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Back to school marketing in Japan !? What is 'April New life support" campaigns in Japan?

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

In the last blog post, we revealed what Hanami season is and how companies are using this seasonal event for their business promotion. Today we will cover another important season that happens in April: New life ( Shin-seikatsu )

What is New life ( Shin-seikatsu ) in Japanese?

Shin-seikatsu literally translates to “New life.” Japanese April represents new beginnings. Lots of companies start their fiscal year in April. Kids start school in April. ‘Back to school week or month’ are famous terms used by American marketers. Shin-seikatsu is sort of the equivalent to the term when it comes to school concepts. As a matter of fact, one of the most heavily sold items for parents during this month is the school bag (ランドセル).

randoseru - Back to school in Japan Marketing
Photo from

A Randoseru (ランドセル) is a Japanese elementary school student's hard-sided bag constructed of stitched firm leather or leather-like synthetic material. Traditionally, these bags are gifted to children and they bring them to school every day until they graduate.

Parents buy new stationeries and other school-related supplies for their kids in April.

One of the most recent example campaigns from a company using Shinseikatsu season for promotion can be drawn by 「ともだちになろうカルタ」- Let’s be friends Karuta by Sony Creative Products Inc. in march 2022 with sesame streets.

Shinseikatsu Sesami street
Photo from Sony creative products PR times

These Karuta cards come with messages to encourage and support children who are just entering elementary school this year. These Karuta cards that include various characters also teach children a sense of accepting diversity. The campaign posters appeared in a total of 20 stations in the Tokyo metropolitan stations where People can download this Karuta for free on their phones and print them out to play with them. The posters are displayed for only a limited time from 3/28 - 4/10.

Sesami street in Japan
Photo from Sogo Shinbun - 【SCP】セサミストリートが新生活を応援。東急沿線主要20駅に交通広告を掲出

We have been focusing a lot on kids, though the means of shinseikatsu isn’t just limited to young children.

Spring new life support campaigns are common promotions for electronics, furniture, and mobile plans. The reason behind this is, that universities also start around this time of the year when many university students move from their hometowns to their university towns, and many workers may move to a new location due to their companies sending them to a different location.

Japan Spring Marketing
Photo from Iris Plaza

Iris Praza increased the points shoppers can earn from shopping for their furniture and electronics to 15% which can be used for a discount. ( Spring 2022 )

Japan Spring Marketing Campaigns
Photo from Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten Mobile launched shinseikatu support campaign where 乗り換え users ( users that switch their phones from another company to Rakuten carrier) would get a maximum of 35000 yen back in points which can be used to buy the phones. ( 3/8/2022 - )

JCB Spring Campaign
Photo from JCB Spring Campaign

Credit card company JCB is hosting a giveaway campaign in the name of a new life support campaign where a JBC card user can apply for $1000 cash rewards. ( 2/16/2022 - )

NTT communications  spring campaign
Photo from NTT communications

NTT communications offer their wifi service OCN Hikari for free as a new life support campaign for as long as six months starting from January 17th, 2022.

Spring Marketing for cosmetic brand in Japan
Photo from

Color contact brand, Bambi, offers complementary lips and cosmetics along with a 10% off coupon.

These are a few examples of how Japanese companies use shin-seikatsu campaigns. Using this campaign, companies can target:

Parents of toddlers, elementary school students, junior high school students, and high school students. As briefly mentioned, the Japanese school system begins its year in April and ends in March because of this, the parents are more willing to spend money on school-related goods around this time.

First-year university students. High school students graduate from their schools and move away from home for the first time in their lives to go to their universities. This means these people need to set up their own life and apartments to start their new lives. This explains why companies like Wifi providers, phone carriers, and credit card companies also join this campaign. In addition, it’d make sense for a brand like Bambi, a brand that has young female customers to join the campaign.

Finally, companies also send their employees to a different brunch in April as it is the beginning of the fiscal year. For this reason, April is a very active month for companies who provide services related to moving and furniture and electronics companies.

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