One of the distinctive features of Japanese culture is the complexity of the Japanese writing system, which includes Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji characters. This character system makes digital marketing in Japan a bit more challenging.
Unlike the Latin alphabet, Japanese uses a combination of three kinds of characters: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. While Hiragana and Katakana are syllabic scripts that originated in Japan, Kanji are complex characters brought from China and then localized and integrated into Japanese. Katakana is often used when writing foreign words. Kanji can have multiple meanings, readings, and sounds making it crucial to choose the right one in marketing content. A minor mistake can change the entire message.
Catering to different contexts and audience
The choice between using Kanji or Hiragana characters can affect the target audience. How these characters are mixed can change the impression when reading the content, and also affect user experience by how clearly the message is delivered. Japanese consumers are sensitive to the visual aspects of marketing content as well, and the aesthetics and balance of characters play a significant role in this. For example, when using too much Kanji, it looks crowded and overwhelming, and using too little makes it look too long and dull, both result in keeping people away from reading the text.
When it comes to SEO, finding the right keywords in Japanese can be tricky due to the multitude of possible Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana combinations for the same meaning. Also, the keywords need to be catered to the language the locals actually use. Though the Japanese language itself is very polite and formal, people don’t necessarily use the “formal” Japanese in daily use, especially when seeking information on the internet.
The unique character system of Japanese writing adds a layer of complexity to digital marketing efforts in Japan. However, with a keen understanding of the language, culture, and nuances, businesses can navigate these challenges successfully. Partnering with native Japanese-speaking professionals or agencies experienced in the Japanese market is inevitable in resonating with the local audience.