Sanrio's Website "Enjoy Idol Series" for Oshikatsu Fans

Sanrio Develops Goods for Japan’s “Oshikatsu” Idol Subculture

A Japanese brand, Sanrio - a company famous for its characters such as Hello Kitty and Gudetama - recently launched a specialty product line called the “Enjoy Idol Series.” This line of products target the country’s numerous “oshikatsu” fans – people who ardently and actively support a specific idol, anime character, online influencer or other entertainers.

The Sanrio goods are designed to intimately appeal to and meet the needs of fans closely following live performances, release events, and other idol activities. Ranging from customized accessories to merch for publicly displaying dedication, the oshikatsu-focused items cater to devotees’ interests more precisely than traditional Sanrio wares.

While Sanrio has built its pop culture empire through cutely designing, rigorously promoting, and maintaining strict branding around its own vast character portfolio properties like Hello Kitty and Gudetama, this calculated venture diverges by offering goods implicitly promoting competing performers outside Sanrio’s stable.

So why would such an established character company develop products seemingly boosting other talents?

Appealing to a Growing Subculture: Japan's Rising "Oshikatsu" Fan Economy

The popularity of the concept of “oshikatsu” has steadily grown in Japanese youth and anime subculture since the late 2010s. Unlike simply supporting a musical group or team as a whole, oshikatsu fans intensely devote themselves to passionately following and purchasing anything related to beloved individual singers, actors, personalities, voice actors, or even fictional characters.

This intimate loyalty drives substantial "support consumption" spending on goods, live events, fan club memberships, and donations to demonstrate dedication. Surveys indicate over half of Japanese consumers want to financially support struggling entertainment organizations and people they genuinely appreciate. This cultural mindset enables the oshikatsu business opportunity.

Sanrio's Oshikatsu Items

However, companies must tread carefully around attempts to create products oshikatsu fans will genuinely embrace and organically promote themselves through wearing publicly or showcasing on social media.

Unless offerings truly satisfy wants through understanding the oshikatsu psychology and properly intuiting actual fans’ wishes, they risk being seen as shallow attempts at exploitation.

Sanrio likely debated this balance extensively in internal product planning sessions. While specific market research data is unavailable, success requires carefully crafting offerings that resonate as authentic to real oshikatsu fans.

Sanrio Mascots Positioned as Complementary Sidekicks

Fortunately, Sanrio characters boast unique strengths matching this market’s demographics and expectations. Women overwhelmingly drive most oshikatsu fandoms, and female consumers across generations already widely support Sanrio’s brands from childhood.

Additionally, lacking elaborate backstories that could interfere with dedicated oshikatsu perception, Sanrio mascots are positioned to play purely complementary supporting roles, accentuating an idol’s image rather than stealing any spotlight.

Sanrio making available for Oshikatsu Fans to select which items to buy based on colors and characters

Moreover, decades of Sanrio cross-promotions embedding characters through collaborations with various Japanese media, retailers, restaurants, and public prefectures cement them as flexibly “cute” additions able to organically blend into others’ creative worlds.

Sanrio mascots have cultivated public familiarity as ultimate collaborators fitting into any setting or story – whether as minor background players, props complementing a scene, or even figuratively standing beside lead stars.

Expanding into a Niche Market by Leading with Brand Strengths

Oshikatsu Items Including Bags to carry around your "oshi" at all times

Through leveraging awareness of oshikatsu consumer psychology, boasting immense popularity with the Japanese female demographic, and wielding adaptable mascots. Sanrio has crafted a clever brand extension strategy allowing continued market growth.

Offering oshikatsu accessories lets Sanrio avoid seeming exploitative by providing intimate products fans genuinely want to support their favored idols and characters. Sanrio’s crossover finesse could unlock wider merchandise consumption by effectively supporting instead of stealing attention.

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