JIN-337 -- Companies Roll Out Products for the Retiring "Dankai"

T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News

Issue No. 337
Wednesday September 14, 2005 TOKYO

+++ Viewpoint: Companies Roll Out Products for the Retiring "Dankai"
1. Blowin' like Satchmo
2. Walls of Jericho


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+++ Viewpoint: Companies Roll Out Products for the Retiring "Dankai"
1. Blowin' like Satchmo

As the "dankai sedai," Japanese born from 1947 through 1949,
approach the age of 60, the potential impact of their retirement on
the consumer market is attracting attention. This group is not only
large, nearly 7 million strong, but they are consumers par excellence,
having grown up during an age of ever-rising expectations whetted
by high economic growth. The prospect of their receiving retirement
allowances and having the time for leisure pursuits has businesses
salivating. Companies in an array of industries are developing new
products and services geared to these soon-to-be retired seniors.

One new product is Yamaha's "Singing Trumpet" (30,000 yen). You
put your mouth to the trumpet, sing to yourself, and the horn plays
the tune. Twenty-one tunes are programmed into the trumpet, and
others can be downloaded for 210 yen apiece from a dedicated
Web site. The trumpet, marketed last November, has greatly
surpassed Yamaha's annual sales target of 5,000 units.
"Singing Trumpet" is popular with men in their 40s and 50s who
can't play the instrument but would love to blow the horn like
musicians in old movies and or on radio shows like
"All Night Nippon" with its theme song "Bittersweet Samba."

The "Singing Trumpet" is the second item in Yamaha's "EZ series"
of instruments. Yamaha, which sees the market for pianos shrinking
in tandem with the birthrate, is giving weight to products for adults.
Look for an "EZ series" band some day.

Meanwhile, Club Tourism, a spin-off from Kinki Nihon Tourist, has come
to specialize in the senior market. "Seniors have a discerning eye that
makes them daunting customers," its Sales Promotion Manager
was quoted as saying in the "Asahi," a major daily. "You must offer
them out-of-the-ordinary products."

Club Tourism has offered a succession of original tours, chartering
planes for direct flights to Iceland, arranging for the performance of
regional events, like the Gujo-Odori dance, of Gifu Prefecture,
out of season.

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2. Walls of Jericho

Mitsui Fudosan Housing Lease Co., Ltd. has brought out the "Maturity"
brand of up-scale rental condos. Last November, in cooperation with
Nippon Tochi Tatemono Co., Ltd., the realtor broke the ground for
the brand's first building (73 units) in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Most of
the 73 units rent in the 200,000-300,000 yen range. Plans call for
the construction of more "Maturity" apartments in central Tokyo.

The principal feature of the "Maturity" series is that apartments have
two bedrooms of identical size and layout. The reason, explains
a company representative, is that many older women desire privacy.

What are the chances a husband's "Singing Trumpet" can bring down
his wife's Walls of Jericho?

--Burritt Sabin

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Written and edited by Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.