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Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Fukushima certainly hit the economy in northeast Japan, Kanto region, and other surrounding areas.  Companies in other parts of Japan were badly hit because many production lines were based in northeast Japan and blackouts and power shortages created untold problems.

Of course during the devastating events of March 11 and the following days all emphasis was on the tragic death toll and trying to find people who were covered by the mass of debris. 

The radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also created panic and many foreign nationals, companies, embassies, and so forth; relocated or left temporarily because of the fear factor and mass uncertainty which was generated by the nuclear issue.

Several months later and the nuclear crisis is still ongoing in Fukushima but at a much lower level because of containment policies. Therefore, the fear factor in Tokyo appears to be over and embassies which were closed have re-opened and normality is returning to most sectors.

Obviously, the situation in northeast Japan remains problematic because while the economic recovery is starting to impact on areas hit the most it will still take a long time to readjust.  Also, certain sectors, like the fisheries, remain to be hit hard and the nuclear issue in Fukushima will continue to hinder this sector and the same applies to areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

However, turning back to Tokyo then it is clear that this city is in full swing and the fashion sector is starting to pick up again. 

In late 2010 the economy of Japan was starting to show signs of a recovery and this was maintained in the first few months of 2011.  Therefore, strong sales in December, 2010, were announced at many luxury retailers throughout Tokyo and the fashion sector on a whole was optimistic about a positive 2011.

This was all cut short by the devastating events of March 11 but now optimism is returning to Tokyo and with the long hot summer on its way then a new vibrancy is also picking up. 

Companies like 6%DOKIDOKI took their fashion designs to North America and acted with compassion and care and Sebastian Masuda was the brainchild behind the Mighty Harajuku Project.  Therefore, 6%DOKIDOKI, and other fashion companies which supported the Mighty Harajuku Project; were raising funds for northeast Japan alongside helping local clients and showing an image of positivity despite the despair which was being felt at the time.

Today if you visit buzzing places in Tokyo like Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shinjuku, and other trendy areas, then it is clear that fashion companies are attracting shoppers.

In Lumine in Ikebukuro on the west side you have fantastic displays of elegant and exquisite fashion companies.  Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) and many other fashion boutiques have an array of luxury products whereby you have high quality fabrics alongside fantastic color schemes and designs.

Department stores which have been in the doldrums for a long time apart from the odd period have also announced strong April sales compared to the slump in March following the events of the March 11 earthquake.  Hankyu-Hanshin announced very positive sales and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya also stated that sales were up by just less than 3 per cent. 

Mitsukoshi-Isetan also stated that sales were slightly up and given the events of March 11 then for Mitsukoshi-Isetan this was remarkable. After all, Mitsukoshi-Isetan is more focused on the Tokyo region than Hankyu-Hanshin which is Kansai based.

However, department stores are still down when compared with results from last year but it is hoped that the summer period will see an upturn and given the events of this year then the figures could have been a lot worse.

Therefore, with the long hot summer on its way the fashion sector in Tokyo may see a rebound of fresh optimism because the doom and gloom of March and early April seems a long time ago. 

It is also hoped that tourists will start to flock to Tokyo and Japan once more because Tokyo is a Mecca for fashion and Osaka is also very vibrant.

The long hot summer is on its way and the feeling of hope and the freshness of new styles will hopefully lead to an upturn in sales.  (6%DOKIDOKI) (SmackyGlam)  (Lumine) (please visit)

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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Japan


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The reality and unreality of Tokyo amidst the hype of the media

The reality and unreality of Tokyo amidst the hype of the media

Modern Tokyo Times

Lee Jay Walker


Many media outlets have been involved in scaremongering since the earthquake struck Japan on March 11.  Indeed, comments made about Tokyo have not only been “over-hyped” but it is hard to fathom where the ideas came from in the first place because they have either been dramatized or the generalizations have been shocking.

According to Rupert Wingfield-Hayes you would believe that all Tokyoites are panicking and are in a flux because of events since the devastating earthquake.  He states in his article called “The eerie quiet of Tokyo hides Japan’s shock and anxiety,” which was published by the BBC, that “The threat to Tokyo’s 30 million people is invisible.  Everyone is now asking themselves the same question.  When does the crisis unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear plant 150 miles (240km) to the north cross that invisible line when you decide the risk of staying here is too high?”

I, and millions of other people in Tokyo, apparently have not asked the same question because the fear of Fukushima depends on your individual perception of what is really happening.  Therefore, millions of people in the Tokyo region are going to work, shopping for clothes, and doing the usual things in life.

It is true that some companies have either closed temporarily or they have reduced the working time because of various factors, and this applies to possible blackouts and the need to reduce electricity.  However, it must be remembered that many of these measures are temporary and gradually Tokyo is returning to normal and the vast majority of companies are functioning and in the morning the train system is jam packed like normal.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes commented about an “invisible line” and “when you decide the risk of staying here is too high?”  I find this either scaremongering or it is based on sensationalism and when he stated “everyone” then the statement enters the role of mass generalization because some people are clearly worried but millions of other people are not.  

To be fair to Rupert Wingfield-Hayes he is not the only journalist to spread over hyped comments and he does make good points about northern areas which have been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.  Yet why comment about Tokyo in a way which seems out of place with reality?

Japan needs to get back on its feet and I find it ironic that the train service in Tokyo after nine days of a devastating earthquake is functioning better on most lines than the average morning in London or Manchester.

Millions of Tokyoites have not asked themselves about “the risk of staying here is too high?”  This is because people fully understand that the real tragedy happened in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and other coastal areas. Also, despite the situation in Fukushima being complex it is abundantly clear that Tokyo is very far from the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

The British Government’s Chief Scientific Professor, Sir John Beddington, commented about the nuclear crisis in Fukushima and he stressed “…what I would really re-emphasise is that this is very problematic for the area and the immediate vicinity and one has to have concerns for the people working there. Beyond that 20 or 30 kilometres, it’s really not an issue for health.” 

Therefore, it is clear that the real threat from the Fukushima nuclear plant is to the people who reside in the surrounding area and it is abundantly clear that Tokyo is very far from Fukushima and for people in Tokyo according to Sir John Beddington “…it’s really not an issue for health.”

Yes, it is factual at the moment that Tokyo is not the usual 24 hour buzzing city but this is because of power constraints and other factors, therefore, it is true that by 9pm it is relatively quiet in Tokyo.

However, let us not forget that a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan and this was followed by a destructive tsunami which killed thousands and then the issue of the Fukushima nuclear plant happened.

Therefore, I find it remarkable that Tokyo is functioning so well and the reason why Tokyo is functioning so well is because the vast majority of Tokyoites are working like usual and are focused on every day issues.

At the same time Tokyoites understand that Iwate, Fukushima, Miyagi, and other areas hit badly by recent events, need economic support and they also understand that they are lucky to have escaped the ravages of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake.  (please visit)


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