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Good Japanese Web Design


free spirit
29 Oct 2002
I'm Bored with a capital "B". This afternoon I need to create a manual for a backoffice, but my heart isn't into it. Heck, I'm leaving this job at the end of the month. Anyway, a job is a job....

Does anyone know of any Japanese websites that simply awesome in design? Professional curiosity...
hmmm, I find the ones from Holland I think that was were it was with all the flash and just amuzing diddies, like a skeleton you can swing around and what not.

Japanese sites I tend to think have lots of strange color combination and oodles and oodles of columns and what not. But then again I like simple sites that have an easy to use navigation system.

BUT, I am interested too since many Japanese are wonderful designers, it's just that many sites on the net are done for like $100 by housewives with time to spare.

You'll also still find forums that are like the Matt's scripts forum. OH well, someday they'll find a UBB type interesting and useful.
Cluttered is the best way to describe most Japanese websites.
And they tend to look like boxes of washingpowder.

I've been looking for this as well, but i've never been able to find a groundbreaking site design.
Hehe, cluttered and "polychromatically challenged"; however, I've found that some of the best graphic designers on the web are Japanese.

it's just that many sites on the net are done for like $100 by housewives with time to spare.

True. Goo, one of the larger J-directories, looks like a $20 job. Take Sony's site: plain ugly. They should be able to afford decent design.

I've never understood why so many professional web designers stick to the following site concept (I call it the "portfolio concept"): splash page, usually held in black or other dark colours. All the content is presented on a smaller page floating on top of the index page (heavy use of Javascript is another common feature). To demonstrate what I mean

=> 株式会社アトム atom Co., Ltd.

Not very user-friendly, not impressive. What gives?
Yeah, my opinion is that most japanese websites are too cluttered and with weird colour combinations, too.

But I know that there is good webdesigners in the land of the rising sun. Yugo Nakamura(THA LTD. is a name that comes to mind, and cryptic sites like Mitsubishi's tokitoki.com and wakowako.com show that potential translated into new positive ideas.
lolo ... weird color designs. how true.
That's probably just an extension of wearing white tube socks with a blue or black business suit.

Flash sites ... taking advantage of what the pundits are saying of broadband. Too bad the pundits need to be kicked in the head some times since most Japanese have no clue how to even reinstall their w95 system.
Yeah... I've heard somewhere that despite being one of the most advanced nations in the world, most companies that are able to control electronically their workflow prefer to do it still in paper, and that it has nothing to do with saving money.
this is called techinically ringisei (pass around in a circle for approval).

Ummm ... Japan is more like, due to that computers were like $4,000+ up till about 5-6 years ago. The Word Processor was actually one hell of like machine costing up to $2,000.

Also, let's not forget that windows itself is a big deterent NOT to go electronic.

It's really strange. But most 40+ generation is jsut beginning to feel the pinch of the IT genereation. Just this year one of the my high schools just plopped down laptops on every teacher's desk essentially forcing them to use staroffice for communications and work. Last year many teachers were still using japanese wa-pro machines.

So, major problem is that most of this country is like there radio and TV stations. Barbaric.
It's unbelievable. Some of the best electronics in the world!!! But only 4 FM radio stations for a city of 1.8 million. 2 are 50-50 decent, 1 is NHK and the other very very local with reception wacky throughout the city. TV is barely better.
So, I have my car radio with it's 1,000 presets setup for the whole island of Hokkaido. I just push a preset and bingo! station for what ever city I'm in, no hassles of searching throughout the band. lolo ... I barely ever use this but's better than just empty buttons. However, recently I have the radio split in half for presets -- 3 for easy reach for the driver and the other 3 for easy reach for the passenger. lololo ....

"paperwork is busy work for unproductive and useless managers that occupy over half of the company"... moyashi
Besides, a computer is used most likely for surfing for porn :D

Perhaps 120 years (don't know the exact date when the Meiji Era started) have been too short for so much innovation., and there's always a resistance to change.

One thing that comes to mind is e-commerce. Do Japanese people already purchase their groceries online? I buy a lot of books on Amazon and I have friends that do their groceries through the web. They just order it online and some guy will deliver, most of the times, on the same day. Unfortunately I live on burbs of Lisbon so I don't have acess to this style of shopping.
I think major obstacles for e-commerce in Japan are the facts that credit cards arestill not as common as in the US or Europe (cash still rules) and that there is not a lot of trust in online transactions.
True about the trust factor.

Problem is that Japan is iMode happy rather than net happy. Servers and IP hosting places in Japan have like 1 system admin per 5 companies it seems and the system admins think they are GOD and know what is best for the customer and companies that they work for. I have yet to come across a sys admin that can make me feel stupid, while my favorite Canadian script site makes me feel like a kindergartener.

Credit cards are used in Japan but not as much as the states, probably more like late 70's US usage.

The biggest on-line shopping is at yahoo auctions, possibly amazon.co.jp and some esoteric sites that cover baby, pet, and what not goods.

So, I put the ecommerce problem on the shoulders of the hosting sites Japan that charge like $100 a month for 100 megs of space with "possibly cgi ability", most likely no SSI ability, and charge another $50 for 10 megs of mySQL of space.

I know the major Sapporo only located private IP dialup / hosting company's owner pretty well and he pisses me off all the time by his stinginess. Probably doesn't help that he freelances out his sys admin and got majorly hacked back a few years ago.

The pundits on TV talk up broadband like it's the best thing in the universe but nobody has any idea what the real life situation is when it comes to hosting. It's pretty sick when I call up my IP guy and complain about this - that - and this but he says "you have no clue and must be wrong" .... hehe ... I get emails later saying "oh you were right" all the time.

Oh well.
Online transactions are still looked with suspicion everywhere but noneless sales worldwide keep climbing every year.

I know that the japanese governmet has commited itslef to the broadband, but what mesaures are been done to stimulate online sales and levels of thrust? Is the private sector alone in its struggle to fidelize and gather new clients?

As for Portugal goes, there isn't any government help in dissipating myths (beware of the evil hackers and so on) but the big resellers have started to bet on the net and they advertise their new services on the mass-media.

Hmmm.... this started as a webdesign thread, not a webcommerce one., but it's still interesting.
No wonder...

Online personal data leaks at 1 in 10 major Japanese firms

Nearly one in 10 major Japanese companies experienced leaks of personal data collected through the Internet and e-mail, according to a Kyodo News survey.

=> home.kyodo.co.jp/all/display.jsp?an=20021102033
May be the topic of good Japanese web design and ecommerce are not unrelated.

The slow uptake of ecommerce in Japan is probably the contributing factor behind the poor design. If there is no money to made from the sites then why spend lots of money on a good designer. :p

The closed shop nature of Japan's banking system is a major contributor to the lack of ecommerce. The banking system does not provide competitive priced ecommerce options, thus causing a log jam.

I don't know why you host your sites in Japan if you have so much trouble. Our Japanese language site is hosted in the USA and 70%+ of its readers are in Japan.

See what you think of its design, it is done by a Japanese designer in Australia: http://www.ozlifestyle.info/content/sight_seeing/qld/cairns/cairns.html
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