I love the style of this animation by Japanese artist and designer Kenichi Tanaka. The infographics are simple and easy and keep you engaged, and the approach and subject matter fit beautifully.
I’m not all that sure about his assertion that Japan is ‘the strange country’ though – he seems to concentrate on two broad themes: Japanese cultural peculiarities and generic bad stuff associated with almost all developed nations. So whilst it’s interesting to know about the issues of Japanese girls’ obsession with dieting and brands, food waste, wasteful water imports, disposable chopsticks, overfishing etc, I don’t think they’re all that informative about Japan as a nation – we Brits have similar issues, as do most industrialised (or post industrialised) nations. Things like shyness and love hotels and suicide are much more interesting, although even the suicide statistic comes with the phrase ‘a healthy economy doesn’t necessarily make a happy economy, does it?’, which comes across as a bit obvious and trite, even if it is meant to be knowing.
But none of this should detract too much from what is a great piece of work that we enjoyed. Check it out:
UPDATE (01 April 2010): since I wrote this post Kenichi seems to have taken down the English version of the video. You can see the Japanese version here – that it makes sense without the English voiceover is testament to the quality of the graphics.
This post originally appeared on my company website here.