Recently, our Japanese writer P.K. Sanjun was visiting Australia on official RocketNews24 business when he noticed something odd. Every now and then, he would spot a person with a T-shirt or bag with incomprehensible Japanese written on it.
Originally thinking this was just the work of some bootleggers working a local flea market, P.K. was shocked to later learn that Superdry was a fashion brand that sells all over the world…all over except for Japan, that is.
Naturally, as a Japanese person, P.K.’s eyes were focused on the kanji and hiragana characters in the brand name, which proudly proclaimed: “Kyokudo Kanso (shinasai)“, which given the style would read like “Extreme Aridity (do it).” The name had all the clunkiness of a geography term paper and P.K. couldn’t fathom what it was supposed to mean.
“What the hell do you want me to dry anyway, and why to such extremes?” he thought to himself as he kept coming across “Extreme Aridity (do it)” stores even in some rather high-end shopping centers of this Australian city.
P.K. turned to an acquaintance living in the area to find out more about the popularity of Extreme Aridity (do it). “Is it like Diesel-popular?” he asked, to which his acquaintance replied: “Oh, yes.”
The Diesel analogy turned out to be an appropriate one for P.K. to understand. Diesel, an Italian fashion brand, has many outlets in Japan and serves as a unique alternative to the cookie-cutter offerings of major chains like Uniqlo and Shimamura. This seems to be the same kind of niche that Extreme Aridity (do it) fills in other countries.
▼P.K. understandably thought these were Chinese versions of Superdry wear due to their Chinese characters printed in Chinese style, but he missed the “TRADE. MARK. JPN.” underneath.
After further investigation, P.K. learned that the brand’s proper name is Superdry which is, admittedly, much catchier. It came from a British designer who had visited Japan and was clearly taken with Asahi Super Dry Beer.
The use of Japanese language, or some form of it, and references to the country struck the right note with people in the U.K. and the brand grew to be listed on the London stock exchange. This popularity didn’t stop at the U.K. though. Superdry can now be found in numerous American and European cities, with some shops in China, South Korea, and Malaysia.
It has, however, stopped at Japan where there are currently no Superdry stores. That may change as the brand continues to grow, but they’ll probably have to ditch the Japanese writing that a lot of people here would find jarring. They could try to market it in an ironic hipster sort of way, or they might want to switch it for something more exotic to Japanese people like an Arabic script or something.