Terrie's Take 987 - The Unlikely Survival of Print - Just Not for Media, e-Biz News from Japan
terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
Tue Apr 9 10:13:34 JST 2019
* * * * * * * * * TERRIE'S TAKE - BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd, a long-term
technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.
General Edition Tuesday, Apr 09, 2019, Issue No. 987
- What's New -- The Unlikely Survival of Print - Just Not for Media
- News -- Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption
- Events -- New "Friends of Carlos Ghosn" group
- Corrections/Feedback -- Reader's trip to Fukushima disaster area
- Travel Picks -- Benten Temple in Chiba, TeNQ Space Museum in Tokyo
- News Credits
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+++ The Unlikely Survival of Print - Just Not for Media
Over the last few decades, the world has seen the extinction of many
professional job roles. Gone are road toll collectors, telephone operators,
typesetters, even gas meter readers - as technology automates and sweeps
over our lives. One sector in particular that has been hard hit and many
have predicted will disappear all together is the printing industry - a
sector worth about JPY1.36trn (and still slowly rising) in Japan. We (your
humble writers) are deeply embedded in digital, but we still love the smell
and feel of printed material, and we often think about what the direction
of the print sector will be in the future.
What we already know is that the print industry has lost the war as a
medium for conveying mass media. Printed newspapers and magazines around
the world are disappearing, including here in Japan, as it becomes more and
more difficult for print publishers to compete with the response levels and
measurement capabilities of digital. Think about it. The more successful
you are as a digital media company by going "viral", the more reach you
have at very little additional cost. With paper, having the same viral
effect may in fact kill the company with the incremental costs that the
extra paper and distribution entail.
And yet, there are still people who will pay for print. Some of these last
bastions in Japan are students (surprisingly, more later), old people, and
most importantly for the future of the medium, marketers targeting
consumers with short attention-getting messages.
Students have been proven in studies to do better when their text books are
studied in print. According to the Scientific American this is partly
attributed to books being a "3-dimensional" [Ed: our term] medium and when
students read texts they have better recall of prior material through the
tactile experience of page turning, subconsciously remembering where in the
depth of the book they read it. This use of spatial and motor memory gives
rise to the idea that a book is like a topographical map - with multiple
senses stimulating one's memory.
There has also been work done on the direct comparison of learning new
material on digital devices versus paper. Studies show that scrolling on a
digital device disorients the spatial memorization of facts, due to there
being no physical reference, and when given time to study a new subject,
students scored 10% higher with paper versus a digital device.
If you're a B2C marketer, this is very interesting, and in fact according
to a study by Canada Post several years ago, the same cognitive effort
needed to absorb new information from a digital device led researchers to
declare that printed direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort, and
that recall rates for printed direct mail are about 75% versus 44% for
digital ads. Further, a study at the Temple University in India found that
print plays a bigger role in stimulating the ventral striatum area of the
brain than digital. This is the part of the brain that is supposed to
indicate desire and self-valuation.
The second audience we mentioned is old people. We assume this audience
likes print because it's familiar, and particularly this applies to
newspapers. And Japan is very much the land of old people and newspapers.
[Article continues below...]
------ Terrie's Slow-Poke Cycling Tour - Kyushu -------
Last Call for this cycling trip.
Last year we threatened to run a cycling tour for readers, but got too busy
to actually do it. So this year we're making amends. The first tour, which
will happen in the third or fourth week of April (just before Golden Week)
will be a 5-6 day ride in Kyushu - most likely in the Nagasaki region. This
tour, and a Hokkaido tour in late August or early September, will have a
1. The tours are potluck, not professionally run. No complaining. Jokes and
helping each other out are mandatory.
2. There will be no support cars or spare bikes or guides. Instead, we use
Google maps and take the most scenic routes to arrive at our hotels each
3. Our bags will be relayed by couriers so you can ride light. Yes, we will
have inner tubes and other basic spare parts.
4. Terrie is a slow poke, so while we will indeed be covering 80km-100km a
day, it will take 6+ hours each day, with plenty of time for lunch, photos,
5. No hill climbing! Terrie is allergic to tall mountains.
6. Although the rides will run 5-6 days, people wanting to cut out at 3
days will be able to do so.
7. Our bikes will go with us on the Shinkansen. Terrie can show you how to
prepare and break your's down for simple transport.
8. If you don't have a road bike, you can rent one at
https://www.gsastuto.com/. [Excellent supplier, great prices.]
