FT: Japanese businesses and the “millennial Instagram obsession”

Leo Lewis and Emma Jacobs in an excellent series about contemporary consumption experiences for the Financial Times:

Japan’s experience economy has evolved along two distinct avenues. On one side an already fully fledged leisure, dining and hospitality sector has sought ever more inventive ways of packaging experience — from hotels staffed by robots and limited-edition Shinkansen bullet trains fitted out with Hello Kitty decor to many of the country’s aquariums offering the opportunity to camp overnight surrounded by the relaxing pulsations of bioluminescent jellyfish.

The other side … has to an extent developed as a branch of Japan’s “otaku” culture. This originally referred to the obsessive focus on particular areas of popular culture such as animation, video games or comics but is now more generally applied to a tendency to single-minded connoisseurship.

Here are two recent examples for the so-called two sides:

  1. Next month, if you’re in Tokyo, you can reserve a table on the disused third track at JR Ryogoku Station, grill gyozas, and drink beer. 😍
  2. Last month, you could line up at the noitmina cafe at Fuji TV’s headquarters in Odaiba to watch an advance screening of Banana Fish, a TV show that adapts a manga a street gang kid on the run, where you can purchase a drink named after the protagonist called “Ash Lynx”:


This is a drink with cola, which Ash drinks in the show, lemon syrup, which represents Ash’s beautiful blond hair, with strawberries added to represent his red [read: fierce] image.


Mixing the drink adds a faint sweetness, which represents the change Ash goes through once he meets Eiji [the deuteragonist on the show].