Why are American and Asian Wall Calendars Styled Differently?
April 17, 2017 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Why are American calendars different in their layout from the ones that I can get in Japan?

I am curious as to why wall calendars that I can buy in the United States are laid out differently from wall calendars that I can buy from Asian countries.

Most wall calendars from the United States are laid out in a square, grid pattern where each month has the days of the week at the top of the page, and each numerical day for that month is in a square under the specific day of the week, so that it forms a grid of 7 days x 4 (or 5) weeks.

Where as it seems that most of the wall calendars for sale in Japan or other Asian countries have the month laid out at the bottom of each page with a continuous MTWTFSS with the day of the month underneath them in a horizontal line across the page.

Is there a reason why this is? Is it a cultural thing?
posted by Hanuman1960 to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
Could you link to an example of each? I can't envision the layout you describe for calendars available in Japan.
posted by snowmentality at 10:45 AM on April 17, 2017

More room for a pretty picture.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:06 AM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Here is a link to a Godzilla calendar from Japan.

Here is a link to a calendar from America.

In both cases you will have to look at the close-up images for each calendar on the website. Unfortunately, I'm at work and can't capture the specific images.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:15 AM on April 17, 2017

Yeah, it seems to me the purpose of those calendars is mostly decorative that has a functional purpose, rather than the other way around. It's likely a Japanese office wall calendar looks a lot more like a western calendar.

I think we have/had a calendar poster from the early 80s (I guess) that wasn't that different. Each page had a huge, gorgeous photo on top, and the bottom was a small strip with the calendar. You could easily cut that bit out and get a good looking poster out of it (however, I had family on those parts, and it's not totally impossible that calendar was from there).
posted by lmfsilva at 11:36 AM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't speak to Japanese consumers' motivations, but American calendar-buyers expect to be able to write events, meetings, birthdays, soccer practices, etc. on their calendars, and so need to have the space to be able to do so. Wall calendars are expected to be as functional as they may be decorative.
posted by Liesl at 11:53 AM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The people I know in Japan who haven't switched to electronic means all use day planner type things, they don't usually write appts etc on a calendar. May not be universal but I suspect that's another factor (different use case, as Liesel said).
posted by thefoxgod at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2017

Best answer: I think you're maybe extrapolating too much from a small sample size. I've seen American calendars with the dates just along the bottom like that, and there are Japanese calendars that use the format you're describing as American, for example:

Japanese Where's Waldo Calendar


Japanese scenery calendar
posted by colfax at 12:07 PM on April 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Agree with colfax.
posted by Rash at 2:48 PM on April 17, 2017

i have a totoro calendar that i ordered from japan. it is like so. so yeah, i'd guess small sample size bias.
posted by koroshiya at 3:09 PM on April 17, 2017

Are you looking at the calendars outside Japan? The ones that they sell in the US or UK are the pretty ones. The ones with room for writing look very similar to ones already available, so they aren't exported.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:47 PM on April 17, 2017

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