Ben non là c'est sur la réaction des japs, pas sur le truc super naze en lui-même :yes:
« Réponse #750, le 6 Mai 2012 à 14:16 »
TV: no longer the drug of the people
By PHILIP BRASOR
Last week, Japan's fifth largest discount electronics retailer, Bic Camera, announced it would soon obtain a 50 percent share of Japan's sixth-largest discount electronics retailer, Kojima, thus making the combined companies Japan's second-largest electronics retailer. Bic operates 34 stores in large cities while Kojima has about 200 in the suburbs. The deal would give the combined companies greater leverage to negotiate lower prices with manufacturers.
That sounds like good news for consumers, but it's also a clear indication of how desperate the home-electronics situation is. The record losses recently reported by Sony and Panasonic for fiscal 2011 were worthy of front-page headlines in overseas newspapers. Sharp is also swimming in red ink. The company saw a 30 percent decline in year-on-year sales due to sluggish demand for liquid crystal displays in Japan, thus forcing it to accept investment help from a Taiwanese company, but even with that Sharp has already predicted a deficit of ¥30 billion for fiscal 2012.
What these three companies, whose combined losses total ¥1.6 trillion, have in common is that they still have a lot invested in TV set production. Hitachi, which announced in January that it is abandoning TV sets, made a profit thanks to the sale of its hard disk division. Likewise, Toshiba has closed its TV manufacturing operations in Japan.
The average consumer may be confused. A year ago the airwaves were filled with commercials for TV sets. Every company that made them carried out saturation advertising to attract the cross-section of the public that had yet to buy new equipment for the switchover from analog to digital broadcasts. The industry had already seen sales drop following the end of the government eco point system, which subsidized sales of energy-saving electronics. Even before the changeover was completed in July, the March 11 disaster had postponed digitalization in the Tohoku region so there was still a market for TV sales there, but that window has since closed. 3-D TV, which last summer was being sold as the next must-have device, died as soon as it was born.
According to a May 12 editorial in the Tokyo Shimbun, Japanese consumer-electronics companies were on top of the world at the dawn of the 1990s because of their cutting-edge technology. Hubris blinded them to the necessity of changing their methods with the coming dominance of digital. When they controlled the technology, they controlled the related manufacturing, since skilled workers were needed to produce the vanguard products everyone in the world wanted. That meant factories could remain in Japan, where the skilled workers were.
Digital technology is characterized by cheaper parts and a more schematic assembly process, which means factories can be built anywhere since fewer skilled workers are needed. Japanese manufacturers were slow to adapt, and once digital became the norm, competitors offered merchandise that was comparable in quality to Japanese products. Japan developed plasma and liquid crystal TV displays, but Korean and Taiwanese makers sold them at much lower prices and quickly dominated the world market.
The other problem, and one unique to Japan, is that there are just too many major electronics companies, especially with a shrinking domestic market. Last year ¥320 trillion worth of consumer electronics was sold throughout the world. That market is estimated to expand to ¥450 trillion by 2020. Japan's deteriorating competitiveness overseas is considered a serious problem back home. The only thing these companies can do to survive is tighten their belts even more, and that means buyouts, mergers or partnerships. Sony and Panasonic just announced they'd cooperate on the next generation organic LED display, a move that would have been unheard of five years ago. Korean makers plan to have an affordable OLED on the North American market by the end of the year. Sony developed the first OLED in 2007, but it was too expensive for consumers. If it teams up with Panasonic, it can save time and money and have an affordable one out by 2015.
The obvious question is: Why the obsession with TV sets? According to Tokyo Shimbun, the television is the "face" of consumer electronics, the possession that makes the biggest impression in the home, the one that sits like a Buddha in the living room. It defines the brand; or at least it used to. Everyone knows that the main reason the domestic market is shrinking is that the population is, too. People don't need to buy TVs that often in the first place, but the reasons for owning one are also becoming less compelling. This column occasionally discusses how broadcasters have programmed themselves into irrelevance with shows that are barely distinguishable from one another, but the problem goes deeper.
Browsing the comments related to "TV" on the 2channel message board, you find complaints about how much trouble it is to hook up antennas, make contracts with cable companies and access broadcast satellite signals. And though many commenters conclude that it isn't worth it because, as one person put it, "all you get is boring comedians," the overriding sentiment is that the conventional TV relationship of an overlord provider (stations and producers) and a passive receiver (viewers) is obsolete. Commenters also grouse that it's difficult to use the Internet on regular TVs. They don't even like big screens. Their laptops are big enough; for that matter, so are their phones.
