In order to understand modern America, it is important to see consumption from a different perspective. Consumption is strongly related to identity and citizenship, which we don’t usually notice in our daily lives. I’d like to take American women in their 30s for example. Their identities are mostly determined by cosmetics, housework, child care, and so on. Thus they consume cosmetic products, clothes, magazines, cookware, groceries, cleaning supplies, diapers, children’s toys, and the like. For instance, Barbie, the most famous doll in America, is commonly used to teach children how women should look, such as an ideal body size and color of skin as American women. As you can see from patriotic Barbie, it enlightens children about the country itself too. Also teddy bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt, and buying teddy bear to children means they show support to the president. In this way, these three factors like consumption, identity, and citizenship are strongly connected to each other.
In Japan, on the other hand, it seems that there are fewer products which convey certain messages, compared to America. There are, however, some companies which made products with certain messages, and Coca cola Japan is a good example. It has promoted Ayataka green tea, and it advertised Aytaka, implying that Japanese people have the keenest sense of taste in the world. In other words, it tried to sell products, making Japanese people feel good about themselves compared with people from other countries. Naturally, it has become controversial, but I think it is very interesting.
Certainly, there are a lot of differences about how people feel, so the way the companies sell products is very different. What is important is to notice there are a lot of factors which involve in our lives and culture, and try to understand the culture.