Last week we visited Content Tokyo 2017, during our usual tour to discover all the novelties and new trends of one of the largest and most attractive licensing markets. With over 50 thousand attendees, this trade show is one of the most important for the entire East-Asian region.

During the show was also held the “The Trilateral Cultural Contents Industry Forum of Japan, China & Korea”, an international conference operated jointly by governments and private sectors including Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan), Ministry of Culture (China), Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (Korea) and industry groups of the three countries. With the aim to exchange information on the industry policies and trends, and create business opportunities through the trilateral cooperation.

At its 7th edition, Licensing Japan confirms its uniqueness in giving the visitors an interesting overview of the main trends and several opportunities to expand the business in the licensing industry.
Three interesting zone: Character & Entertainment, Brand and Art & Design to discover new projects and upcoming successful properties.

One of the most interesting emerging trend is the mascot of instant messaging apps for smartphones and social media. Funny characters used as stickers or emoticons for conversations.
Line, one of the most popular app in Asia (akin to WhatsApp or Skype in Western countries) was giving proof of this trend with an amazing range of licensed products and merchandising. Along with Line Friends we found Mendo Tori o Mentori, cute and bothersome little chickens created by Increws co.,Ltd, or With U’s popular Facebook game’s characters Happy Ningels.

Always speaking about mascots (or better said yuru-kyara), Kumamon is one of the best example of territory promotion with a well-built licensing strategy and a great success in merchandising, together with Barysan from Imabari city in Ehime Prefecture.

Very interesting also the Korean Pavilion with a couple of interesting property like Amoo and Spookiz.

Speaking of brands, interesting Anap and Peter MacArthur. The first is a popular Japanese fashion brand specialized in clothing for young women, which the main flagship stores are located in Harajuku and Shibuya, with more than 60 stores all over Japan, one in Los Angeles and one in Bali. The second is a Scottish tartan check brand established in 1872, part of the Calzeat Group, that is licensed to the Japanese group Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd through a global licensing agreement. Peter MacArthur great success in Japan let then the company to extend the brand in other categories through licensing agreements.

Worth of mention also a couple of artists, Kayo Horaguchi with a wide range of products form textile to home accessories who also collaborated with major bands like Unico (Tezuka Productions), My Little Pony (Hasbro) and Little Twin Stars (Sanrio) for special artworks, and Japanese calligraphist, or sho artist Juichi Yoshikawa.

The growing importance of brands and design in the Japanese licensing market also let to the evolution of this licensing show towards a joint effort with the fashion sector. For this reason, the 2018 edition of Content Tokyo and the 8th Licensing Japan will be held in April concurrently with Fashion World Tokyo, Japan’s largest trade show.

Waiting to discover next year’s novelties, enjoy our reportage!

A special thanks to our reporter Andrea Balconi for these pictures