2021 Volume 101 Pages 59-71
On May 1, 2019, Japan entered the new “Reiwa” era. It is indispensable to look back on the characteristics and issues of the Japanese society of the Heisei era, which was the previous era, as a basic work to look at the Reiwa period. This study provides an overview of Japanese society during the 30 years of the Heisei period from the perspective of the “commodities” that consumers routinely contact and the “society” that includes them. The characteristics and issues of Japan in the Heisei era and the Reiwa era are also reviewed. Section 1 summarizes the meanings of “commodity” and “consumer,” and the four conditions and two-sidedness of the product, touching on the characteristics of Japan in the Heisei period. In section 2, the characteristics of Japanese society in the Heisei period are clarified from the three perspectives of products, retail formats and consumerism, based on the considerations in section 1. In section 3, statistical data are used to confirm the characteristics of Japan in the Heisei period from a macro perspective. Based on the considerations so far, section 4 examines Japanese society during the Reiwa period from six perspectives.