The Tohokoushinsha Film Corporation explains its plans for the inaugual show, the market's growth opportunitites and more.
Why do you believe the Japanese market offers strong opportunities for growth?
One of the characteristics of the Japanese market is that licensing can appeal to any age group.
That is, we can target a wide age range, from infants to adults.
While the dwindling birth rate and aging society is a pressing issue in Japan, the senior market is growing, as elderly consumers have more disposable income and sufficient leisure time. In addition, seniors have incredibly strong motives for buying licensed merchandise, consuming experience-centered events and shopping for their grandchildren.
What are the specific brands that you are targeting for expansion in Japan?
1) Bolstering the evergreen properties for adults, e.g. Felix the Cat, Garfield, "Thunderbirds," Audrey Hepburn, etc.
2) More focus on family-oriented properties, e.g. Shawn the Sheep
3) The derivative properties from new media, e.g. "Pocopan" series from the LINE Game
What are the characteristics of your brands that you believe will make them popular among Japanese consumers?
There are various reasons, but most important is because consumers can feel sympathy to that brand or character; whether it's the personality of a character or brand philosophy or simple admiration.
What are some of the key initiatives that you have implemented in Japan?
This is not anything new, but we're working through a specific sales space in collaboration with the retailers and distributors. It's getting more important these days.
What retailers or product categories are you targeting for your licensed products?
We are focusing on utilizing more e-commerce, apparel distribution via SPA (a specialty store retailer of private label apparel) and product distribution via bookstore chains.
What are the major differences between the licensing market in Japan and overseas?
One of the distinct characteristics of the Japanese market is that the licensing business appeals to a wide age group.
What are your primary reasons for exhibiting at Licensing Expo Japan?
There have been no licensing shows in conjunction with the fashion-centered trade show, so we find that quite interesting.