Steven Ekstract of License Global provides a brief analysis of the world's third largest licensing market and some of its most popular brands.
Japan is a fascinating case study of a nation that has created rich, extraordinary IP for export while, at the same time, is ripe for U.S. and European brand IP licensing as well. It is not until you are there, immersed in Japanese culture, that you truly understand what this nation has done on behalf of the licensing business.
If you have never visited Japan and you are in the licensing profession, you need to visit to truly understand Japan’s unique position as a brand paradise. A visit to Tokyo is like getting an advanced degree in licensed
The Japanese have created some of the world’s best IP for
, manga (numerous brands) and kawaii (the culture of cuteness).
Examples of top
Japanese brands and entertainment companies
Bandai Namco (Gaming)
Level-5 (video games)
Line Friends (social online)
Sanrio (Hello Kitty, Mr. Men)
San X (characters)
Square Enix (game developer)
Western Brands are Hot
Western brands remain very strong in Japan. Character properties like Peanuts, Miffy, Care Bears and Paddington Bear do extremely well across multiple product categories, and American lifestyle brands (spanning surf culture to fashion to music) also perform extremely well. British heritage brands are also big in the region.
Of course, entertainment brands like Disney and Universal are ubiquitous in Japan with well-known film franchises like
. However, Japan’s retail sales have remained strong through most of 2017 and licensed product offerings remain popular options for consumers.
The Third Largest Licensing Market in the World has a Dedicated Licensing Event
As the third largest market for licensed sales in the world, UBM’s Global Licensing Group launched a Licensing Expo in Tokyo in 2017 to further support the industry. This year’s Licensing Expo Japan will take place April 25-27 at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center. Whether you are a licensor looking to get your property into Japan, or a licensee looking for new, hot properties to license, Licensing Expo Japan is a show not to miss. The Expo utilizes the UBM Global Matchmaking service, so whether you’re an attendee or an exhibitor you will get the meetings you need to justify your ROI.
will also be on-site in a Japanese language version as way to further drive business forward. For more information,
For a deeper dive into the Japanese market please see
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