Ikumen marketing

By Alisa - Last updated: 火曜日, 5月 1, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


I was running out of hair conditioner so I went to the grocery store to buy some when I spotted this refill bag with the the yellow and green Papa Furo (papa bathtime) marketing campaign logo. On the top of the logo it says “we support bathtime with kids and dads!”

I understand that for some countries it’s strange for kids to take a bath with their dad but all I can say is that it is a bonding experience in Japan like a bedtime story. I think it is fine since the kids only do this when they are very young. However, that still did not explain why the line of shampoo and conditioner was specifically targeting dads. It’s the beginning of May right now and Mother’s Day is coming right up but we still need to wait a bit for Father’s Day.

Then I did some research and found out they were targeting the new generation of “ikumen” or child rearing men. I know it’s silly to need a term to make child rearing hip for men but it represents a new generation of Japanese fathers that are taking a more active role in raising their children. This conditioner I bought is on the affordable end of the market aimed at families so it makes sense that they are targeting this product to these new families with their “ikumen” dads. Finally the campaign made sense.

I wouldn’t say that the “mouretsu” or fierce salaryman from the 80s who mindlessly worked like a madman has completely disappeared from Japanese society but these marketing campaigns come to show how much Japan has changed in this generation. My Japanese husband and I still don’t have kids but I’m pretty sure he’ll become a good “ikumen” too or I wouldn’t have married him in the first place. I sound a bit threatening you say? Either way, thank goodness times have changed.

Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

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