Color Preferences in Japan


Thank you for your coming. This page is telling about color preferences in Japan. In general tendency, there are differences between Pure preferences in colors and Merchandise preferences in colors, as you know.
For example, In Japan, People like (as merchandise colors) black, navy blue, white, beige, light gray, charcoal gray and brown. In recent years younger people tend to take more vivid colors just like in 60s colors, such as lime, orange, yellow as for garments or household goods. Of course, in these areas, the color preferences are always moving like waves. How would you like to say in your country?
In this page, I tell about Pure preferences in Japan based on the web color research from April to July 1997. The cooperators to this research are 117 people. This number of people is not so many, but you can learn about an outline of color preferences in Japan.

Men say "We like blue best!". Ladies say "We love pink!"

Men like blue and ladies love pink. As you see at the table below, Men like blue, light green, turquoise etc., or cool colors.
Ladies' colors are light pink, strong pink, red etc., which are reddish and warm ones, and next to these, turquoise, blue and purple.
In this results, generally say, Male like Bluish colors and Female like Reddish ones. This is very Japanese tendency in color preference. And as to the width of selected ranges on colors, ladies have more variety than men's.

Table. Selected colors (Total, sex, ages)

total Male Female
13-15 16-18 19-22 23-29 30-39 40-49 50-59
- -
- - -
- - -
- - -

Here you see the result on the left table. The cooperators to this research are not so many that I do not show selected rate but only well selected colors. In general, they tend to select light or strong colors.
As to the relation to recent fashion trends in Japanese market, 60s or 70s feeling is popular, plus brown has got also fashionable since 1995. In this connection, yellow, orange ,lime and brown are remarkable.
This result is taken from a very simple question that only asked "What is your most favorite color?". The selected colors like this are called "Pure preferences". In pure preferences, there are world wide trends that people love BLUE, and if you say about preferences in numbers, 7 is the best. So that this tendency called "The law of Blue Seven". In this point of view, the law is just fittable to this result too.

Next, I tell about the Hue. The Table below is the result on the hue selected. In this table, black means Neutral colors such as white, gray and black. From your left side of the table, you can see total, male, female and ages.

Also in this analysis, the tendency of cool colors in men and warm colors in ladies is very clear. From age 19 to 49, the rates of warm colors (total of pink, red, orange, brown and yellow ) are getting down according to getting up their ages. In warm colors, fashionable colors such as brown and orange are particulary getting down according to getting elder. It seems that this tendency shows the difference of the sensitivity to fashion colors among their ages that elder people become unconscious to fashion colors. Age 50-59 has only one people, its result is not reliable.

Blues and Pinks are good for goods

If you are a color designer, you may be interested in how to get good selling colors for your goods. How do you feel about the result of this research?
In Japanese market, people tend not to like aggressive, strong colors in general except some special cases. If you take some hints from this research, useable colors are turquoise and pink, It seems that they are good colors for goods. In fact, these colors are not so risky in many markets in Japan. In addition to these, light green (this color is called "peppermint green" in Japan ) is also not so risky.
Preferred colors like this kind of research are sometimes very different from real merchandise colors as I said in previous section. But I would like to say that it is worthy to give it a try to use these colors along with the basic colors in markets such as black, navy etc. These light colors are seemed to go well with white especially. Take care not to use in aggressive atmosphere.

Subdued look in color is not liked in pure preference?

Next, I would like to say about the tones of colors. In the table below, it shows the result in tones. From your left side, it shows total, men, ladies and ages. And this time red means strong tone, cream yellow means light colors, gray-grayish tone, brown-dull tone and black means dark colors.

People love bright, clear and light colors especially in this kind of "pure preferences". This tendency is not only seen in this research but you can also find the same in other researchs. Female strongly shows this tendency. You can also find the same in the result of younger ages, getting younger, people like pure and light clear colors more.
But you may not always find this tendency in real goods. In younger ages, they sometimes select darker or sober colors that give them a more adult look especially in garments. This "bright color preference" is seen in stationery, tools for working, etc. which have distance from their bodies and which are used just like their friends. It may show that color is the reflection of their mind to goods which they like to have, but they does not select well for their own looks. They may not want to be seen baby like.

From a psychological point of view...

How do you feel about the story above. Finally, I would like to take this result from a psychological point of view and the tide of their mind.

Far from here. To pure and innocent world.

The feeling unconsciously "It's beautiful." or "I love it." is very important. Because it is an unexpressed part of the mind which people want to get. The color Blue which selected most may show that people want to be clean in mind just like the clean and pure blue of the sky and water. On the contrary, it may also mean that there are too many things being not clear in this real world. The selection of fresh blue and green seems to show the wants to go into clean and natural world.
The age from 19 to 30, green is selected more according to getting elder. The age 30's is very busy age in their job, taking care of their children and housekeeping. Rest, peace and healing are typical images of green. They may need rest and peaceful atomosphere.

Dreaming twenties

Pink is selected very many by young ladies. In researchs for color symbols, it is said that pink symbolizes tenderness, dream, love, hope, femininity, happiness and warmth. This color pink is very suitable for ladies. In this my research, I would like to say that they want to have dream, hope toward their future and to be tender in mind.
Younger age 19 to 22, orange also selected many. Orange is the color of love and the sun or hope. Young is the age looking for their self identity. Their wants may be to get hopeful future.
Dream in Pink and Hope in Orange. Dream also means the escape from reality. The real world sometimes gives you many difficulties. The color selection seems to show the hopeful mind to their future as well as the wants to escape from their daily realities.

Get your best world!

Finally say, They may need to be clean or to be innocent, to be hopeful, to have dreams and to take rest. This may reflect the tide that people want to take the time to think slowly and deeply of their ideal world. They may be looking for the things which give them something vivid or fresh.
I felt these in this research.
Many thanks to the cooperators.

If you have any opinion about the research, why don't you discuss in the bulletin board "Color Dream Net Club House"?

Outline of the research

The color palette for the research

This jpg image was used for the selection. There are 39 colors.

The cooperator's profile

Answered Number : 117 people
Male 51(44%)/Female 66(56%)
The details in ages

13-17 : 7 ( 6%)
16-18 : 5 ( 4%)
19-22 : 26 (30%)
23-29 : 39 (46%)
30-39 : 27 (32%)
40-49 : 12 (14%)
50-59 : 1 ( 1%)

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