Monday, November 14, 2011

Will Miss #386 - learning (deeply) about Japanese business

OK, no matter how much I understand about Japanese business, I don't know why this video shop is named "Slum."

If you have ever gone into a video rental shop in Japan, you may note that there are often more foreign titles than domestic ones. What fairly obvious conclusion would you reach? If you're like most people (including myself), you would conclude that foreign titles are more popular than Japanese ones. Sometimes, especially for runaway hits like "24" and "Prison Break", that is very much true. However, that is not the reason why there are so many more of such titles in rental shops. The reason is that most of the foreign entertainment production companies use a system called PPT (payment per transaction) and domestic ones do not. That means that the foreign companies provide the discs for free and share the profits according to how often those titles are rented. The domestic ones usually sell their discs outright. Since the former is lower risk, rental shops prefer to stock foreign-made titles.

I have learned a great deal about Japanese business at a level of depth that few others have because of the type of work I do and the way in which I deal with people, and I will miss the way in which it has allowed me to reach well-informed conclusions about Japan and Japanese culture rather than the all-too-easy superficial conclusions that people (both foreign and Japanese) make.