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Opinion

Super-customization -- a lifeline for Japan Inc?

While companies elsewhere are also targeting 'only for you,' Japan has big advantages

| Japan
Using the dotted bodysuit and a smartphone app, Zozo customers can take 3D images of their bodies with measurements from their neck to their ankles. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

From Hong Kong to Dubai to Tokyo, it is hard today to tell one high-end retail scene from another. Global brands are everywhere with identical facades and similar seasonal offerings. In fact, the further upmarket we go, the more consistency prevails. It is as if the customers all want to look the same.

This is quite in contrast with the wealthy upper-classes of a century ago. Anybody who has watched Downton Abbey, the popular television costume drama, can see that everything from furniture to dress, jewelry and perfume was custom-made to an individual's liking.

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