In Japan, companies are known to get very creative with the way they advertise their products.
Some involve catchy tunes, addictive dances, or even short stories!
One thing is for sure, a memorable advertisement can capture our attention and stay with us.
Japanese advertisements are always so unique, and can range from silly, to exciting, to heartwarming.
Here are our 6 favorite cute, and sometime a little weird, Japanese commercials!
By far the most hilarious commercial series is by Sakeru Gummy, featuring the long, looong man!
Sakeru Gummy is a popular Japanese grape candy with a soft, chewy texture. We've included it in our Japanese Sweets Pack before.
This series follows Chi-chan and her boyfriend Tohru. The couple love the regular Sakeru Gummy, however, they continuously encounter a mysterious man with the loooong Sakeru Gummy!
The video above is a compilation of all the adverts in chronological order, so you can follow the hilarious story of Sakeru Gummy vs Long Sakeru Gummy.
With all its twists and turns crammed into 30-second advertisements, the shorts are like watching an extremely condensed version of a drama series. By the end, we were dying of laughter!
Who will Chi-chan choose?
Nissin doesn’t just make tasty instant ramen, but also some of the best Japanese ramen commercials!
The Hungry Days series of animated commercial shorts has stunning animation and a soundtrack by the band Bump of Chicken.
These shorts also reference popular anime like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Heidi: Girl of The Alps. Another set features characters from Final Fantasy IV eating Nissin Cup Noodles! They also collaborated with One Piece in 2019 to celebrate the anime’s 20th anniversary.
In particular, the Hungry Days series caught our eye. Reimagining characters like Kiki and Heidi in a modern setting makes us want to rewatch the original anime over and over again.
Part of the commercial shows the sketches and other concept art for the animations, with a tagline that says: “Could the next protagonist be you?” (次の主人公はあなたかもしれない?)
This series by the company Marukome shows several parts of domestic life in several stages.
The focus on Japanese families, such as a mother caring for her sick son, two children who try to cook their father a meal, and an elderly man caring for his wife who can no longer walk.
These shorts are just as heartwarming as a bowl of homemade miso soup!
These commercials show that miso soup is essential to the taste of home. When you’re feeling lonely or homesick, the taste of a home cooked meal is sure to lift your spirits.
The Marukome advertisements do well at putting together short stories with a sweet message. We're not crying...you are!
Does this kind of story seem familiar? Two unlikely people who are oddly connected and similar - one lives in the heart of Tokyo, and the other in a far-off area of Japan. And somehow, one day, they meet in Tokyo.
If you were thinking of the story from Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa), then you’re not far off at all.
This short commercial comes from director Makoto Shinkai himself, and was released two years before Kimi no Na Wa. It manages to capture our hearts and give us a glimpse of a happy ending, too! (We almost wish it was a real movie!)
What is this commercial actually for? It’s a cram school service! Cram schools are popular in Japan for students to catch up on their studies or prepare for university exams. For those who aren’t able to go to one physically, Z-Kai provides a mail-in option so that you can still get the educational benefits.
McDonalds once launched this cute, anime-style advertisement in order to entice young people to work there part-time. It features the story of a young girl who becomes an employee at the McDonalds, and goes through her training with an older “senpai” coworker. Even though she slips up or messes up, her senpai is always there to show her the ropes!
Eventually, when the older coworker leaves, the young girl we’ve been following invites another young girl to join them, continuing the cycle and legacy that she experienced, too.
The tagline, “connecting to my future,” encourages people to start their careers at McDonalds, as it's a great first-time or part-time job.
Pocari Sweat is a popular Japanese sports drink, which you can find in most vending machines and convenience stores.
It once launched a series of advertisements with energetic choreography, focusing on different aspects of daily life at a Japanese high school. The commercials feature a high school baseball team, a group of friends, and entire classes of students studying or cleaning up at the end of the school day (a real chore in schools across Japan!)
The catchy song’s lyrics also talk about the current generation of high school students, their struggles, their joys, and most importantly, their dreams! The lyrics “kimi no yume wa boku no yume,” translates into “your dream is my dream.”
The last advertisement in this compilation is also special as it is done completely without an instrumental track! All the other sounds are done acapella or with the dancers’ bodies, which gives an extremely powerful effect which blows us away.
Complement these #onlyinjapan videos with some authentic Japanese snacks, ramen and candy. Choose from:
ZenPop's Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack (May theme: Sunny Snacks)
This blog was written by Sam: Sam is a university student interested in everything in otaku culture, from video games to anime. Growing up, she spent several hours in front of the TV watching mahou shoujo shows, and now binges entire seasons of anime within in a few hours. She loves to attend conventions in cosplay and always stops to take pictures of stray cats.