Have you ever heard of a shop called “Daiso”? Daiso is a large franchise of 100-yen shop founded in Japan. You might have heard of the name even if you haven’t been to Japan since Daiso has locations in twenty-six countries and regions worldwide.
What kind of items Daiso sells?
This is a difficult question because there are a ton of items in Daiso shops. The number of their products is about 70,000, and Daiso Industries Co., Ltd. has developed 99% of them. The company has 1,400 cooperative companies in forty-five countries, and they release almost 700 of new items every month. Every time you go to a Daiso shop, you can find many new items. This is one of the reasons that Daiso is the most popular 100-yen shop in Japan.
I visited the Daiso shop located in 錦糸町(Kinshi-cho). This Daiso shop is the largest one in Tokyo. They have a section of Japanese style things!
Beckoning cats (lucky cats) and other stuffs
Japanese bowls and plates
Fans with Kanji 祭 (matsuri = festival)
Hair ornaments with Japanese designs
Sushi shaped key-rings (If you want to buy a sushi shaped key-ring with high quality, I’d recommend you should go to a shop of food samples!)
They also have various types of goods.
Chemical light sticks (You can buy them even if you are not Otaku!)
Dish washing detergents
Kitchenware (ladles, lunch boxes, plastic trays)
Accessories (earrings, false eyelashes)
Wallets, coin cases
Glasses, rice bowls, tea pots, plates
Wine bottles (They are not 100 yen unfortunately. They cost 550 yen, and they are still reasonable.)
Special plates for soba and udon noodles
Sanrio goods (clips, hooks, magnets)
Sanrio goods (makeup remover sheets, pill cases, shower caps etc)
Sanrio goods (plastic cups, bowls, etc)
Daiso has seasonal goods for each season. (I took those pictures at Daiso shop located near my house, not Kinshi-cho)
The convenient items!
This is a special container for cooking spaghetti. You don’t need to boil water to cook spaghetti if you use this item. You can measure 100g of spaghetti by using a whole of the container. All you have to do is to put spaghetti 100g, some water (there’s a scale inside the container) and a pinch of salt into the container, and just heat it up in a microwave (500W or 600W) for four or five minutes.
It looks like a normal candle, but it is LED light. It may not sound great since LED light is not rare anymore, but what I think great about this item is that has a censer and you can turn on and off just by blowing the part of its fire. Besides, you don’t need to worry about small children since the fire is not real. Even if your child touches the fire, it is not dangerous at all!
It can be used as a lid of a bowl or plate instead of plastic wrap. This is eco-friendly and economical too!
Strange items that I found at Daiso shop
Mannequins (I don’t understand why Daiso sells them…)
Cockroach-magnets (They are a toy for children to make somebody surprised. I can tell they are not real cockroaches at a glance, but still they are gross…Eek!)
Why can Daiso sell a lot of items for 100 yen?
According to their website, there are three reasons as follows.
(1) Daiso Industrial Co., Ltd. does the following by themselves; product planning, manufacturing, exporting and importing, logistics operating, and retailing their items by themselves. They can save costs by not outsourcing those works.
(2) They have sales capability that sell mass-produced items at 4,950 shops all over the world. The more items they make at one time, the lower it costs for one item. The mass-production and mass-distribution make it possible to generate profit.
(3) They have great human resources. There are many employees who want to make customers happy and they are making efforts every day.
You would notice that many of their products except snacks are made in China if you saw the labels. They have many factories in China to save costs of manufacturing. They make product planning in Japan, but the place that the items are made is in China. In recent years, the personnel expenses in China is getting higher and higher, and some Japanese companies are moving their factories from China to South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia in order to save their personnel expenses. I don’t know if it will happen someday, but Daiso might do the same thing to maintain the costs of their products.
大創産業株式会社 (Daiso Industries Co.,Ltd.) was founded by 矢野博丈(Hirotake Yano) in 1977 in Hiroshima, Japan. 大 means “big”, and 創 means “to create”. The founder named the company 大創 wising to create something big. Hirotake Yasiano had sold goods with a street-vending shop called Yano shokai before he had his own shop, and the history of Daiso began. Around 1980 in Japan, 100-yen shops usually buy goods under 70 yen from wholesale stores and sell them to customers at 100 yen. Because of this system, the quality of goods at 100 -yen shops were not very good at that time. However, Hirotake Yano made efforts and didn’t change selling rate even when he bought goods at 98 yen or sometimes over 100 yen. This lead good reputations that his shop sells good items at 100 yen, and Daiso grows gradually.
After the collapse of the bubble economy in Japan (1991~), people’s motivation to buy things decreased, but it was a great chance for Daiso. It is natural that people want to buy things with lower prices when the economy is not good. Daiso increased the number of shops rapidly due to their various types of goods and the reasonable price. Even if the profit of selling for one item is small, customers buy many goods for one time of their shopping thanks to the variety of Daiso’s items. That strategy succeeded, and they can make profits.
Although most of the items in Daiso shops cost 100 yen (+ 8% tax), they also have items which cost 150 yen ~ 1,575 yen. Please be careful and look at price tags before you put the item into your shopping bag just in case.
I like to go to a Daiso shop to find an interesting item. If you want to find something convenient or buy Japanese souvenirs with reasonable price, a Daiso shop is one of good choices!