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Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

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Shoplifting is more common in Japan than we’d like to think. Though numbers are dropping, last year shoplifting amounted to 11.8 percent of crimes recorded by the Japanese police according to the National Shoplifting Prevention Organization.

Convenience stores, in particular, are an easy target for this kind of petty crime. Dealing with a severe labor shortage that currently leaves 61 percent of them in short supply of workers, the konbini is a top choice among thieves. While most stores have installed security cameras, mirrors, and conduct staff training around the warning signs, warding off potential shoplifters seems to be a losing battle.

Crime prevention meets marketing

While shopping at a 7-Eleven in Chikushino, Fukuoka Prefecture, Twitter user @natady_ spotted quite an interesting ポップ, standing short for ポップ広告こうこく (point-of-purchase advertising), promoting a set of 3 packs of メカブ, a variety of wakame — a popular edible seaweed in Japan.

この角度かくどからめてくるポップははじめてた = That’s the first time I’ve seen an ad taking this kind of approach.

On the yellow sign displayed in front, you can read 万引まんび人気にんき N°1 which stands for: “No. 1 popular (item) with shoplifters.”

It’s a claim that would certainly stir up the customers’ curiosity while being a good visual cue to ward off potential shoplifters. Unfortunately, within less than a day the buzzing tweet had reached the marketing department of Seven & I Holdings which considered this store’s initiative as going a little bit “too far,” according to the Niconico news site.

How to express popularity in Japanese

The noun 人気にんき can be used in various ways to express that someone or something has popularity.

人気がある = to be popular
人気がる = to become popular
人気歌手かしゅ = a popular singer

Note that in the case of 人気, we’re referring to the popularity that isn’t limited in time or scale. It simply states that something or someone is known by a lot of people. Now if you want to refer to a fad, like in fashion or music, you’ll use the verb 流行はや which means that here and now something’s fashionable or trendy.

いま女子中高生じょしちゅうこうせいあいだではなに流行 はやってるの? = What’s currently fashionable among middle and high school girls?

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
角度かくど kakudo angle, perspective
から kara from
める semeru to attack
ポップ, ポップ広告こうこく
poppu koukoku point-of-purchase  advertising (POP)
はじめて hajimete for the first time
miru to see
メカブ mekabu edible seaweed
万引まんび manbiki shoplifter, shoplifting
人気にんき ninki popularity

deru to come out, to emerge (popularity)
いま ima now
女子中高生じょしちゅうこうせい joshichuukousei middle and high school girl(s)
あいだ aida among
なに nani what
流行はや
hayaru be in fashion

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