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TOTAL LICENSING
theme songs from their youth. horde domain names. Once you have Japan. Some DVD rental shops group
So what does this cartoon mania your local partner and correct trade- the movies by actor rather than genre.
mean? It means Character Data- marks, companies must think outside The trick is to know which type of ce-
bank calculates character licensing as the box. Figurines of your character? lebrity hits the mark in Japan. For ex-
a business as worth 1.5 Trillion Yen Yesterday’s news. Golashes, tote bags, ample, when it comes to sirens of the
lunch boxes and other items silver screen Audrey Hepburne has al-
of high utility value? Now ways been higher profile than Marilyn
2008 Most Popular Character
we are talking. Monroe in Japan. Sure, Japanese love
Ranking in Japan
Also, Japanese people LOVE some Marilyn: she came to Tokyo with
anniversaries. Not the anni- DiMaggio, she had those Warhol prints,
versary where you buy your and every Japanese video store has a
(Source Character Database)
wife a crock pot and take Monroe corner. However, with Mon-
her to Olive Garden, Japa- roe’s va-va-voom curves and bleached
1 Pocket Monsters (Pokémon
nese love MEDIA anniver- out plumage, she does not have a look
2 Go! Anpanman (Bear Jam Man)
saries. Generally you need that petite Japanese women aspire
to wait for the anniversary too. Hepburne, on the other hand,
3 Hello Kitty
in terms of fives: fifth, tenth, has a smart and luminescent quality
4 Mickey Mouse
fifteenth, eightieth etc. An- that Japanese women adore. With
5 Rilakkuma (Relaxation Bear)
niversaries give people in a little effort Japanese women could
6 Winnie the Pooh
the media something to have a similar look to Hepburne, and
7 Purikyua Series (Pretty Cure Series)
discuss on the morning TV this makes her image a high profile li-
chat shows, and if the right cense for everything from credit cards
8 Super Mario Brothers
media outlets pick up on to hand fans to decorative tins. The
9 Power Rangers RPM
your character a resurgence modish image of the early Beatles has
10 Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch)
might be inevitable. MGM’s nearly cult like status in Japan in con-
Pink Panther struck gold af- trast to Elvis Presley who is warmly
ter fashion magazines in Ja- remembered but fails to generate the
($16 Billion USD) – although other pan widely covered New York illustra- same hysteria – errr Beatlemania. Liv-
estimates put the figure well past 2.4 tor Shag’s reinterpretation of the Pink ing or dead, it is wise to be aware that
Trillion ($25 Billion USD). People and Panther for the feline’s 40
th
anniversa- certain celebrities resonate with the
organizations that do not need a cute ry in 2004. This led to a Pink Panther Japanese in ways different from the
character whatsoever even create collaboration with music mega-com- West, and some celebrities are much
cartoon mascots. Frankly the market pany Avex that lit the fire to create bigger in Japan than back home (Cheap
is glutted with hundreds of characters, Panther mania in Japan. The twenty- Trick Live at the Budokan, anyone?).
some cute and some not-so-cute. The fifth anniversary of Ghostbusters has Speaking of living celebrities, you can
public lambasted the local government helped lead to related items such as get away with using foreign celebri-
of a region called Nara for represent- T-shirts and sneakers by A Bathing ties for many things unthinkable in the
ing itself with a hideous deer creature Ape. As the third installment of the West. In the USA, A-List movie stars
with a temple roof (!) on its head Ghostbusters series approaches in might not deign to appear in mere TV
(Manto-Kun). Also, the Tokyo Police 2012 the “no ghost” mark is sure to adverts, but if a Japanese company will
designed Pi-Po, a mouse in a blue hat become as ubiquitous as drop a million dollars for a thirty sec-
that looks like Mighty Mouse’s wimpy when we roller ond spot limited to Japan, Hollywood’s
cousin. Pi-Po can help educate kids skated to Ray big- gest names come
about public safety and admonish dis- Parker Jr. back running. As lam-
orderly drunks, but he isn’t about to in 1984. The pooned by Bill
scare the drug dealers and murderers tenth anniver- Murray in Lost
of Tokyo into giving up a life of crime. sary of my life in in Translation,
With the deluge of characters flooding Japan approaches, the crème de la
the market of Japan, where might the and I thoroughly crème will gladly
mavens of licensing turn to make their plan to character make a pit stop
money? What can you do to cash in license myself and across the Pa-
on licensing in Japan? Finding a local sell Charles Ay- cific for a day of
partner to help navigate the structur- res galoshes shooting. Harri-
al and cultural obstacles would be a and bean jam son Ford, Cameron
good first start. Also, you should suss buns. Diaz, Tommy Lee
out the trademark situation tout-suite By extension from Jones and Brad
Right: Pi-Po, the
– some people horde trademarks in film, celebrities as a Pitt gladly hawk
Tokyo Police Mascot
Japan in the same vein as people who brand are very important in Kirin beer, cell
168
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