Anime. Manga. Games. Technology. Innovation. When we hear these words, only one country comes in our mind and that’s none other than Japan. The bustling, ultra-modern city known for being one of the expensive cities in the globe, Tokyo the capital of Japan recently witnessed the country’s largest content business exhibition, Content Tokyo 2016 by Reed Exhibitions Japan. Being held from 29 June to 1 July, 2016, the expo observed a total of 1,530 exhibitors participating with roughly about 40,000 attendees visiting this huge content business exhibition.
Reed Exhibitions Japan left no stone unturned to give this expo the best treatment and this could be observed from the venue itself. Japan’s largest convention and exhibition center, Tokyo Big Sight was chosen as the host centre. An architectural marvel in itself, Tokyo Big Sight just like its name has a sight that will make one oggle at it for quite sometime. The glass and titanium-panelled Conference Tower appears as a set of four inverted pyramids mounted upon large supports with art exhibits and restaurants in and around it. It has three main areas: The East Exhibition Hall, the West Exhibition Hall and the Conference Tower. Out of these three areas, Content Tokyo 2016 was held at the West Exhibition Hall and the Conference Tower.
Reed Exhibitions Japan, director – group VP, international sales and marketing division, Hajime Suzuki informs, “It all started out as a book fair wherein only writers and creators used to exhibit and it was more of a B2B and B2C market. We received feedback from the attendees and exhibitors that they would like to collaborate with music companies, film production houses, producers, licencors and many more. That’s how we decided to start Content Tokyo wherein a creator, author, producer, licencor, artist everyone could collaborate under one roof.”
As opposed to the book fair, Content Tokyo is purely a B2B market where no consumer is allowed. Having no entry cost attached to it, one needs to have an invitation kit to enter the expo. Purely Japan focused, out of the 1,530 exhibitors, only 100 were from international markets mainly from Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. A Japan focused event, this year, Content Tokyo had six different exhibitions under its umbrella – Licensing Japan, Creators’ Expo, Content Solutions Expo, Production Companies Expo, Advanced Content Technology Expo and Content Marketing Expo. At the Licensing Japan exhibition, Taiwan and Thailand pavilion could be observed.
According to Suzuki, at the Content Technology expo, exhibitors from the USA, Germany, Israel, China, Korea are observed more; South East Asia countries are seen at the Production Companies; whereas at the Licensing Japan exhibition, exhibitors from worldwide participate. About 30 per cent of the international exhibitors can be seen at the Licensing Japan exhibit.
How can we forget the presence of technology in a Japan expo? Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) also took a considerable place at the expo with VR being at the front. Next year these three sectors – AR, VR, AI – will be given a bigger space informed Suzuki.
Although many interesting exhibitors could be seen, the main issue we faced was the language barrier. About 75 per cent of them could only communicate in Japanese and found the English language as a great difficulty. Only few personnels could communicate in English or hired translators to interact with international attendees. This issue was recognised by many Japanese exhibitors and they accepted the fact that in order to expand their business across the globe, they need to start communicating in English.
As far as India is concerned, AnimationXpress and IndianTelevision were the only Indian media invitees at the expo. Suzuki mentions, “We want to attract more of International companies and attendees at Content Tokyo. This year about seven to eight per cent of international exhibitors and attendees could be observed. We want to increase it by 15 per cent next year and for that we are trying to figure out a way wherein language won’t become a major barrier. We would like India to also be a part of the expo as India has plethora of animated and live action films and shows.”
Overall Content Tokyo was a successful show wherein right from calligraphers, game creators, animation/video/CG creators to major Japanese companies like Bandai, Cygames, Panasonic, Sony, Kids Station and Shogakukan took part. It was also observed that almost half of the space has been already sold out for next year’s expo during these three days.
With the animation, gaming, VFX and comic industry gaining momentum in India, Japan is the right market for the Indian studios to collaborate with the Japanese companies and create some astonishing visuals and gripping stories for both the countries and global audience alike.
Next year we hope to see a lot more exhibitors and participants from international market, India being a part of it. Cheers to a successful Content Tokyo 2016 expo and we wish them good luck for next year’s show where we observe more of English speaking exhibitors as well.