During the last couple of months, we talked to a Japanese company that produces products within the healthcare industry, on how to access the Scandinavian market. This company documents their products well and focuses on relevant problems; however, having a hard time untying the knot, we needed to turn the perspective.


The core problem is that without technical knowledge, people have a hard time understanding the product; the products simply don’t “communicate” the function through their design. Hence, instead of looking at how to acquire distribution in Scandinavia, we need to examine how to make the products communicate their function.

The objective is to create a collaboration with a Danish design company by adding design value to the products and communication to create more sales in Japan, and a connection to Scandinavian sales channels.

We know the Japanese people like Danish designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjaerholm, and brands like Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen. This trust and compassion for Danish design is strong, and collaborating with a Danish design company can be a compelling selling point in Japan. Therefore, Danish design related companies from industrial—including product design to marketing—and graphic design have a good market opportunity in Japan, but it still is a relatively unexplored territory. Many of the same reasons we referred to in the journal post, “First Steps Into Japan as a Danish SME”. Some people see Japan as intimidating because of the significant cultural differences.

Danish design has a significant touch of “less is more,” and the relentless effort to simplify and make products communicate feelings and emotions has high value in Japan. Even though many young Japanese designers have a more minimalistic approach to design, similar to the Danish characteristics, historically, Japanese handcrafting, architecture, and design have a long tradition of being detailed and complex. We see this clearly in Japanese calligraphies known as “shodo”. Seen through Danish eyes, this complex writing is as much about art as it is about writing. In many ways this perception is correct—part of the beauty is the process of creating.

If we strive to illustrate that we can achieve symbiosis, Danish design knowledge can defiantly export to Japan.

Shifting our focus from Danish product design to Danish design knowledge may also push an innovative paradigm to create new opportunities.