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Made in Japan

Eased a visa requirements, many Chinese tourists come to Japanese exclusive markets and seek "Made in Japan" products.
The name of "Made in Japan" seems still a brand.
However, how many people know the name of "Made in Japan" had represented bad quality half a century ago?


In the second half of the twentieth century, Japanese engineers scattered to the "low-labor-cost country" with Japanese machines.
And now, these leaked Japanese technology and machines are shaking Japanese economy.
This is no new phenomenon.
An interest in this problem is that whether able to make products by either equaling or surpassed emade in Japan' quality in those countries or not.


We may hear "Manufacturing technology country, Japan" but the revelation is different.
Or rather, Japan is new-collar country, no longer manufacturing country.
It is only last economic growth arose from manufacturing, nearly bright past glory has wings.
However, is the "made in Japan" so special?
So does "made in somewhere else"(presently making low quality) trace up like "made in Japan" history?
Against becoming worldwide mainstream of standardized production and supply-chain management, how will be a value attendant on a country of origin remained?

Our simple question is the expire date of "made in Japan"(especially sewn products manufacturing) and its position in the world in future.
Generically speaking, the difference among country of origin is the difference of quality; an image from reliance.
What's the image of "made in Japan"?
Perhaps, high-tech? accuracy? or inefficient uncompromising quality?
Whether or not, it holds to uncompromising standards.
As a result "made in Japan" matures into trade guild spirit.


As already mentioned, Japanese major apparel companies tried to the quality of "made in Japan" with local workers.
However, the clothes "made in there" were so bad in those days.
Color fade-out, fray... for the last time they were not last 2 season.
And now are they got better?

Nearly but not quite.
Besides technology upgrade, new concept has been emerged.
It is SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel).
In sum, mass production of simple clothes.

This aspect is similar to "Neon" sent as Japanese car killer from America late 90's.
Since then it is said how to make Japanese car was completely changed.


Quality of clothes itself was certainly progressed but SPA's clothes are cruft as expert observe.
This is not due to technology level, but SPA may be right.


About UNIQLO(Japanese leading SPA), it is said their clothes were more careful made than clothes currently made.
On another front, even a same domestic SPA, MUJI makes a difference by devising cuts in mind human movements or such as attaching a cloth on weak points.
These are genealogy of sensitivity of "made in Japan".

So is the sensitivity remained in the future?
There are people who said sensitivity is aesthetic consciousness.
This is a topic extend to each person's palate.

How's all of the things going on between globalism and localism as return action?
We went to Japanese sewing plants.

This factory makes domestic famous brands' and department stores' clothing.
As comparing a decade ago, designed items and small lot becomes main orders.
If look abroad, Korea has no equal as fast manufacturing.
Today is age of fastness rather than accuracy.

For abroad production bottleneck, some orders return to Japan, but it's very much a situation in which almost orders are at substantially cut-rate prices.

Then "sensitivity of Made in Japan" is a subjective matter for workers individuals.
It would be going to become threadbare through price reduction or delivery deadline imposed.
The sensitivity which must has been handed down may be taken away in a precarious position.


        



There several problems obey negative feelings.
- made in Japan is struggling - really good products are struggling - high priced products have such reasons - customers lost their eyes to distinguish qualities - nobody knows real qualities...

However, as essential, "is there customer out there?"

We must accept Needs or Demands are changing every second by economic circumstances, engineering innovation, and change of life styles.
After decades of behaving differently, Japanese consumers suddenly look a lot like their counterparts in Europe and the United States. Celebrated for their willingness to pay for quality and convenience and usually uninterested in cheaper products, Japanese consumers are now flocking to discount and online retailers. -Why?


The McKinsey Quarterly report attributes three factors: economic down turn, domestic regulatory action and a generational gap in mindsets.

