It has been quite a year for the archipelago — the new emperor was throned, Reiwa replaced the Heisei Era and the Rugby World Cup brought a throng of tourists. It wasn't all good, of course — this year also saw the nation's all-time low birthrate, and a shrinking population that was continuing to age. Amid the hard news, though, there were some trends that lit up Japan's media and offered the nation with a sense of, if not a little hope, at least some relief. Here are a few topics, in no particular order, that seemed to make a difference in 2019.
Looking at the year: As 2019 closes, some product trends, like tapioca drinks, look like they are here to stay, while others, such as #Kutoo reflect problems of society. | GETTY IMAGES
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