9. Anyone over 16, any gender, welcome.
10. There will be a JPY20,000 organizing fee per rider.
11. Other costs will all be at cost. Usually this works out to about
JPY13,000/day plus Shinkansen tickets.
If you're interested in a long, slow, fun, potluck cycling tour in Japan,
contact Terrie today and he will work with you and the rest of the group to
set the final dates and routes.
For more information, email: terrie.lloyd at japantravel.com
In fact, the number of newspaper readers in Japan is by far the highest in
the world, although it's slowly falling. In 2018 the number of Japanese
using digital devices to get their news exceeded those getting it from
print for the first time. A Nikkei random 5,000-person poll in 2008 found
that 90% of consumers were getting their news from print, whereas last
year, 2018, the number was just 68.5%. Interestingly, although the number
of readers went down, the percentage of people stating printed news was
more credible went up, to 68.7%.
In case you're wondering, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations
(ABC) in 20187, the top newspaper in world is still the mildly right wing
Yomiuri, followed by the equally mildly left wing Asahi.
Yomiuri: Morning - 8,732,514, Evening - 2,534,292
Asahi: Morning - 6,113,315, Evening - 1,892,138
Nikkei: Morning - 2,625,471, Evening - 1,245,456
But even among these top 3, the mighty Yomiuri has seen its combined
readership drop 20% from 14,323,781 people in 2002 to 11,266,806 today.
OK, so we're not breaking any news here by telling you that print is
declining. Why this article?
What we believe is that while print media has fallen off a cliff, the
printing industry may nonetheless be saved by the physicality of our own
bodies. Cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University says that,
the skill of reading is one in which, "the brain improvises a brand-new
circuit (from childhood) by weaving together various regions of neural
tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language, motor
coordination and vision". This motor coordination aspect of reading is
accentuated by print and it's the edge that allows marketers to more
effectively attract the attention of random passersby. Unlike an ad on your
cell phone, a brochure or even a packet of pocket tissue thrust in your
hand provides enough physical interruption to create an automatic (and
subconscious) need to focus on the media and either accept or reject the
object and information in front of you. This physicality, as the studies
show, is more memorable. Of course Japanese signage, flyer, and pocket
tissue marketers have known this for ages, and the formats, designs, and
colors they use are great examples of how to get attention.
Then there is the matter of standing out from marketing "noise". With
digital advertising there is a tremendous amount of commercial competition
for a tiny piece of viewable real estate on a potential customer's cell
phone screen. As a result, unless you have an incredibly niche product,
only by appearing on the biggest sites will get you daily and hourly love.
Remember that 90% of Japanese web users still access Yahoo via their cell
phones every day - so most corporate marketing budgets go there or to
Google and Line/Facebook. If you're a small business and you want digital
attention, the costs may simply be out of reach and furthermore much of
your precious budget is being wasted on readers physically far from where
you actually sell your goods. So what is a small B2C marketer to do?
So we ran a little hypothetical case study of a restaurant in Harajuku
trying to reach customers among 1,000 people. Here's what we came up with:
OK, let's print off 1,000 flyers at 15,000 yen, then hire a student at
JPY1k/hr to distribute the flyers to foreign tourists for 2 days =
JPY16,000. Your incentive is to give a flyer with a coupon offering a 10%
discount - hardly an issue for most restaurants. With a total investment of
JPY31,000, your likely yield with strangers accepting printed flyers is
about 20%, with a conversion rate of perhaps 1%-2%, giving you 2-4
customers at an acquisition cost is JPY8,000-JPY16,000/person. Negatives of
this approach are that not everyone receiving the flyer is hungry, and not
everyone will like your menu. That's why the conversion rate is low.
Here we start off with 1,000 hungry people (otherwise they wouldn't be
searching online) who have 100 cuisine preferences - there are over 30
Japanese cuisine types alone. In fact, there are 162,000 restaurants in
Tokyo and while Trip Advisor shows just 200 in Harajuku, Yelp shows 2,649
in the same location, so probably it's safe to say there are at least 1,000
restaurants in Harajuku. This means that you might get 1 person per
restaurant from them finding that restaurant by search. OK, so free
listings online are not enough.
Instead, to increase your chances of landing a customer, you need to run
Google ads, at say, JPY200/click. Now you still have 10 competing
restaurants in your cuisine class, and at JPY200/click x 1,000 visits to
get 10 guests - assuming that you get a 100% conversion rate - which works
out to be JPY20,000/person.
So in the case of the restaurant targeting a local area, it may actually be
cheaper to do print.