It's a generational issue, which is why so many TV commercials target older people. Even mobile game providers, which have become the biggest net TV ad buyers and would seem to appeal to a younger demographic, have been using those ads to get older consumers on board the gaming bandwagon. That makes it even more essential for domestic TV makers to concentrate on overseas markets. They sure can't count on Japan's.
For Japanese job seekers, overseas study can be deal killer
Ronan Sato, a graduate student in applied statistics at Oxford University in England, has always been keen to work in his native Japan. But at a careers fair for overseas Japanese students, he found that corporate Japan did not reciprocate his enthusiasm.
In meetings with a handful of Japanese financial trading firms at the forum in Boston last November, none would offer him a job without further interviews in Tokyo.
So Sato, who received three offers on the spot from non-Japanese corporations, accepted a position in Tokyo with a big British bank.
“I really wanted to gain experience at a Japanese company, but they seemed cautious,” Sato said. “Do Japanese companies really want global talent? It seemed to me like they’re not really serious.”
Notoriously insular, corporate Japan has long been wary of embracing Western-educated compatriots who return to the homeland. But critics say the reluctance to tap the international experience of these young people is a growing problem for Japan as some of its major industries — like banking, consumer electronics and automobiles — lose ground in an increasingly global economy.
Discouraged by their career prospects if they study abroad, even at elite universities, a shrinking portion of Japanese college students is seeking a Western education. At the same time, regional rivals like China, South Korea and India are sending increasing numbers of students overseas — many of whom, upon graduation, are snapped up by companies back home for their skills, contacts and global outlooks.
“Japanese companies here are missing out on the best foreign talent, and it’s all their fault,” said Toshihiko Irisumi, a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and former Goldman Sachs banker. He runs Alpha Leaders, a Tokyo-based consulting firm that helps match top young talent with employers based in Japan. “They really need to change their mindset.”
A United States-born graduate of Brown University who has a dual citizenship in Japan, one of about a dozen foreign-educated Japanese nationals interviewed for this article, said she was told she “laughed too much” in interviews for a technology job in Tokyo.
Others with Western educations recall being treated with suspicion by Japanese recruiters, who referred to them openly as “over spec” — too elite to fit in, too eager to get ahead and too likely to be poached or to switch employers before long.
What is more, Japanese students who study overseas often find that by the time they enter the job hunt back home, they are far behind compatriots who have already contacted as many as 100 companies and received help from extensive alumni networks. And those who spend too long overseas find they are shut out by rigid age preferences for graduates no older than their mid-20s.
In a survey of 1,000 Japanese companies taken last June on their recruitment plans for the March 2012 fiscal year by the Tokyo-based recruitment company Disco, fewer than a quarter said they planned to hire Japanese applicants who had studied abroad. Even among top companies with more than a thousand employees, less than 40 percent said they wanted to hire Japanese with overseas education. That attitude might help explain why, even as the number of Japanese enrolled in college has held steady at around 3 million in recent years, the number studying abroad has declined from a peak of nearly 83,000 in 2004 to fewer than 60,000 in 2009 — the most recent year for which the figures are available from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In some ways, the Japanese snubbing of Western graduates is a testament to the perceived strength of their own universities, seen by many here as more prestigious than even the best U.S. and European schools — despite their mediocre showing in various global college rankings.
At U.S. universities, only 21,290 Japanese students were registered last year, less than half the number a decade ago. U.S. universities last year had 73,350 students from South Korea, even though it has less than half of Japan’s population,
“There is an awareness that Japan’s competitiveness is falling, and we need a more global workforce,” said Kazunori Masugo, head of the Senri International School in western Japan and a member of a central government committee on education and training. Lessons at Senri are taught mostly in English and the school sends a handful of students to colleges in the United States and Europe each year.
“But the environment in Japan is such that if you go overseas to study, you have to be prepared to go your own route, find your own way,” he said.
Ryutaro Sakamoto, who paid his way through the University of Toronto and returned to Japan at age 30 with a business degree, found he was too old to apply through standard recruitment programs. He sent resumes to the likes of Panasonic and Sony, anyway, but never heard back. Eventually, the Japanese unit of the U.S. insurance company Prudential was happy to put his bilingual skills to use.
“In Japan, taking the time to study overseas sets you back in the shukatsu race,” Sakamoto said.
“Shukatsu” refers to the system in which Japanese companies typically hire the bulk of their workers straight from college and expect them to stay until retirement. Not getting a job upon graduation is seen as a potential career killer.
