Is there more to Japan than just anime and outrageously funny gameshows? We would believe it. The Land of the Rising Sun and its inhabitants have for more than a century not only been a huge number of tourist attractions, but also living bees, which is why the country is home to many successful companies. But at TopTenz we like to separate "successfully" from "cool". Even if these companies are not the richest, we think they are the coolest. From video games to watches and cars, you'll find that many of these great Japanese brands have come to be known around the world.
Surprisingly, the company that was responsible for the insanely popular Mario character (and slightly more popular Luigi) began as early as 1
. 9 Canon
Among the photo enthusiasts who do not know the name Canon? For many decades, the company has been producing fantastic cameras, lenses, camcorders, projectors and perhaps less exciting: printers and scanners. It could be said that Canon's PowerShot and Ixus compact cameras have been hit hard by the massive growth in smartphone camera lens technology. However, the company's digital SLRs – especially the EOS series – are considered the best in the business photography field. Canon also offers amateurs a chance to win recognition by sponsoring numerous photo contests and skill workshops around the world, with cash or equipment usually priced.
. 8 Seiko
Seiko makes beautiful luxury watches, which may be unusual given that many of the world's luxury watch brands are based in Switzerland (Rolex, IWC, Omega, Tag Heuer, Patek Philippe, etc.). But credit, where credit is due, as Seiko pioneer since 1881 and actually produces the Astron: the world's first quartz watch in 1969. Since then, Seiko is very active in the production of high-quality mechanical watches, many of which are now vintage and in the second-hand market in value shot. Perhaps the coolest is that Seiko created the H558-5009 and Giugiaro 7A28-7000, which were worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens 7. Sony [19659009SeriouslywhatdoesnotSonyproduce?TVsgameconsolessmartphonescamerasheadphonesvirtualrealityheadsetsandevenmusicandmoviesSonyseemstodoitallItistruethatthecompany'simagewasseverelycurtailedin2014whenahackergroupdeletedpersonaldataandpublishedthousandsofcontroversialemailsamongseniorstaffbutSonyhassincerecoveredandisstillconsideredabigtechbrandAlthoughSonywouldneverreallybefunwithitssmartphones(theXperiaisatbestaverage)PSVitaWalkmanDiscmanandofcoursethePlayStationarejustsomeofthemostnotableproductsreleasedsincethecompanywasfoundedin1946AmazinglyNintendoinadvertentlyhelpedSonycreatetheoriginalPlayStationinthe1990s
. 6 Uniqlo
It seems to be a simple business model, but Uniqlo has become massively popular all over the world by producing high quality clothing that is not too flashy or particularly expensive. Uniqlo is reported to have around 788 stores in Japan, of which about 100 are in Tokyo. Although you can usually see simple colors and patterns on Uniqlo products, it gets a bit crazy from time to time. The brand's UT graphics T-shirt range has seen partnerships with Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and even electronic music company Roland, which is also Japanese.
. 5 Asics
For high-quality footwear and sports equipment, many Asics consider them to be true specialists in this field – more than Nike or Adidas. Asics, an acronym for the Latin phrase "anima sana in corpore sano" (translated "healthy soul in a healthy body"), began in 1949 as Onitsuka Tiger, but became officially Asics in 1977 due to a merger. Nevertheless, some shoes are still sold under the name Onitsuka Tiger, perhaps as a tribute to their founder Kihachiro Onitsuka. Nike co-founder Phil Knight was reportedly impressed by Onitsuka Tiger visiting Japan in 1963 and selling the shoes in the United States. Knight is also said to have recruited engineers from Onitsuka Tiger at the time Nike was created. The Mexico 66 sneakers were also featured in Game of Death with Bruce Lee and Kill Bill with Uma Thurman. Asics recently teamed up with DJ Steve Aoki for a new line of street shoes.
It's quite difficult to pick just one popular Japanese car manufacturer (Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda are all great), but Honda is definitely the coolest. This has a lot to do with two of his best vehicles, mainly the NSX and the Civic Type R, as they are both exquisite and fantastic to drive. Honda's marketing also has a lot to do with its popularity because the slogan "The Power of Dreams" is one of those you just are not fed up with, let alone the amazing 2-minute video ad for the Accord – often cited as one the best ads of all time.
It is fair to say that Sega did not come close to being the driving force once in the 90s, but for a while, head-to-head with Nintendo was to see which company could be more popular as home Console – especially with the Genesis. Sonic is a revered video game character, though the quality of the games has not always been stunning and solid franchises like Golden Ax, Streets of Rage and The House of the Dead have ensured that Sega is respected in the industry. The Dreamcast console ruined the company financially in 1998, as it was a monumental failure for a number of reasons, but many players still love Sega very much.
. 2 Studio Ghibli
Although Studio Ghipli's name may not be as well known as other animation studios (namely, Disney), the production house and its lead actor Hayao Miyazaki are absolute Japanese national treasures. Virtually every movie released by the studio becomes the most successful picture of the year in Japan. English-language versions tend to be well out of the country, such as 1997 Princess Mononoke 1988 is my neighbor Totoro and 2010 The Secret World of Arrietty but there's no doubt that Studio Ghibli's best hour was with the Spirited Away of 2001. The enchanting story of a young girl's struggle to find his family after being trapped in a fantasy world was a miracle to behold, with the film also winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003.
Yamaha is another Japanese brand that has been in action for more than 100 years when it was born in 1887 as a piano manufacturer. Since then, Yamaha has become a world leader in musical instruments, producing pianos, keyboards, guitars, basses, drums, brass, and stringed instruments as well as recording devices. The most interesting thing about Yamaha, however, is that the company has a much more extreme and louder side in the form of selling motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats, and off-road buggies. No matter where Yamaha goes in the future, its provenance will forever be reflected in the company logo, because it shows three crossed tuning forks.