While value-seeking and bulk spending habits both have implications for brands, I see the shift in the 20-something Japanese shopping mindset as having the potential to change the landscape of the country's retail market on a much more permanent level. Considering this tidal change, marketers will be challenged to evolve with a new set of consumer needs, expectations and behaviors. This younger generation has continued to rebel from the tradition of "salaryman" corporate life and questioned the importance previous generations placed on material possessions. Where brands once were able to rely solely on a name to drive demand and purchase, marketers for the first time are now struggling to find news ways to deliver relevance ? to both attitudes and behaviors.



One thing is certain: the world's second-largest consumer market is changing as Japanese consumers increasingly resemble their Western peers. For Western companies that have long regarded selling in Japan as not only different but also difficult, this may be welcome news indeed.





They are compositive reasons but because of grobalization and its equalization which makes most old-fashioned wisdom and evaporate knowledge and experiences until now.
When we see history, this kind of crisis was in Manchester in Britain a century ago.
Afterwards, the fiber industry was moved on Japan.

Manchester Spinners' Association reported in "Cotton industry of Japan & China" what the reason for the competitive edge of Japan was not labor exploitation and the dumping but technology.

It was the biggest factor in the downfall of Manchester.
Currently Manchester is rebuild as academic city, and some fashion groups are seen here as a wisp of the fiber industries.
At that time, it became a reason the height of the technology accompanied rationalization.
At the present age, what is the reason?

The answer has been implied.


The present cost percentage of the domestic production has the difference twice or more compared with main current Mfg in the world.
Between the globalism and localism the worldwide mainstream of the production system and the supply chain management progress outside of this domestic industry.
Value that accompanies the country of origin becomes not important as long as a worldwide market where a price appeal and uniform commodity expands.
Of course, domestic parties interested seem like just waiting to settle down the worldwide earthquake though it arises the products specialized in the country of origin in the reactionary.
As the fact, we can't estimate how long several closing plants can expect to survive and what would be the reason of survived.


In general, a quality of "Made in Somewhere" rises to the level needed by the market.
Then, the quality of Made in Japan might become a surplus in some ways.
It is expressible as so-called "over specs".
And only when it accompanies the status, it keeps being supplied to the particular market.

In addition, the sensibility entrusted individuals might survive only in the environment where was able to survive.
This implies that Made in Japan might remain as "artisan skill" or "craftwork" rather than the reputation as high quality.
For instance, like the branding like "Made in Kyoto", is Japanese local industry promoted instead of "made in Japan"?
The selection may be advanced until this level.

Of course, though the quality level in the global market raises the level of Made in Japan, a mostly different sensibility is often needed at that time.
In addition, a global abolition of tariffs like TPP and a local industry protection policy will be seen as an external factor in the future.
Even if this status is emerged, still remained products, skills and quality are the next generation's Made in Japan.


The future is not one-dimensional but a welter of various elements.
Although the industry declines obviously, small new opportunities will be found.
It is two foresights here.

This kind of Japanese industry will certainly break down.
Even though the market of "Made in Japan" would be survived, its denominator will be small, and Japanese factories will only remain with their characteristics.

Secondly, it is lack of support circulation.
It is disconnect between supplies and needs.
For example, if made high quality and careful clothes, still Made in Japan is interesting.
It is hardly unexpected the markets where need Made in Japan and its emergence in world.
The system that connects them is needed immediately.
It is late that taking action after needs emerged.
There is no business developed after necessary infrastructures provided.
What is needed is a system.


However, this kind of unestimatable story tends to be ignored.
On the another front Japanese government doesn't know how should do and wasting million dollar subsidy.
Obviously Japanese industry of this kind will head for decline but the government doesn't possess a vision that lies ahead.
Japanese Sewing Plant
http://www.basil.co.jp/(JP)
http://www.kuriyama-sewing.co.jp/pc/(JP)
http://www.marey.jp/english.html

http://www.meti.go.jp/press/20100426003/20100426003-4.pdf
http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/The_new_Japanese_consumer_2548
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