How sauna culture is shaping the Japanese wellness economy
13 Feb 2024
How sauna culture is shaping the Japanese wellness economy

In Japan, the sauna industry is booming and influencing people’s approaches to health, wellness, and self-care. It has evolved from an activity for older men into a thriving, identity-shaping subculture that attracts people across demographics, including women and young people.

Eetu-Antti Hartikainen

Eetu-Antti Hartikainen is a Finnish PhD researcher studying Japanese saunas and tourism at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. He has years of experience as an export manager for a Finnish sauna export company. He acquired his master's in Asian studies from the University of Helsinki, where he wrote his thesis on Japanese sauna culture. Aside from saunas, Hartikainen is interested in contributing to the development and management of truly sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives that collaborate meaningfully with local communities. He's also an avid onsen (hot springs) enthusiast.

Deanna Elstrom

Deanna Elstrom is a Japanese consumer insights specialist based in Tokyo with experience across a wide spectrum of industries (beauty, luxury, FMCG, etc.) and interest areas. She provides the cultural context and analysis to transform what individuals say into what individuals mean, and translates that into actionable insights for brands. Deanna holds a BA from Duke University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Kayti Burt

Kayti Burt is a freelance writer with bylines in TIME, Rolling Stone, the LA Times, Teen Vogue, and Vulture. She specialises in the rise of non-English-language culture in the West and globally.