Japan is well known for unique culture and customs which are reflected in its typical marketing calendar. The months of April, May, and June are particularly interesting. They are filled with festivals and holidays that companies can leverage to create effective marketing campaigns.
In this article, we look at the 2nd quarter of the year in Japan. Read about major events you should include in your schedule, and list of popular keywords people search for during this time.
Learn more about crafting the perfect marketing calendar for Japan:
April marks the start of the new fiscal year in Japan. Many companies launch new products or services to coincide with this. It’s a good opportunity to promote new products and services that can help people to start the new year on a positive note.
Additionally, April is the start of the school year. There is a lot of focus on education-related products and services such as textbooks, school uniforms, and study aids.
Another notable event in April is Showa Day. It is a national holiday that celebrates the birthday of the former Emperor Showa on 29 April. This is a day to reflect on the Showa era and its historical importance.
It is an opportunity for companies to engage in activities that align with this theme. Many retailers organise sales promotions or advertising campaigns.
The cherry blossom, or sakura in Japanese, is a beloved symbol of spring in Japan. And it is a must in every successful marketing calendar. Every year, the arrival of cherry blossoms marks the beginning of a new season. It is a time when many people head outside to enjoy the beauty of the pink and white flowers. It also creates a unique opportunity for marketers to tap into the sakura fever and create campaigns that resonate with the public.
Another way for companies to take advantage of the sakura season is hosting events or campaigns that are related to cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom viewing parties or sakura-themed photography competitions are a common occurrence during this time. These events can be a great way to create a sense of community and generate positive buzz for a brand.
Social media campaigns are also a great way to tap into the sakura season. Companies can use hashtags related to cherry blossoms and encourage customers to share their own sakura-themed photos or experiences. This way, brands create a sense of connection with their fanbase.
However, there are certain cultural and social sensitivities to be aware of when marketing during the cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms have deep cultural significance in Japan, and it’s important to approach the subject matter with respect and sensitivity.
• 新学期 (shin gakki) – ‘new school term’
• 昭和の日 (Showa no hi) – ‘Showa Day’
• 引っ越し (hikkoshi) – ‘moving’ as it’s common for people to move at the start of the new fiscal year
• カーデニング (gardening)
• 名刺入れ (meishi-ire) – ‘business card holder’ as many people change jobs at the start of the new fiscal year
May is a month of celebrations in Japan.
It is the time for a number of traditional festivals known as Golden Week. It is is a collection of 4 national holidays in a row. Starting with Showa Day (29 April), the consecutive holidays are: Constitution Day (3 May), Greenery Day (4 May), and Children’s Day (5 May). Preparing a well designed marketing calendar for the Golden Week is a great strategy.
Many Japanese people take advantage of the long holiday to travel, making it one of the busiest travel seasons in Japan.
Companies and brands can leverage this season by offering travel deals or special promotions related to tourism, which can include airline tickets, hotel accommodations, or guided tours. The travel industry can profit during this time by offering special deals or discounts to attract customers who are planning to travel during Golden Week.
Travel gadgets, such as portable electronics, comfortable clothing, and lightweight luggage also see an increase in popularity.
Another way for companies to increase their sales during this period is by promoting products or services that are well-suited to leisure activities, such as outdoor gear, consumer electronics, or entertainment. For example, a clothing company might release a line of clothing that is perfect for outdoor activities or a video game company might release a new title that is perfect for playing during the long holiday.
It’s important to note that Golden Week is a very busy time in Japan, and many places will be crowded. This could be both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses, as it could be difficult for companies to stand out among the competition, but it also represents a huge potential market to reach.
• ゴールデンウィーク (Golden Week)
• 旅行 (ryokō) – ‘travel’
• プレゼント (purezento) – ‘gift’
• 新婚旅行 (shinkon ryokō) – ‘honeymoon’
• 母の日 (Haha no Hi) – ‘Mother’s Day’
June is the start of the rainy season in Japan, which is known as “tsuyu.” It lasts for about a month and a half, and during this time, people tend to stay indoors more. This could be a good opportunity for companies to promote indoor activities or products such as board games, home workout equipment, or streaming services.
Extreme humidity may have a negative effect on the travel industry, as people usually avoid getting on crowded trains and buses.
In literal translation, the 2 characters composing the phrase ‘rainy season’, 梅雨, mean ‘plum rain’. It’s because around this time plum trees start bearing fruit and people prepare things such as ‘umeshu’ (plum wine) and ‘umeboshi’ (pickled plums). Watching the rain drops while sipping on a glass of plum wine is no bad thing.
Additionally, June is a popular month for weddings in Japan, and many companies offer special deals on wedding-related products and services such as bridal gowns, wedding photography, and honeymoon packages. The idea of June being the best month to get married started developing in Japan in the 1950s, when people were exposed to American films like ‘June Bride’, and ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’.
To be a June Bride became a dream for many, and getting married in June is a good luck charm for a long, happy marriage. But there is more – June is a low travel season (due to the weather conditions), so hotels and banquet halls are free from tourists and other celebrations at this time. International travel to exotic wedding locations in Hawaii and Europe can also be less expensive. June is also the month when many flowers bloom in Japan, which means that on a lucky sunny day, couples can take wedding photos in gorgeous natural surroundings.
• 梅雨 (tsuyu) – ‘rainy season’
• インドア (indoa) – ‘indoors’
• 結婚 (kekkon) – ‘wedding’
• 結婚式 (kekkonshiki) – ‘wedding ceremony’
• 日焼け止め (hiyakedome) – ‘sunscreen’
In summary, April, May, and June offer a variety of opportunities for companies to create effective marketing campaigns in Japan. Understanding the cultural context of these months is key to success.
By aligning your campaigns with these events, holidays, and seasons, you can increase the visibility of your products or services and connect with Japanese consumers in a meaningful way.
It’s important to note that Japan is a very seasonally-oriented country. It’s crucial to be aware of the cultural and social sensitivities. Additionally, using Japanese keywords in your advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as in any search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts, can help increase the visibility of your products or services in Japan.
At DMFA, our bilingual team of digital marketing experts is here to help you with creating a perfect marketing calendar
Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help to localise your strategy for the local events and holidays.
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