Things are not always what they seem and though it’s not necessarily always a bad thing, it will definitely bring up some trust issues. This may come as a surprise to some people but a certain popular “Japanese” brand is finally apologising for pretending to be something they’re not.
Recently, Chinese discount retail shop MINISO released a public apology after marketing itself as a Japanese brand since 2013. Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, MINISO is actually a Chinese brand, not Japanese. This is not hidden information, but the global retail shop has been getting a lot of backlash and it’s currently trying to set things right.
This explains why MINISO (メイソウ) did not use the correct Japanese (Katakana) characters (ミニソウ) for the logo. Alas, now we know why. Last week, the discount variety store posted an official statement of apology on its page on Chinese microblogging website Weibo. In the statement, the company apologised for branding and marketing themselves as Japanese since its launch.
“We did use wrong brand positioning and marketing campaigns during the early days. We are regretful,” they stated. The lifestyle brand is now currently working on ‘de-Japanising’ itself by end of March of next year. The initiation has actually already started since 2020 where MINISO has replaced all its Japanese style shopping bags and finally changing the logo from Japanese characters to Chinese characters.
The company also emphasised that they will hold the executives responsible for coming up with the Japanese branding approach. While it’s “better late than never“, Chinese netizens considered MINISO’s apology a little too late with many pointing out that the company have used Japanese flags for public events, ceremonies and store openings.
Since its launch in 2013, MINISO has actually been heavily criticised as a “copycat” for having similar aesthetics to well known Japanese brands such as UNIQLO, MUJI and Daiso. Despite the backlash even back then, the variety shop has still managed to expand its business in Asia, Europe and North America.