So competition is fierce. In the last three years, the percentage of new graduates in Japan who found work was the lowest since the government started collecting comparable data in 1996. As of Feb. 1, with two months left in the recruiting season, a fifth of students in their final year at college had yet to find jobs.
“Shukatsu is like Kabuki theater,” said Takayuki Matsumoto, an Osaka-based career consultant. “It’s difficult when you don’t fit the template.”
His advice to returnees: Don’t be too assertive or ask too many questions.
Kenta Koga, one of only a handful of Japanese undergraduates to enter Yale in 2010, violated many of the unwritten rules when he came back last summer for an internship at a big Japanese advertising agency in Tokyo. As he made client rounds with his boss, who was advising on the latest trends in technology or social media, Koga, a computer science major, felt the urge to speak up.
“Some of what they were discussing was old or plain wrong,” he said. But he was careful to steep his language in the appropriate honorifics reserved for elders. “I’m terribly sorry to interrupt,” he said he would murmur. “My deepest apologies if you already knew this.”
Still, his supervisors were annoyed. “You are being too scary and preventing other people from speaking,” one boss said, according to Koga. On another occasion, he said, he was censured for crossing his arms in front of senior colleagues. He was eventually excluded from meetings and assigned seemingly dead-end tasks. He now says he would never work for a Japanese company.
Some Japanese companies have made a point of reaching out to returnees. U-Shin, an auto parts maker, attracted attention in February when it placed a prominent ad in Japan’s largest business daily offering twice the normal starting pay to candidates with overseas degrees.
“We plan to expand aggressively overseas, so we need recruits who were themselves bold enough to go overseas,” said Koji Tanabe, U-Shin’s chief executive.
But U-Shin seems the rare exception. The Japanese financial giant Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi more closely fits the norm. Each year, it hires about 1,200 fresh graduates. Usually, fewer than 20 have studied overseas or are non-Japanese, said Keiichi Hotta, a recruiter for the bank.
Hotta said careers were built differently in the West. “We’re cautious because we emphasize continuity and long-term commitment to the company,” Hotta said. “Especially in finance, we don’t want people who are focused on short-term gains.”
No wonder some returnees play down their exposure to Western ways. Norihiro Yonezawa, who studied for a year at the University of Maryland, said he did not emphasize his overseas experience or English skills when he interviewed — successfully — for a coveted job at Panasonic.
“I didn’t want to come across as a showoff. So I stressed how I worked hard and overcame that,” he said. “And I made sure to emphasize that I would still fit in.”
Manjiro, patron saint of eikaiwa, watches over English teachers
It can be tough teaching English in Japan. The chain school grind of late hours, noisy kids and boring middle-aged office workers takes its toll. Uppity teachers at public schools treat ALTs with contempt and all English instructors feel the humiliation of being looked down upon by their foreigner brethren who don't teach.
The money isn't there anymore either; the gravy train has derailed. The days when backpackers and graduates fresh off the plane could step right into well-paying jobs are long gone. Wages everywhere, from mom-and-pop schools to universities, are in steady decline as speed-learning CDs, Skype lessons from teachers in developing countries and outsourcing spread.
But no matter how bad things get, English teachers can take heart in the little-known fact that they have a de facto patron saint watching over them. John Manjiro, also known as John Mung and Manjiro Nakahama, one of the coolest figures from Japan's past, paved the way for English teachers in Japan today, and they can hold their heads high and take pride in their profession knowing they are following in the footsteps of this pioneer.
While an American named Ranald MacDonald (no, really) is credited with being the first to ever teach English in Japan, Manjiro is the archetype of the eikaiwa sensei. He introduced the alphabet song to Japan, made the first poster explaining the pronunciation of the ABCs in katakana and taught English to some of the architects of the Meiji Revolution.
There are few from Japan's past more colorful than the swashbuckling Manjiro. His extraordinary tale begins in 1841, when he was shipwrecked on a deserted island in the Pacific while fishing off the coast of Shikoku. Manjiro and his four friends survived for 143 days until an American whaling ship rescued them.
As English teachers today awe students with their suave and debonair ways, Manjiro impressed the ship's captain, William Whitfield, with his intelligence and resourcefulness. Like kindly Japanese who take young foreigners under their wing, Whitfield adopted the 14-year-old Manjiro and, after dropping the other castaways off in Hawaii, took him back to Massachusetts and provided him with an education.
Manjiro encountered a myriad of items in America unknown to the Japanese at that time, including daguerreotype cameras, gimlets and violins — in much the same way as foreigners new to Japan come across wonders like toilets with heated seats and bidets, talking vending machines and street lights that chirp.
