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History of Japanese Marketing – Edo Period

Japanese marketing history – when did it begin and were there influencers 400 years ago?


Close your eyes and imagine we went back in time to the 17th century in Japan. We are walking through the streets of Edo, the sun is shining. There are artists around working on their beautiful pieces. You can hear people enjoying a kabuki play in the distance. Life is good…

Suddenly, your eyes rest upon this gorgeous woodblock that pictures women dressed in the most intricate, beautiful kimono of the latest design. You look and look and look and feel that you have to go speak with the merchants and purchase one for yourself! Yes, what you have seen was an example of 17th century fashion advertising!

Beginnings of marketing in Japan

The Edo period (江戸時代, Edo jidai) or Tokugawa period (徳川時代, Tokugawa jidai) is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Emerging from the chaos of the civil war, the Edo period was a time of economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, perpetual peace, and popular enjoyment of arts and culture.

Many historians say that Edo period is when the Japanese marketing history began. Let’s have a look at just few of the strategies local merchants and shopkeepers used to attract the people of Edo into their stores.


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