Cheap, popular clothing line Uniqlo’s New York Times Square pop-up store’s bright lights are more Japanese than Japan.

When many people think of Japan or East Asia, they think of narrow streets crowded with neon lights, each attempting to outdo one another in their bid to attract customers, as in the movie Blade Runner or the upcoming Avengers 4. Maybe a designer was trying to channel that motif for one of inexpensive Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo’s stores in New York, resulting in this explosion of garish colour.

▼ For comparison, here’s a typical-looking Uniqlo store in Japan…

▼ …versus the Times Square location.

This riot of colour can be found adorning one of the walls inside Uniqlo’s Times Square shop, and has surprised Japanese visitors and social media users as it’s a world apart from the usual Uniqlo stores actually in Japan. Several social media users likened the store’s display to the image they believe Americans must think of their country, with many making reference to Ninja Slayer, a manga/anime purportedly created by American writers and set in a futuristic Japanese metropolis.

While much smaller than standard Uniqlo stores, the pop-up in Times Square has been doing a brisk trade and has seemingly had visitors coming to see the photo-worthy neon wall. Some of the comments visitors have left on social media have been:

“It’s so over the top, it’s awesome!”
“That looks like the kind of neon sign you see in Ninja Slayer”
“That’s so cool.”

The Times Square branch isn’t the only one to have Japanese social media talking, with the Kabuki-stylings of Uniqlo’s Manhattan store also drawing praise for its Cool Japan-style frontage.

So while a number of successful Japanese companies like Unqilo, Ikinari Steak, as well as authentic Japanese food like ramen and taiyaki, are making mainstream inroads in New York, Japanese tourists can still find ways in which their country is seen as exotic by the locals.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@microhitomi