Here's a little reminder to those of you out there who hope to sell household products in Japan: Japanese residences are small, so your product had better fit smoothly into Japanese homes—or it doesn't have a chance of succeeding.
By way of an extreme example, consider a typical American product—the kitchen dishwasher. Many Japanese kitchens don't have enough room for stove, let alone a dishwasher. So, until about five or six years ago dishwashers were rare in Japan—there just wasn't any place to put them.
But things change. These days, Japanese home appliance manufacturers have made quite a few models available. What's eye-opening about them is that they're nothing like an American-style dishwasher. Designed to address the Japanese space issue, almost all are meant to sit atop kitchen counters.
The item shown here is the Sharp QW-SC1 which is just 46 cm (18 inches) tall, weighs about 55 kg (121 pounds) and costs about ¥40,000 (about $330). As you can see, its holds the number of dishes and utensils that two people might use in consuming two typical Japanese-style meals. Granted, this is on the small side, even for Japanese dishwashers—but even the larger models are still only a few inches taller (some can fit twice as many items as this model thanks to greater depth, but they're still designed to fit on countertops).
Obviously, this issue of size extends to washing machines, furniture, household fixtures, and even packaged goods. If it's "American size" it will be nearly impossible to sell in Japan.
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