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Impacts of Sociocultural Factors on McDonald’s Company in Japan

McDonald’s, a global fast food giant restaurant, has greatly succeeded in Japan. The company has achieved great success all over the globe, but it is particularly noteworthy in Japan. This is due to the firm’s success in catering to Japanese tastes and etiquette. This essay will examine the cultural and social elements contributing to McDonald’s success in Japan. The purpose of this essay is to explore the success of McDonald’s in the Japanese market by focusing on the company’s efforts to adapt its marketing to the country’s customs and values, including those related to religion, social organizations, gift-giving, consumer behavior, and cultural differences.

Societal organization

Because of its distinct culture, the Japanese industry is notoriously difficult to penetrate. McDonald’s needed to adapt to the Japanese market, so it studied Japanese Societal organization and adjusted its approach. McDonald’s success in Japan can be attributed in large part to its participation in a wide variety of cultural events and organizations. According to Geringer, McNett, and Ball (2019), businesses can benefit from joining local chambers of commerce, trade organizations, business clubs, and national boards of trade. The knowledge and connections gained from these groups are invaluable to companies looking to expand into new markets. Joining these groups was a great move for McDonald’s, providing the company access to valuable tools and new connections. If McDonald’s wanted to increase its profile in Japan, it did more than join relevant social organizations. They also engaged in a wide variety of artistic pursuits. McDonald’s, for instance, promoted new goods by advertising during the Olympics in Tokyo, participating in the Tokyo Marathon, and other similar events. These activities increased McDonald’s brand recognition and visibility in Japan (Singireddy, 2020).

Local culture

McDonald’s commercials in Japan have shifted to reflect cultural norms and preferences. Adapting their merchandise to the regional market is one of these. Many products and services catering to Japanese tastes have been developed (Singireddy, 2020). McDonald’s in Japan serves unique menu options like the Teriyaki McBurger (beef patty, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, and mayonnaise) and the Ebi Filet-O (shrimp patty with a crispy coating). McDonald’s has found tremendous success in Japan thanks largely to the company’s efforts to adapt its offerings to the preferences of local consumers.

“The sociocultural factors of the Japanese market, such as the cultural norms and values, have a significant impact on McDonalds’ operations in the country, as they shape the company’s marketing, pricing, and other strategic decisions.” McDonald’s has tried various marketing strategies in Japan to increase sales. For their “Touch of Japan” advertising campaign, the business recruited well-known Japanese people to act as spokespeople. They incorporated elements of Japanese culture into the decor of the eatery. Digital marketing has also been used by McDonald’s; for example, the “McDonald’s Japan App” allows customers to make orders, browse deals, and view nutritional information. These initiatives have played a crucial role in expanding the company’s customer base in Japan.

Success in the Japanese market has benefited from adopting these advertising tactics. Market share in Japan has consistently grown since the company’s introduction in the 1990s, as evidenced by Geringer, McNett, and Ball (2019). The implementation of creative marketing strategies adapted to suit Japanese consumers’ requirements and preferences has also contributed to the company’s overall revenue growth.

The Role of Religion in McDonald’s Success in the Japanese Market

McDonald’s success in Japan can be partly attributed to the country’s long-standing religious tradition (Rauf & Prasad, 2022). Advertising showing a Buddhist monk praying in front of a McDonald’s restaurant is just one example of how the company has incorporated religious themes and images into its campaigns. As well as connecting with the religious sensibilities of Japanese consumers, this commercial also showed respect for the country’s many different religions.

McDonald’s has incorporated religious elements into its eatery decor. The Shinto Torii, a traditional Japanese gateway, and other religious symbols were incorporated into the restaurant’s architecture to foster an atmosphere of respect and reverence typical of Japan. The company’s packaging has featured Buddhist and Shinto images like the rising sun, also a symbol of Japan.

In addition, McDonald’s has included religious symbols and motifs in some of its food. The company’s meatless “Buddha Burger” is a product of Buddhist principles. The “Kirin Chicken Sandwich” is just one example of the company’s innovative take on traditional Japanese fare; the chicken meat in this sandwich is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sake, and mirin.


Gift-giving is a common way for people in Japan to show appreciation, respect, and admiration. Geringer, McNett, and Ball (2019) say thoughtful gifts can keep business partners, customers, and other important people happy. So, as part of its marketing plan for the Japanese market, McDonald’s gives gifts to customers who have already bought from them. McDonald’s has used several ways to give gifts, such as giving customers special gifts when purchasing certain products or services and giving deals and discounts on the company’s products. McDonald’s Japan, for example, has given unique toys and other limited edition items to people who buy certain goods or services. This is how McDonald’s shows its regular customers that it appreciates them and tries to get them to return.

Customer behavior and cultural differences

Due in large part to the company’s careful attention to local traditions, McDonald’s enjoys phenomenal success in Japan. To succeed, a business must be aware of and adapt to its target market’s unique preferences and customs. According to recent studies, “sociocultural factors affect consumer behavior, how the company is run, and the products and services it provides” (Geringer, McNett, & Ball, 2019, p. 383). McDonald’s has adapted its marketing approach in Japan by considering the country’s cultural norms and preferences. “McDonalds has had to adjust its cultural strategies to fit the Japanese market, taking into account the sociocultural factors that shape consumer behavior and preferences”.

McDonald’s understands the importance of catering to regional palates. Japanese cuisine features dishes like teriyaki, prawns, and rice. Couples in Japan are the focus of McDonald’s “Table for Two” marketing campaign.

McDonald’s has found success in Japan by learning about and adapting to the country’s culture. According to Geringer, McNett, and Ball (2019), the significance of customer service varies from nation to country (p. 385). McDonald’s tries to train its employees and improve the condition of its restaurants so that it can compete successfully in Japan.

Regarding advertising in Japan, McDonald’s has finally gotten it right. Promotional campaigns for the Japanese market have used local celebrities and news sources (Nakayama & Wan, 2019). The fast food chain McDonald’s has also introduced new prices and special offers for the Japanese market.


McDonald’s success in the Japanese market is because it embraced Japanese culture. McDonald’s respects different religions and cultures by providing halal-certified and pork-free options. McDonald’s has adapted Japanese advertising and gifts to the country’s culture. Japanese customers have also shown interest in the company’s wide variety of goods, some available nowhere else but in Japan. This strategy helped McDonald’s become the industry champion it is today. Therefore, it is clear that sociocultural factors have played a crucial role in the success of Mcdonald’s in the Japanese market.


Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., & Ball, D. A. (2019). International business. McGraw-Hill Education.

Nakayama, M., & Wan, Y. (2019). The cultural impact on social commerce: A sentiment analysis on Yelp ethnic restaurant reviews. Information & Management56(2), 271-279.

Singireddy, M. (2020). Mcdonald’s: Global Marketing. International Journal of Health and Economic Development6(2), 16-27.

Rauf, A. A., & Prasad, A. (2022). Maintaining Sacred Identities: How Religious Anti‐Consumption Conflicts with Culture. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences/Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration.


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