Kimono de Ginza, or “wearing kimono in Ginza”, is a monthly event held on the second Saturday of every month. These enthusiasts will meet once a month on the Ginza, an exclusive shopping district in Tokyo, to go for a walk in the vicinity in their kimonos. The meeting is then concluded by a joint evening meal in a Japanese pub. The main aim of this activity is to allow young Japanese to tap on this opportunity to seek advice from their elders on how to wear a kimono and the appropriate kimonos for different occasions.
Parallels The kimono is said to be dying, to be utterly too cumbersome for modern life, to be as elegantly anachronistic as the conservative old ladies or geisha who wear it,” (American anthropologist Liza Dalbyin in Kimono: fashioning culture). Similarly, the interest for traditional goods and services in Singapore, such as woven rattan furniture, has died down in recent years. A sharp decline in demand for both cases has serious implications for related businesses. Quoted from Mr Shigenobu Ono, owner of Nagoya black dyeing shop for formal kimonos, “the question is how to get the younger apprentices in our guild up to scratch”.
He notes that even his own son decided to forsake the trade for a career in Western fashion. However, the success of Japanese culture can be seen through the comeback of kimono through its reinvention by the indigenous people. Contrary to the strict dress codes imposed at formal gatherings and on festive occasions, many relish the non-ceremonial style of kimono or the idea of being able to wear kimono more casually. Young Japanese also look to kimono as an expression of fashion statement with the emergence of colourful socks and decorative collars.
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Explaining its successes using learning models The tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell The influence of Kimono de Ginza can be explained by Gladwell. Gladwell identifies three key factors that determine whether a particular trend will “tip” into wide-scale popularity. These are namely the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context. I. Law of the Few Connectors MavensSalesmenWider community Connectors are individuals with extensive social networks. Acting as social glue, they help to spread message, engender connections and bring the world together.
Kimono de Ginza relies on these people to attract interested public and expand its influence. For example, a similar gathering known as “Kimono de Vancouver” has been started for those who live in the West and who maintain interest in kimonos. Mavens act as data banks as they love to share information with other consumers by helping them make informed decisions. They are represented by the older participants of Kimono de Ginza who are eager to share their knowledge on kimonos.
Salesmen refer to charismatic people who can effectively persuade others to make certain buying decisions. The Japanese kimono group has no lack of such aficionados who fervently profess their love for kimonos through various means. II. The Stickiness Factor This is defined as a special feature that makes the phenomenon memorable by creating an impact and compelling people to act. The unconventional appeal of Kimono de Ginza relies on its flexibility to allow for individualism to shine through. It revives and reinvents a tradition while rejecting the undesirable restrictions.
Furthermore, doing away with memberships allow for creative experimentation of identities beyond daily responsibilities. III. The Power of Context The growing global movement to retain local traditions amidst the perceived threat of modernisation provides an ideal backdrop for Kimono de Ginza to prosper. It works by leveraging on the balance between a nostalgic yearn for traditional experiences and a desire to shake off stifling restrictions. The nostalgic psychology will be explained in the later parts of the case study analysis. IN WHERE) Moreover, Kimono de Ginza was established in accordance with “the Magic Power of One Hundred and Fifty”, in which “groups of less than 150 members usually display a level of intimacy, interdependency, and efficiency that begins to dissipate markedly as soon as the group’s size increases over 150. ” The activity of wearing kimonos takes place within a well-defined group setting that promises a certain sense of protection and stability. The gatherings represent a specific form of community that is characterized by being bound to a defined place and an interest in a particular activity and, moreover, involve face-to-face interaction.
Ideas for proposal: * Encourage business owners to form a small group within themselves to launch a “retro campaign” Nostalgia Marketing (Martin Lindstrom) Studies have identified some nostalgic cues that can be exploited and how images and sounds from the past can create favourable attitudes about products. (LIKE WHAT) As we age, our nostalgic yearnings grow, making us more receptive to advertisers and marketers use of what researchers call "a longing for positive memories from the past. " This desire for nostalgia is further intensified by society's present circumstance of receding predictability and opportunity.
As Martin Lindstrom mentioned, “In the face of insecurity or uncertainty about the future, we want nothing more than to revert to a more stable time” It is much more comforting to think of times when we had simpler lives rather than pondering the issues we are facing today. That is why in times of recession we notice older retro products being brought back. The primary force driving Kimono De Ginza is the desires of the population to connect with its traditions and relive their childhood past when they were first introduced to kimonos.
Emotionally, we associate these products of the past with authenticity, history, and a better, simpler time. This explains why Kimono de Ginza was able to attract a significant following and remain sustained for thirteen years. Our nostalgia transcends time as long as each new generation continues to be exposed to Japanese culture in their childhood and develop emotional connections that will last them through adulthood. However, Kimono de Ginza is careful not to “play up the past too much” for Kimono to be seen as “dusty, outdated or out of style”.
Like a lot of brands and companies, it has “developed inventive strategies for toeing this delicate line”, through its infusion of modern elements and eradication of stringent rules and restrictions. Ideas for proposal: * (Nostalgic marketing) Broadcast advertisements from the olden days, oldies and catch slogans of that time * Introduce traditional goods to children from a young age so that they will grow up to associate these goods with “a simpler and more authentic times” Such would be the case of our association with monopoly games and beyblades Kolb’s Experimental Learning Cycle
Kolb proposes a four stage learning cycle. I. Concrete Experience A new experience of situation or a reinterpretation of existing experience is encountered when participants is first exposed to Kimono de Ginza. II. Reflective Observation Participants new to the innovative and unconventional concepts of Kimono de Ginza discover inconsistencies between past experience and understanding. This engages them in meaningful reflections. III. Abstract Conceptualization Reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept.
Participants deliberate over their identity and what they want their kimonos to look like prior the monthly event. There is a great deal of internal tussle within the individual before they figure out their own interpretations of kimonos. IV. Active Experimentation The learner applies them to the world around them to see what results. Creativity represents a key feature of Kimono de Ginza as participants dress up in unique costumes infused with modern features or personal idiosyncrasies and display to the public.
They receive feedbacks from interactions within the club, as well as through the public’s reactions as they walk down the streets. Spiral Learning Model Though unintentional, Kimono de Ginza has unconsciously tapped on the spiral learning model to promote Kimono culture. From a young age, almost all Japanese children would have been introduced to Kimonos as part of the Japanese culture. The child may also begin his first conscious exposure of kimono through Shichi-Go-San ("seven-five-three") Festival.
At the age of 20, young people wear furisode or haori and hakama to celebrate their passage into adulthood. As such, an average Japanese gains multiple exposures to Kimonos throughout his growing years. Kimono de Ginza serves as a culmination point in which an individual identifies himself with a community and expresses his own interpretations of kimono in a creative manner. Ideas for proposal: * Spiral learning model for Singapore’s traditions in formal education, which culminates into business management at polytechnic level. * Encourages autonomy and self expression to add value to traditional products
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