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Japan's Sensual Culture Contributes to Success of Products!

By Boye De Mente : A how to tutorial about Japan s Sensual Culture, Sexuality in Japan, Japan s sexy products, Product Reviews with step by step guide from Boye De Mente.

Japan’s Sensual "Touchy-Feely" Boom!
Boyé Lafayette De Mente

Japan’ traditional culture is unique in many ways that have contributed enormously to the success of the country as a manufacturing and exporting powerhouse…ways not based on the ability of post-shogunate era Japanese to copy Western products and produce them at low prices—a practice imposed on them by Western importers in the 1880s and from which they could not escape until the 1960s.

One of the most important aspects of Japan’s traditional culture is the deep-seated principle of kaizen [kigh-zen] or “continuous improvement”—that is to never stop trying to improve on the quality and functionality of whatever it was they are making or constructing, with the price secondary.

This principle grew out of the master-apprentice approach that was well-entrenched in the arts and crafts industries by 800 A.D. For generation after generation apprentices were expected and encouraged to surpass their masters in whatever they produced. By 1,000 A.D. this tradition resulted in all of the arts and crafts created in the country achieving the level of quality associated with fine arts.

Another factor in the subsequent economic success of Japan was their right-brain orientation that resulted in them automatically giving as much thought and effort to the sensual aspects of their arts and crafts as they did to their functionality.

These sensual qualities included not only the harmony of the basic design, form and color of things but also the importance of revealing the essence of the material the things were made of—clay, iron, or wood, etc. Wood, with all of its colors, grains and textures, especially lent itself to this practice.

The sensual qualities Japanese artists and craftsmen aim to reveal and extol in the things they make include how things felt when touched—another response to their right-brain orientation that the physical sensations imparted by an art or craft are as important as its function.

This factor in Japanese culture is one of the reasons why Western visitors to Japan [the first in the 1543] were enthralled by the appearance and quality of such mundane products as kitchen utensils and dining ware, and why present-day visitors are also attracted to traditional Japanese things.

Japanese designers and manufacturers have been incorporating these sensual elements into most of the Western-style products they make for both domestic and foreign markets since the 1960s but there was a remarkable resurgence of the “touchy-feely” factor between 2005 and 2010, when a wide range of products began showing up on the market and creating a major marketing stir.

One of the more unusual of these products is a variety of bath towels that come in eight grades of hardness to the touch because different people prefer different feels. The hardest of the eight grades of feeling is called mohaya gori gori [moh-hah-yah go-ree go-ree] or ultimate rock hard. The seventh grade is called shibireru hardkan [she-be-ray-rue hard-kahn], or sensationally hard.

The different degrees of hardness of the towels is achieved by mixing a variety of fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen and nylon, with different knitting styles—something only the Japanese would think of and actually do.

Other new products designed to meet the touch requirement: a soft drink can that feels like rough wrapping paper, iPhone cases made of smooth buckskin [and cost $138.00!], decorating pens that have a 3-D feel, and plastic car door handles that feel like human skin.

Not at all surprising for Japan, Associate Professor Hiroyuki Kajimoto of the University of Electro Communications has an answer for all this touchy-feely stuff. He says it adds to the feeling that the articles are genuine high quality things.
Boyé Lafayette De Mente is the author of 60-plus cultural-insight books on China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the U.S. His latest book: THE ORIGINS OF HUMAN VIOLENCE—Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions & Willful Stupidity! All of his titles are available from Other recent titles include: AMAZING JAPAN – Why Japan is One of the World’s Most Intriguing Countries!; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS – Their Spiritual Way of Life & Their Incredible Prophecies!’ AMAZING JAPAN – The Wonderful, the Wild & the Weird!

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