Licensing In Japan

Japan’s Love of Characters and Luxury Brands Make it a Perfect Market for Licensing

Brand licensing is common within the Japanese market, and foreign companies establish contracts with Japanese companies all the time.

Background to Brand Licensing in Japan

Japan is a mature and sophisticated retail market, and is in fact one of the biggest and most diverse markets in the world for the licensing of brands and characters in the area of consumer products.

Well-loved British brands such as Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dunlop and Karrimor have had a long and successful presence in Japan and are examples of successful licensing contracts.

Disney is another company with a long and lucrative history of licensing in Japan. Popular characters can be found on products as varied as cosmetics, stationery, food and beverages, clothes, and smartphones.

Benefits of Brand Licensing in Japan

Japan is also widely known as a market that strives to protect intellectual property rights, making it extremely attractive to foreign exporters. There are few to zero cases of pirating. Our podcast discussion on IP protection in Japan explains more.

First Steps to Begin Brand Licensing in Japan

Trade shows are excellent for meeting prospective business partners and distributors, so attending events such as this could be a great way to test the waters of an overseas market.

Licensing Japan is an international trade show for character and brand business.

There are companies in Japan that provide expertise on brand license development and license consulting, and using these services can be useful to your brand if it suits your market entry strategy.

As with any aspect of doing business in Japan, securing a brand licensing deal takes patience and commitment, but the rewards are worth it.

Our recorded webinar on the Japanese Consumer Product Licensing Market featuring Roger Berman, President of ZenWorks Co., Ltd is a great starting point for further information.

Last updated November 2023: Steve Crane OBE