Another and perhaps more compelling example is at a trade show. In this
case, all the attendees in your area of the hall are already
self-selecting, or they wouldn't be there. So the issue is not in
separating out interested visitors, but rather how you can breach their
boredom threshold and leave an actionable memory. Most trade show visitors
glaze over after the first hour and are probably thinking about having a
beer for lunch by the time they pass your booth. This is where physical
media, something you can't easily ignore, coupled with creativity, can
really penetrate. For example, exhibitors at Japanese trade shows in summer
give out printed fans. These are cheap to print and yet hugely popular, and
of course guests are waving them in front of both their and everyone else's
noses as they walk along. Talk about great exposure.
Much the same way, in western trade shows (and supermarkets), the go-to
print product is jute cloth bags that the customer can recycle and reuse
later, even when it has your logo written on it. If you make that logo
sound exotic, as in supporting a cause or coming from a foreign country or
prestigious institution, you will have an higher chance of the recipient
continuing to use the bag. Japan is probably still about 5-10 years ago
from banning the use of plastic bags in its supermarkets and thus the
appearance of jute reusable shopping bags is delayed, but the time is
coming. In fact, for a hint of the future, just go down to Ginza and
witness all the little old ladies proudly strolling around with their real
(or fake) green Harrod's reusable vinyl shopping bags.
As these examples show, probably the real potential of print in the future
will be to create functional products that physically but not intrusively
invade the bubble of the consumer.
...The information janitors/
------ German-speaking Travel Consultant Internship -------
Japan Travel KK (www.japantravel.com) is experiencing strong growth of its
German desk for inbound travelers to Japan, and we are looking for a
German-English speaking intern to join the team, with a view of
transitioning to a full-time position and work visa in Japan. The
internship will be for a minimum 3 months and a maximum of 6 months, after
which there will be a management and peer review. You can be either a
student who needs to do an internship to meet academic course requirements,
or you can be a person in the workforce thinking to reset your life and
location. Apart from German you should be able to speak basic English
and/or Japanese (either is OK).
The type of work you'll be doing is assisting German customers wanting to
plan trips to Japan. This would include the following:
* Responding to incoming leads and conversing (usually email/chat) with
* Researching accommodation, transport, activities, diet
preferences/availability, entertainment, guides, and other things that
* Using our quotation and itinerary systems to produce the customer
* Interacting with customers and consulting them on choices and areas of
* Translation of content about destinations
* Writing original content (articles) about destinations and activities
* Assisting us with German social media
For more details: jerome.lee at japantravel.com
- Time for dinner Lulu, not you Fifi
- Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption
- Liquid is first Japanese crypto unicorn
- Uh-oh, wages fell last month
- Personal information law about to change?
=> Time for dinner Lulu, not you Fifi
Got two or more cats? Well now it seems that there is scientific proof that
they (kind of) recognize their names, even if they are still fighting over
the left-over salmon. A Japanese research team at Sophia University has run
experiments showing that regular house cats react when their names are
called, even if it's by other people, and can distinguish those names from
other words of similar length and phonics. In contrast, though, highly
socialized cats such as at cat cafes are not so discriminating and pay no
attention. ***Ed: Cute article, but sorry to tell you that the reality is
that your favorite feline doesn't actually recognize their name as a name.
