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"Korea Fever" Translates as Commercial Success in Japan

2004/12/03 | 99 views | Permalink | Source

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TOKYO -- Products that fall within the "Korean Wave" umbrella have been nominated as this year's commercial hits in Japan, according to an established annual report.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp affiliate SMBC Consulting, which makes a regular habit of announcing Japan's hit products in early December, listed "Korean products, including 'Winter Sonata'" at the top of this year's list Thursday.

SMBC emulates the style of the nation's official sumo rankings by dividing its listings into East and West and selecting "yokozuna" (a term coined for the premium-ranked sumo wrestlers) for the best-sellers. It then selects "ozeki" to fill the No. 2 spots in East and West and follows this logic down the ranking order, assigning two products to each position.

This year, however, the Korean Wave took exclusive control of the top rank as SMBC was unable to find a suitable counterpart to brand in the Western category, deciding instead to leave it empty. The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun ran as its headline, "The Korean Wave a Proud No. 1".

Second spot was dominated by Kyouichi Katayama's popular novel "Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu", which later gained fame as a hit movie and TV drama, and the Athens Olympics, in which Japanese athletes won a glut of gold medals.

Consumer electronics titan Sharp stole third place with its AQUOS flat-panel TV, a model that has consistently drawn customers since it was introduced last year, while in the Western category, Apple's mobile music player "iPod" proved itself a strong match for Korean MP3 players to earn the slot.

Choi, Heup

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