Manjiro had many new experiences in America — he ate beef steak and bread, wore Western clothes and was the first Japanese to ride a locomotive — much like many wide-eyed foreigners today navigate subway systems, sample octopus sushi and bow in greeting for the first time in Japan.
Manjiro excelled in America, learning English, apprenticing as a barrel maker and mastering navigation, later joining the crew of a whaling ship and receiving an equal share of the ship's profits — much more than he ever would have earned in Shikoku. English teachers doing better than they were digging ditches or frying chips back home can surely identify with Manjiro's good fortune.
Like ambitious English teachers who teach private lessons in coffee shops on the side, Manjiro was restless and not satisfied with his newfound success in America. He went to California to join the Gold Rush, striking it rich and earning the enormous sum of $600.
Manjiro put his newfound wealth to good use, deciding to return to Japan. First, however, he headed to Hawaii to pick up his mates, persuading two of them — one had died and another wanted to stay — to come with him. Offering his labor for passage to an American captain, the trio set sail, finally returning to Japan via Okinawa after 10 years abroad.
Manjiro was not welcomed home with open arms, however — a reception that some English teachers experience on their return to their native countries. Japan was still under the sakoku closed country policy, under which foreigners were not allowed to enter and Japanese were forbidden to leave on penalty of death. Manjiro and his friends were viewed with suspicion, thought to be spies and imprisoned in Nagasaki.
Fortunately the three were able to provide a credible account of their shipwreck and time overseas and prove they had not adopted the prohibited Christian religion by performing fumie, or stepping on Christian images. Manjiro attended church services while living in New England but it is unknown how religious he actually was. Eventually Manjiro and his shipmates were allowed to return to their native Tosa in modern-day Kochi on the condition that they wouldn't leave the area or engage in any work related to the sea.
Manjiro was reunited with his mother and extended family and hoped to finally settle down, but just as English teachers are needed today to help Japan compete globally, Manjiro was called upon by his country to teach English and foreign relations to young samurai and translate when Commodore Perry's Black Ships came knocking. Manjiro's services were in such high demand that he achieved the unheard-of promotion from commoner to samurai, much like foreign teachers that were nobodies before coming to Japan but are now addressed as sensei.
Manjiro taught Japan's ruling class about the U.S. economic, education and political systems, just like English teachers today give captains of industry tips on the global economy and share investment strategies with elite bankers. A world map drawn by an Englishman that Manjiro brought back with him was the most accurate and detailed the Japanese had ever seen, and the shipbuilding and coastal defense knowledge he imparted was invaluable.
However, samurai born into the rank were jealous of Manjiro's new status, and plotted against him, prompting him to return to the safety of Tosa. (Not unlike the way "real" university professors look down on nontenured foreign professors in the English department who learn to keep to themselves.)
Manjiro likely would not have had many choices for female companionship had he remained a poor fisherman, but he ended up marrying three times and fathering seven children, setting the stage for generations of foreign men who went dateless at home before becoming teachers but then find themselves the objects of desire of impressionable Japanese women.
Manjiro was an unsung hero of 19th-century Japan, his story mostly ignored and his contributions to his country largely unappreciated, much like English teachers whose efforts go unrecognized and meagerly awarded. Manjiro taught Yukichi Fukuzawa — the founder of Keio University, whose picture is on the ¥10,000 bill — how to speak English. Fukuzawa contributed greatly to the modernization of Japan, was a strong promoter of democracy and was the first to translate the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution into Japanese.
Similar to English teachers who prove to their students that foreigners aren't all that bad, Manjiro's writings convinced Ryoma Sakamoto — who was instrumental in overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate and ushering in the Meiji Era — to convert from a xenophobic nationalist into a supporter of opening up Japan to the outside world. It is believed Manjiro's descriptions of American democracy influenced Sakamoto, who advocated for a new Japanese government with a national assembly.
In 1860 Manjiro, serving as an official translator, sailed to San Francisco with Fukuzawa as a member of Japan's second delegation to the U.S. aboard the Kanrin Maru, the first Japanese ship ever to cross the Pacific. A student of Manjiro's in Kochi, Yataro Iwasaki, founded a maritime transport company that went on to become Mitsubishi.
Most Japanese got their first glimpse of Manjiro after a book was written about him in 1938 in which he was called by his adopted Western name for the first time. The book was popular and the name stuck, and if you mention John Manjiro today, many Japanese will say that he was clever because he was able to communicate with foreigners by using katakana, famously saying wara for water.
