have. They start making money as a porn star, but at some point realize they can’t keep up this lifestyle forever. Then they drop out and try to get a different job and hope their background stays anonymous, or they try and go legit.

The second option is probably the way harder one because once you are viewed as someone from the sex industry you can assume that is how people are going to see you going forward.

It takes a lot of very serious work, but that goal has to stay at the forefront all the time. Why am I telling you this?

Japan’s oldest “love doll” maker wants people to appreciate the artistry of their creations and not just view them as sex dolls anymore. All I can say is, from this promotional video from a recent event they aren’t doing a very good job.

You want me to look at your dolls as artistic creations you might want to re-think your presentation. Stop the video at the 40 second mark and you won’t just see that they have taken the top off one of the dolls, but put them in a cliché bunny outfit that screams “artistic”. Also, in the background, mounted on the wall like a trophy, is a butt. A butt that seems to send a message that isn’t so much “art” as “bangin opportunity”.

There is no problem with people promoting sex, just like there is no problem with people promoting art, but if you want to be taken seriously then how you present yourself is going to dictate how people see you.

Are you stinky? There’s an app for that

Japan is a hot and humid place in the summer. It also suffers from the inability to understand how indoor heating and cooling works. Also, people get stuffed onto trains. These things combined mean people stink.

Smell Harassment, or sume-hara, derived smell and harassment, like power harassment (pawa-hara) and sexual harassment (seku-hara), is now a thing that is popping up in the news every summer. Last year it was 40 SoftBank employees being pulled aside and forced to go to what I can only assume, was the stinkiest seminar ever.

More seriously, complaints filed have doubled from last year, so thanks media, for making that a new thing I actually have to care about.

There are two problems here, one: most people don’t even know they stink and two: What’s the point of harassing someone if you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Enter technology, specifically Kunkun body. A small device that you hold up to various body parts that is connected to your smartphone that measures your stench.

Now you can slip out of the office and into any private setting to check if you are getting strange looks for your smell or your off colored racist humor, helping you decide which one to try and hide better in the future.

Sexy video not coming down

A while ago Miyagi Prefecture posted a video to promote tourism in the area. That’s very normal, boring, government business. Then some lady politicians decided to say that the video was using Dan Mitsu as a sex object and maybe it wasn’t best way to promote wholesome tourism.

The governor of Miyagi said “Fuck that, I like my sexy video” or, more specifically “[The video] aims to maximize the appeal of the voluptuous Mitsu Dan, who shows Miyagi is cool even during the summer”.

The assembly women said that the sexist video wouldn’t encourage people to visit the area, but it has racked up more than 2.3 million views on youtube. Logically speaking Miyagi is now preparing for 2.3 million visitors this summer as the views clearly had nothing to do with the sexiness, or controversy involved that hit the media.

The governor stated that the video would be removed at a later date if more people complained about it. That later date probably being when the actual popularity of the video dies down so the governor can claim to be an altruistic servant of the people and yet still reap the benefits of sexy ladies in his videos for his prefecture.

Xbox vs Japan

The Xbox experiment in Japan is a demonstration of a company never really learning how to engage its market. The failure of the platform here is usually explained as the marketplace being hostile to foreign products. Japan has the homegrown PlayStation and would never accept another console. Certainly not an American one.

This explanation comes from people representing the company and it is their job to explain away failure as not being the fault of the company they work for. The harsh reality is there is rather strong empirical evidence to demonstrate otherwise.

Maybe the only person who showed up for the XboxOne launch, the lady paid to be there. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA

The Xbox consoles are made by Microsoft. Windows is also produced by Microsoft. If Japan were hostile to American products, particularly American ones, then Windows would not be the defacto standard in every office in the country. If Japan were really that hostile to foreign products and technology then some homegrown variant of an operating system would have risen up in its stead.

To further support Japan’s openness – the iphone. In 2016 it held 72% of the market share for  smartphones. The homegrown Sony Xperia has only about 20%, showing that not only can Japan, as a market, be broken into, it can be dominated with the correct branding and message.

No one ever staples xboxs to their head in Japan

The argument could be made that gamers are a different breed with stronger brand loyalties, but look at the introduction of the Xbox360. There was ample advertising and great interest. The first Xbox sold poorly in Japan, managing just over half a million units between 2002 to 2005.

Despite this weak install base the 360 managed to sell 1.5 million units over a similar time period. This is despite the poor reputation the 360 garnered when it was released. The high failure rate (the red ring of death) at launch was jumped on by the media as a scandal that demonstrated the comparable weakness build quality of American products.

Still, the 360 managed to gain ground. They had poor sales in comparison to the much more expensive PS3 (60,000 yen), the Xbox 360 was almost half the price if you bought the basic system, but it wasn’t enough to get over that initial gaffe. The marketing strategy was to make the 360 look fashionable where consumers wanted a better price (which the 360 had) and higher gaming specifications.

To make the Xbox One successful in Japan efforts needed to be doubled and the focus needed to be on video games. Xbox 360 sales spiked when JRPG Blue Dragon was released as an exclusive title.

Everyone who showed up for the XboxOne release…that guy.

A better system, a larger selection of games aimed at the local market (more RPG’s, less shooters) and a campaign directed at people who played games, not people who wanted a home entertainment system and Microsoft would have a real foot in the door.

At this point, Microsoft clearly gave up. There were a few television commercials that showed the machine, again, in a stylish and cool way, without making a clear appeal to players or demonstrating any advantages over the PlayStation.

There were few exclusive titles to pull people away from the PS4 and there were some ads on the Xbox 360 dashboard stating the release date of the new console. If the company wasn’t going to put effort into the market on release, then clearly the market was going to respond appropriately and buy the system marketed to them.

A secondary failure in this is the fact that on release the Xbox One was bundled with the Kinect. A camera that was touted as being “always on” that could respond to voice and gesture controls. Japan is a very privacy conscious culture and the idea of the camera watching people in their homes at all times was a massive turn off. This fact alone could have guaranteed failure in Japan, even if everything else was perfect. That is how serious privacy is to Japanese people.

Mircosoft then reduced shelf space in stores to save money. In Japan, the amount of shelf space a product gets isn’t always based on popularity and demand, it’s often paid for by the company. The reduction in space sent a message to consumers that the Xbox brand was on it’s way out, thus furthering the impression that it was not the console to choose since there would be less support in the future.

How did this not sell people?

Xbox One sold 23,562 units on the first day. To date they have sold a little over 76,500 units. The did 30% of their sales on the first day and as everyone knows, the initial sales are generally the peak.

Now comes Microsoft’s latest effort, Project Scorpio, later revealed to be the XboxOneX, obviously named by a 12 year old clan member. Last February Phil Spencer (head of Xbox Division) came to Japan in an attempt to garner interest for the platform and get some Japanese games on the console. Something Xbox One suffered from greatly as it just went further to demonstrate that Japan was no longer a market of interest.

If Microsoft wants any hope of making an impact on Japan it needs those Japanese games. With two main consoles in competition, the one that has more games will always come out on top. Of course, Spencer’s comments on the trip have been positive, but with all the failures in the past to make up for his task in Japan must be focused and well designed to bear out any kind of success. This may be Xbox’s last chance to see Japan as a viable market at all.