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Tokyo: Baby Boomer Trendsetter

Tokyo: Baby Boomer Trendsetter
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Jason Tan
  • 10 december 2008

Tokyo has always been the cool trendsetter of our global high school. And even as the city ages with the rest of Japan (20% of the population aged 65 or older), Tokyo is proving once again to be a beacon for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of the best, newest, products on the market. The Baby Boom generation – with their collective wealth and supposed lifelong sense of entitlement (i.e. tendency to spend) – is an especially attractive demographic to brands and marketers. The latest issue of Monocle discusses how industries all over Tokyo – from travel agencies to toymakers – have been shifting their product development and communication strategies to cater to Japanese boomers. The architectural landscape is being reshaped as well. Hospitals, communal baths and minimalist design-conscious residential spaces are being merged together into so-called Hospitalment complexes.

Tokyo’s population has always been conveniently geographical segmented with its neatly divided, culturally distinct districts (every train stop feels like a different level in a video game). Shibuya and Harajuku have had most of the spotlight because of their status as youthful pop culture playgrounds. Inevitably though, more focus will be placed on senior citizen central, Sugamo, which is also known as “Obasan No Harajuku” (literally, “Old Ladies Harajuku”). Old Harajuku is becoming the new Harajuku.

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