Copywriting, SEO, and Sales & Marketing Content in Japan – Key Industries and Issues
Japan is a highly developed economy with major multinational companies in every sector you can think of. Yet small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, or chuushokigyou) are the heart of the economy.
Japan is an industrious country!
Until the “lost decade” of the 1990s, Japanese companies could rely on a robust local economy to support them. Overseas business was generally limited to MNCs and to various specialized companies.
The modern, globalized economy has changed that. The weaker yen, dormant economy, aging and declining population, and other factors are behind this. Now Japan also has a new wave of younger, more-entrepreneurial minds aiming at the global market.
That means English communication is more necessary than ever.
However, many Japanese people and companies struggle with this. Moreover, Japanese companies tend to rely on referrals, brand status, and trust-based relationships in doing business. This slows them down and restricts their chances.
It also creates unnatural marketing, which starts with unnatural or unsuitable English.
When Japanese companies try to work in English, especially SMEs and startups, some of the main problems are:
- Poor English quality because of poor translation, lack of original English copywriting, and lack of understanding of English tone
- Copying Japanese design in sales and marketing materials, including websites
- Using a rigid format that Japanese like, but many English speaker find cold; such as a stiff message from the company CEO and highly impersonal language
- Not showing value propositions or USPs because they are too indirect or humble
- Using Asian fonts when writing in English
These are issues that can all be corrected with professional marketing, copywriting, translation, and editing. Typically, native English speakers are needed for this.
So why does this right, highly educated, and innovative country continue to struggle with English branding, marketing, and even with basic English communication.
After 15+ years living here, I believe the main reasons are:
- Over-reliance on referrals, recommendations from inner circle, big-name companies, friends of friends
- A combination of pride, shame, and modesty
- Reluctance to listen to non-Japanese ideas at an equal and serious level
- Simple lack of awareness of the impact of English language
- Lack of competitive fire, seeking the status quo instead of winning
These are not character judgements and they are not blame. They are what I have seen through working in Japanese companies, and with government and academia in Japan, and being a proficient Japanese speaker.
All of these can change.
To start, it means reaching out. That’s what I’m here for.
The main services I can help you with are:
- Original SEO copywriting for your website
- Translation-based copywriting
- Making an English version of a Japanese site (not recommended, but sometimes OK depending on the design)
- Original or edited marketing and sales text
- Certified editing of your current English website and other customer-facing materials
I provide free advice, consultation, help on finding not just ways to present good English, but also to change corporate culture. This view is because I’ve studied both business and poverty. I’ve seen fighting passion from very poor people, and I’ve seen laziness from comfortable people.
Simply, I can provide excellent copywriting, editing, and digital content planning in Japan and for Japanese business and entrepreneurs. That’s a good start and I don’t judge you. I’m on your team.
Whether you’re in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, or anywhere in Japan, let’s win together. Contact me.