Manjiro struggled with being viewed as an outsider — like foreigners in Japan who will never be accepted as equals by the Japanese no matter how long they live here, how many kanji they learn and how much fish they eat — but he took it in stride. Manjiro also retained some of the habits he picked up living abroad, such as drinking coffee instead of tea every morning, just as some long-term foreign Japan residents still prefer a shower in the morning to the Japanese custom of a bath at night.
Foreign English teachers and folks everywhere can be inspired by John Manjiro, who proved that average people can do great things in the face of overwhelming odds by persevering, using their wits and being tactful. Intrepid foreign pedagogues who stick it out for the long haul in Japan could even achieve the success that Manjiro eventually did and become university professors like him (provided they abandon any hopes of ever being tenured).
Gacha Watch: Japan’s Social Game Industry Shifts Gears After Government Crackdown
By Daniel FeitEmail Author05.22.12 12:29 PM
Japan’s social game makers are tweaking many of their top-grossing titles following a government ban on “complete gacha” sales tactics.
The country’s Consumer Affairs Agency said last week that the virtual games of chance will be considered illegal and subject to legal action effective July 1.
“We wish to alert businesses and consumers that we have decided, in accordance with the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, that ‘complete gacha’ sales are illegal,” Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Jin Matsubara announced in a press conference on Friday.
Matsubara made it clear that the agency was breaking new ground, noting that this was the first time this law was being applied to virtual goods sold online.
“Gacha”-style sales, named after the Japanese word for toy vending machines, are only one of a number of microtransaction models used in social games. The “complete gacha” system that has been banned offers rare prizes to players who complete a set of items through random drawings. It is this aspect of the service that the agency deemed illegal, not the selling of random virtual goods per se.
The move also bans “bingo gacha,” a similar practice in which players try to fill bingo cards through random purchases, according to coverage in the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Japan’s largest social game companies have already decided to drop all “complete gacha” sales by the end of May, well in advance of the government deadline.
With the self-imposed ban already taking effect around the industry, games are beginning to introduce similar sales mechanics that fall on the right side of the law. Shin Sengoku BUSTER by KLab now offers players a 1,000-yen ($13) gacha game in which collecting a full set of 10 cards earns a special rare card, according to Japanese blog ITmedia.
The key modification is that it takes exactly 10 purchases to win the rare card. This small tweak is enough to circumvent the ban.
Other games have removed the “complete” aspect entirely — to the chagrin of some users.
Gundam Card Collection by Namco Bandai now offers ultra-rare cards as random prizes rather than as a reward for winning particular cards. Users are complaining they now have no idea whether or not they are getting closer to winning an ultra-rare card, with one reportedly spending 75,000 yen ($942) to no avail.
Gree, one of six publishers making the joint decision earlier this month, said it did so “in the interests of improving the content of its services for users,” not because of any “infringement of current Japanese legislation.” Gamemakers such as Konami and Namco Bandai quickly followed suit.
Prior to the official ruling, the Yomiuri spoke to an anonymous programmer working at a social game developer in Tokyo’s Minato ward who laid out how important the controversial “complete gacha” sales tactic is to the business model.
“Whether it’s a good game depends on how much you can make a player buy virtual items,” the 30-year-old man told the paper.
“The key is making ‘haijin kakinsha’ players use the game,” he said, using a Japanese slang term for players hooked on online computer games. These big spenders can run through tens of thousands of yen in a month.
“It’s our goal to make more than 10 percent of all gamers spend money,” he continued. “It’s important to keep their spending within certain bounds, since they may not come back to the game if we squeeze too much out of them.”
To that end, the company (which is not named) sends the programmer data every hour with notes such as “Sales are down” or “User counts are too low.” He then changes parameters on the fly, for example, lowering the price of a 300 yen item to 100 yen (about $1.26).
“It’s all about figures,” he says. Online feedback is also monitored and changes can be made to reflect complaints. When too many users say they can’t get the last card in a set, he makes it easier to win.
What of the so-called “haijin” addicts who play these games? Yomiuri talked to a 27-year-old Tokyo office worker about her experience. She started playing social games in April 2010, at first for free, but later she started spending on rare items. It took her less than a minute to spend 3,000 yen ($38).
In total, she said she had spent about 500,000 yen ($6,281) on this “free” game.
Tu veux savoir quoi exactement? Pratique de l'équitation au Japon (comparé à la France)? Est-ce qu'au Japon c'est aussi le sport girly par excellence (sauf une fois arrivé en pro)? La kawaiitude du cheval dans l'esprit japonais? Les courses (keiba)?