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What do you imagine when you hear the word “Japan”? Sushi? Mount Fuji, or ninja?
Probably there are also many people who imagine the Japanese pop culture of anime, manga like One Piece and games such as Nintendo.

“Pop culture” means culture for majority. For instance, manga and anime, games, music, TV programs are included.

Japanese pop culture lovers around the world gather for events that transmit Japanese pop culture.

For example, “Anime Expo”, the largest exposition in the United States, and “Japan Expo” which held in France annually.

For Japanese anime and manga are translated into various languages, broadcasted and published worldwide, such a culture has even spread to population groups that are not particularly fond of Japan, and being popular among many people.


In Japan, more than 300 anime cartoons are produced every year, and more than 30% of the population watch them.

According to a 2016 survey, the sale of Japanese content abroad was worth $26 billion. Even considering the figures solely from the anime industry, annual sales have been increasing, with $7.6 billion in 2016, $10 billion in 2018, reaching approximately $12 billion in 2019.

Looking at Japanese anime contracts abroad by country, the United States holds first place, followed by Korea, Taiwan, and Canada.


Due to the global impact of the coronavirus from 2020 to 2021, we have seen an increase in the number of people seeking entertainment at home.

The global games market has grown to $174 billion, and it is expected to surpass $200 billion in 2023. Looking at the figures by country, profit rankings within the global games market sees Japan taking third place after the United States and China.

Although the 2020 Tokyo Game Show was held only online, the number of views reached a record figure of 31.6 million views. The online event featured a variety of game-related programs.

In a survey conducted at Japanese game companies, companies that are thinking of expanding business overseas in the future or planning to start it has risen to 80%. It is clear that they are eager to start overseas operations.


In Japan, it is not unusual to see adults reading manga on the train.

Although it may be thought strange that adults read manga, among the manga loved in Japan, there are many manga that have profound contents, a carefully crafted story, and can be instructive or impress, even if adults read them.

Japanese manga comics are translated into, and sold in, many languages around the world, and the word “MANGA” has become an international word referring to Japanese manga. For example, “One Piece” and “NARUTO” are distributed in over 35 countries and regions.


Taking pictures and going to events dressed in the costumes of anime, manga, and game characters is called cosplay (costume play).

Although the hardcore fans tend to make costumes themselves, the casual fans buy cheap costumes on e-commerce sites or elsewhere and enjoy themselves. In Japan, there are also Halloween costumes, mainly popular among young people, with the market size of commercial cosplay costumes amounts to ¥43.5 billion.



Speaking of products related to anime and manga, figures and plastic models imitating the shapes of characters and robots are famous.

The export volume of plastic models rose sharply in 2017, and it is expected to exceed the past peak in 2018. The major export destinations are Korea and China and, increasingly in recent years, the United States and Thailand.


Spurred by the popularity of anime and manga, the popularity of figures has also been spreading all over the world.

Looking at the domestic and overseas breakdown of the Good Smile Company, a company that sells figures, it is obvious that the number of overseas sales has exceeded 40% in 2018. In anticipation of such overseas needs, figures that are less expensive than those sold in Japan, and figures of overseas works that are not well known in Japan, are also made.

Among foreign tourists visiting Japan, there are also many who buy character products for souvenirs. Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Sailor Moon seems especially popular.

Characters born in Japanese manga and anime have added value to products and are purchased by foreign tourists as mementos that can be bought only in Japan.