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Tokyo|Harajuku, Takeshita Street becoming the Second Myeong Dong? Korean Brands Open One After Another

Jul 27, 2018.Anzu OnedaTokyo, JP
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In the early 2000s when the Korean drama, "Winter Sonata" had captured the hearts of many in their 40s and 60s. The significant influence opened up the tourism industry and people flock all over to visit the spot where their favourite scenes were shot. Ever since, Korea became a popular travel destination where the food and beauty culture is more accommodating and familiar to Japanese people; widely because of the very first Korean wave that hit Japan. In the early half of 2010, Millennials (born 1981 - 1995) upon hearing KPOP idols such as Girls Generation and Kara may feel nostalgic. And now, the second wave has arrivedーthe Korean fashion and makeup boom. Born in the era of the super info. highway, the Generation Zs (born 1996-2010) are surrounded by SNS news from all over the world on a daily basis.

The third wave seems to be currently on its way as Korean brands open one after another in Tokyo’s ‘kawaii’ capital, Takeshita Dori in Harajuku. Walking down from the Omotesando road to Takeshita Dori, stores like innisfree or Etude House, restaurants imitating the Korean instagram hood almost seemed as if the place was transforming into the second popular food and shopping district in Seoul, Myeongdong.


Sandwiching the road and facing each other are 「STYLENANDA」and 「ETUDE HOUSE」

The table below shows the Korean brands that opened in recent years.

Looking at the global cosmetic company ranking of individual sales in 2016 in the "Top 20 Global Beauty Companies" by American magazine, Beauty Packaging, Korea’s biggest beauty company, Amore Pacific ranked ninth had an increase of 35% in sales abroad from its previous year. The top in Japan is ranked 6th for Shiseido and Amore Pacific has even exceeded Japan's Kao (10th) and Kosé (20th) showing that its presence has not only been known in Asia but worldwide. L'Oréal which acquired the NANDA company’s original cosmetics brand 3CE (three concept eyes) in May also positions K-Beauty as one big trend.

Beauty Packaging Magazine: Top 20 Global Beauty Companies 2017

In Korea, many companies have a strong awareness of the overseas markets due to the country’s population size and the decrease in domestic consumption in recent years. As a result, the marketing strategies for expanding overseas are high and popularity among K-pop idols including the public and private sectors have been of great success as a national policy for its dissemination abilities in Asia and in the southern hemisphere.
Korean culture has managed to cater almost every age range in Japan, which at this point in time seems like a relatively easy market to access for Korean brands. Takeshita dori which had the main elements to build such a background was probably a savvy choice to set its market targeting the youths within Tokyo’s iconic street.
With that being said, yes, it’s important not to lose our Japonisme ways however, Japanese companies should realize that they need to actively learn and adopt the best marketing practices from other countries in order for the country to expand globally rather than be content with the results in our domestic market.


WEGO now carries Korean cosmetics brand, 「16brand」

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