Japanese Interest in Harajuku has Skyrocketed!

Japanese language searches for Harajuku at highest point ever…

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Japanese searches for the term Harajuku are at their highest point ever. While the percentage of global internet searches for the romanized word Harajuku has been decreasing, searches for its Japanese equivalent (red in the graph below) have surged. They have almost tripled since their low point in February 2010. This month (May 2015), Japanese searches for Harajuku reached their highest point since Google started providing this data in 2004. The two opposing trends have been emerging since 2010.

This made me very curious. So I got a graph for the Japanese term for fashion. Guess what! Japanese language searches for Harajuku pretty much mimic a parallel trend for Japanese searches for the term Fashion (blue in the graph below). Considering how closely these two trends match, I figured that they might be connected somehow.

I noticed one more interesting thing. Japanese searches for Harajuku inspired pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s name (blue in graph below) surged at about the same time as the increased interest in Harajuku. Interestingly, searches for her name collapsed also at the same time that searches for Harajuku went down. Although searches for Harajuku have now rebounded, searches for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu have not. Did her meteoric rise have something to do with the surge of interest in Harajuku? Or was Kyary riding on the coattails of the renewed interest in Harajuku?

Generally, the Japanese interest in Harajuku appears to be driven by business interests. The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan are at record heights. This February some 1,387,000 people visited Japan from abroad, the highest number for a single month ever, and a year on year increase of 57.6%. Many of these visitors put Harajuku on their list of places to visit and the area is crowded for foreigners these days. As a result many new businesses are set up in the Harajuku area, and there are lots of news articles about these developments.

Still no easy answers for what is really hidden behind these Google trends. These graphs give little insight. They are interesting trends though and deserve attention.

How to Read Google Trend Charts

The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. (Source: Google)

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

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