Instead, the study shows that cats learn to associate a particular word or
words with rewards and regular events (a bath, for example). Needless to
say, the one consistent word you use every time you talk to your puss - is
their name.** (Source: TT commentary from japantimes.co.jp, Apr 06, 2019)
=> Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption
Nice potted account from Fortune about the Mt. Gox affair and who really
stole the money. After being villainized and jailed for months in 2014, and
probably unemployable here in Japan for many years to come, Mark Karpeles,
the CEO of the Mt. Gox crypto exchange, has had some recent redemption that
is only just now coming to light. It seems there really was an outsider in
the online heist of US$473m worth of Bitcoins. The arrest last year in
Greece and recent arraignment in the USA of Alexander Vinnik, a 38-year old
Russian IT specialist, identifies him as the thief. Vinnik has now been
charged by U.S. federal prosecutors with laundering 530,000 of the stolen
Mt. Gox coins. ***Ed: This is real egg on the face of the Japanese police
and prosecutors office who tried so hard to break Karpeles duing his months
of detention and jail. Coming on top of the Carlos Ghosn case, it would
seem that the Japanese legal system is being exposed as harsh, one-sided,
and ignoring human rights of people it has decided are guilty. Of course,
as a face-saving measure, they did pin another charge on him, and he's
appealing that one as well.** (Source: TT commentary from fortune.com, Apr
=> Liquid is first Japanese crypto unicorn
A small JPY1bn investment by IDG Capital as the lead on Liquid's Series C
values the crypto trading company at more than JPY1trn. Other firms are
expected to join the round. This is good news for the Series B investors
(JAFCO, SBI, and others), who plopped down JPY2.2bn late last year. Liquid
is a subsidiary of Quoine, also based in Japan, and is licenced to operate
here by the FSA. The company has had an interesting capitalization ride,
including the raising of JPY10bn by issuing an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
round that was blessed by the FSA. ***Ed: Clearly some very financially
savvy folks running Liquid (founders are ex-Softbank and Credit Suisse) -
especially given that it has sold very little of its equity and yet has
managed such a humongous valuation. The ICO in particular is a smart move,
and came before such funding methods fell out of favor.** (Source: TT
commentary from cointelegraph.com, Apr 03, 2019)
http://bit.ly/2YUUxyk [Quoine website - interesting]
=> Uh-oh, wages fell last month
Maybe the statistics are wrong, or maybe it's a one-off, but the consumer
data coming out from the government on Friday indicate that
inflation-adjusted real wages fell in February, when compared to the same
month last year. Real wages were down 1.1%, the biggest drop since June
2015. The biggest contributor to the fall in income was the cutting of
annual bonuses at many companies (the survey covers 33,000 companies, so
it's pretty complete). ***Ed: This blows a hole in Abe's claims that
incomes are trending up, and instead points to the fact that many domestic
companies are still under significant financial pressure.** (Source: TT
commentary from reuters.com, Apr 05, 2019)
=> Personal information law about to change?
In a move that will make it much harder for B2C companies to manage their
client data, discussions are apparently underway to give individuals the
right to demand companies to stop using their personal data. The current
law allows individuals to demand their data to be deleted only if they can
prove that the information was improperly obtained or is being misused -
both virtually impossible to prove if the company knows what it's doing.
The new standard being considered will allow consumers to simply contact a
company and require them to remove their personal information. ***Ed: It
appears that Japan is following the Europeans with their General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, which is interesting, because after this
first step forward, it is easy to see other aspects of recent EU lawmaking
about personal privacy coming into play as well.** (Source: TT commentary
from asia.nikkei.com, Apr 03, 2019)
NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days of
posting them, thus breaking our links -- we apologize for the inconvenience.
+++ UPCOMING EVENTS
=> A group of concerned citizens from the international community has
formed a support group called the "Friends of Carlos Ghosn". The group
points out that Ghosn was a member of TAC and his children grew up in
Japan. With the seemingly arbitrary nature of the Japanese legal system,
what has happened to him could happen to anyone in the community. So if you
would like to help, please contact housinginjapan at yahoo.com for more
--------- Japan Travel Corporate Travel Services ----------
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We are highly motivated and are happy to work in a variety of roles
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For corporate travel assistance, contact us at: tours at japantravel.com.
Or visit our pages at: http://japantravel.co.jp/en/about/travel-agency/
=> In TT-983 we wrote about the Fukushima Daiichi powerplant aftermath and
what the true cost is likely to be. At the end of the article we shared
that we had traveled to view the plant and were taken inside the current
exclusion zone. A reader kindly shares his own experience in the area.
***Reader says: My trip to Fukushima was as expected, an eye opener. On
December 16th I boarded a bus with 37 people for an all-day tour of the
area affected by the 3/11/11 earthquake, tsunami, and powerplant meltdown.
The group consisted of a PHD student in Disaster Recovery; a German who
wanted to know if his country had overreacted by shutting down all nuclear
plants; a Russian from an island north of Hokkaido, where the residents are
wondering if radiation from Japan will affect them; an environmental
scientist, who was interested in how the recovery had progressed; a post
disaster discourse artist; and a large group of international exchange
students. Besides the coordinators there were only two other Japanese in
the group, an MD from Tokyo and a tourism lady whose husband was on the
management team for reconstruction. Each attendee had their reasons for
taking this tour. As for myself, I wanted to see first hand how much
progress was made over the past seven years and to meet a few of the
Several of us were issued hand-held Geiger counters to track radiation
throughout our tour route, and I can say that all but one No-Go zone
indicated normal radiation ranges for daily life. We managed to get within
6 kilometers of the TEPCO plant.
