Monthly information magazine Nikkei Trendy released its top products and services ranking for 2015 on the 3rd of November. The ranking chart which was created since the magazine was launched in 1987, presents a list of 30 top products and services released from October in the previous year to September in the current year judged on three aspects – sales trends, novelty and influence.
Here’s a feature on the top 3 items this year:
The Hokuriku Shinkansen line opened to much fanfare on 14 March this year. It is an extension of the existing Nagano Shinkansen line opened in October 1997 for the Nagano Winter Olympics. There will be a further extension to Fukui and Tsuruga from Kanazawa that is expected to be ready by 2022.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen allows easy access from Tokyo to Kanazawa and Toyama within 2.5 hours on its fastest trains thus making it much easier for tourists in the Kanto region to visit the area compared to the past. It is said that the percentage of visitors from Kanto is about the same or has exceeded that of the Kansai region. Correspondingly, the higher number of travelers has also led to more tourist numbers and spending in Kanazawa which is the last station.
“Hibana” is a novel written by comedian Matayoshi Naoki who is part of the comedic duo Peace. The novel was one of the nominees for the 28th Mishima Yukio Award and won the 153rd Akutagawa Ryunosuke Award, a prestigious literature award for new writers. The book also holds the title of the number 1 pure literary work to have achieved total sales of 2 million copies in the fastest time in the last 10 years. A movie based on the novel will also be made and broadcast exclusively on Netflix next year.
The story focuses on an unpopular comedian named Tokunaga who happens to meet his senior, Kamiya, at a fireworks festival in Atami. When Tokunaga asks Kamiya to be his mentor, Kamiya sets the condition that he will do so only if Tokunaga writes his autobiography. As Tokunaga gets to know his senior who is a genius and so charming that he attracts many people around him, Kamiya also opens up to him and teaches him the tricks to becoming a good comedian.
Inbound spending refers to the amount of money which foreign tourists spend in Japan during their trips including accommodation, food, drinks, and souvenirs. Due to the increased number of foreign tourists (especially from Asia) since 2014 as a result of the weakened yen and waiver of visa requirements, this has led to an increase in the amount of inbound spending in various sectors. The Japan National Tourist Organisation announced on August 19th that in the first 7 months of 2015, the number of tourists increased by 47% to 11.05 million compared to the same period last year. In 2014, it took 10 months before the 10 million visitors mark was broken. The top five countries with the most tourists to Japan this year are China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States. However, there is rising concern that the amount of inbound spending may not be sustainable if uncertain economic conditions in China continue to prevail since the Chinese tourists account for a huge share of the tourist spending. In addition, there is a need to continue attracting tourists to visit Japan even if the yen becomes stronger in future.