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Selling Halloween in Japan

Akiko Okamoto

Halloween's just around the corner and growing number of people in Japan are ready to embrace the season. Businesses in Tokyo are geared up to cash in on the trend.

The number of people in the capital donning Halloween costumes is growing. Many even make their own. Some Halloween parades are big enough to close roads.

Many companies are now eyeing Halloween as a way to make money. Sapporo Breweries has launched four Halloween-themed beers, and is creating buzz for the products on social media. The products were given away at a Halloween party at an apartment complex in a trendy area of Tokyo. Partygoers took pictures of the products and posting them on social media websites.

"It's fun to look at pictures of new products," one of the revelers said. "I think people will enjoy my posts too."

It is exactly the kind of reaction the beer company was hoping for when it organized an Instagram photo contest.

"Viral marketing or word of mouth on social media is an important tool to promote our products," says the company's Senior Marketing Manager Masato Konno. "We hope customers will talk about fun times with our beverages and spread the message."

One Tokyo shop that sells makeup and costumes has jazzed up its Halloween displays. Store managers normally ban picture-taking, but for Halloween, they've set up a photo booth in the hope that the results will be posted on social media. The shop is also hosting events with professional makeup artists to create Halloween faces.

"Many people are starting to recognize Halloween as an opportunity to enjoy getting dressed up," the stores sales manager says. "Christmas sales have fallen in recent years so it's great that Halloween has become profitable."

Japanese businesses are discovering that mixing Halloween with social media can be profitable. As the season becomes increasingly popular, that trend will surely grow.

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