Fukushima is the fourth largest prefecture in Japan. The area covered by
the disaster only makes up 2.7% of the prefecture. The guides, one of whom
who was from Fukushima wanted to show us how safe it is even near the No-Go
zones. This part of Japan still suffers the stigma of the disaster. Farmers
who have perfectly safe crops cannot sell them because of the overall fear
of contamination. As part of the clean-up, 50 centimeters of top soil have
been removed and placed in secure bags for storage.
Along the major highways within the prefecture are digital signs showing
the current radiation count. Our tour locations included Namie, Futaba, and
Tomioka. Each town had partially reopened for residents, but with large
sections that will never be livable again. The pre-disaster populations
ranged from 21,000 to 8,000 and now after reopening can only muster about
800 per town, which are mainly made up of the elderly.
Even With all the government assistance, this area has huge challenges
ahead to make a comeback. After seven years the area is still struggling
and most likely will continue to do so. In my opinion there are three
reasons that stand out. Firstly, the young people moved to other areas of
Japan after evacuation and have no incentive to come back. Secondly, once
the major towns started opening up, real estate taxes were also back,
forcing former residents to pay for an unlivable house. What I observed in
all neighborhoods were empty lots because the residents had their homes
demolished to avoid the taxes - especially if they had no intention of
resettling. Thirdly, no matter how safe it really is, the continuous
negative press, whether true or not, has former residents very concerned
about their personal health.
We were able to meet some residents, one an anti-government activist who
refused to kill off his cattle when ordered to do so days after the reactor
meltdown. He maintains around 300 head that cannot be sold, and he survives
through charitable gifts. A large pineapple canning company sends him the
skins they do not use in their process, for feed. He proudly calls the cows
his pineapple cattle. The mixture of the pineapple and cow dung makes for a
very strong nasty smell...!
The second person was a lady who lost everything even though her home and
business were declared safe to return. Her family operated a large jewelry
store and after evacuation, when supposedly no one was permitted in the
area, robbers took every valuable they owned. She gave us a passionate tour
of the various neighborhoods of the once very vibrant Tomioka, explaining
the government’s revitalization plans. What I saw were several brand new
structures that will take years to be occupied if at all. Another resident
stopped some people from our group and was eager to tell his story. He had
only just returned to check out his large bonsai collection, which was
completely destroyed, and was heading for a town meeting to determine if a
major lawsuit should proceed.
In summary, the effects of 3/11 live on and despite the massive amounts of
money being poured into the area, along with government good intentions, it
will take a miracle for this area to ever recover to what it once was.
+++ TRAVEL DESTINATIONS PICKS
=> Fuse Benten Temple, Chiba
Flow and beauty at a goddess’ temple
Perhaps you have visited the Bentendo at Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, or
Enoshima, the island in Kanagawa Prefecture dedicated to Benzaiten. Fuse
Benten, also known as Tokaiji Temple, is one more Benzaiten temple to see
This temple, properly called Koryuzan Fuse Benten Tokai-ji, is popularly
known as Fuse Benten. It is celebrated as one of the Kanto Three Benzaiten
temples. It is said that the Buddhist scholar Kukai was ordered by the
emperor in 807 to build a temple on this site. At this Shingon Buddhist
sect temple, Benzaiten, the only female member of the Seven Gods of Good
Fortune, is enshrined. She is the personification of the flow of water and
words. Fuse Benten is a popular pilgrim destination in spring when visitors
can see cherry trees laden with blossoms, and as a place to welcome the new
year. Make a day trip of your visit by strolling through Akebonoyama
=> TeNQ Space Museum, Tokyo
Launch into space at Tokyo Dome City
TeNQ Space Museum, located within Tokyo Dome City, offers a range of
experiences from educational to interactive and also visually arresting
spectacles. With a total of nine distinct space-themed areas, there is
plenty to explore. Step into the museum and be amazed by an introductory
space show, telling a story of how science has progressed thus far with
space exploration being the next stage. Beamed onto a multi-dimensional
wall of large square tiles, the Starting Room’s 3D projection-mapping movie
is resplendent and eye-catching.
Around the corner, get ready to be floored as you huddle around Theater
Sora, an 11-meter wide screen beneath the floor that almost resembles a
spaceship’s observation deck. Gain a new perspective on space from above
thanks to the ultra sharp 4K resolution movie that explores the solar
system and beyond, which also includes actual video of Earth as shot from
the ISS (International Space Station).
SUBSCRIBERS: 6,071 members as of April 9, 2019 (We purge our list
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Terrie Lloyd (terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com)
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