No.3121
10/26/2022

Otaku Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2022

Of Major 14 Genres in Otaku Market, 10 Genres Increased in FY2021

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has carried out a survey on the domestic Otaku market, and found out the trends by genre, the trends of market players, and future perspectives. This press release discloses the market size for each major 14 genre.


Otaku Market Size Transition by Major Genre
Otaku Market Size Transition by Major Genre

Market Overview

Of major 14 genres of Otaku market, those that grew in FY2021 were 10 genres (coterie magazines, plastic models, model figures, dolls, model railroads [including dioramas and other peripheral products], toy guns, popular idols, costume play clothing, services by girls in maid costumes or in costume-play clothing, and vocaloid [including related products]). On the other hand, the three genres i.e., anime/cartoon films, survival games, and professional wrestling, diminished for two fiscal years in a row. (*”Indie games” has been added from this year, so there is no previous data.)

Just like the previous fiscal year, the market showed good and bad results depending on how the genre was affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Because of vigorous stay-home consumption from the previous fiscal year, four hobby genres, i.e. plastic models, model figures, model railroads, and toy guns, maintained steady growth, while six genres (coterie magazines, dolls, popular idols, costume play clothing, services by girls in maid costumes or in costume-play clothing, and Vocaloid, upturned in FY2021, though not reaching the pre-COVID level.

Noteworthy Topics

Indies Game Market Expanding due to Commercial Upsurge Caused by Advent of Popular Game Titles and Entry by Major Enterprises

Indie games are the games developed by individual creators or teams of small number of creators from in and outside the country, demonstrate their originality. Unlike major games focused on marketing, indie games are distinctive in uniqueness and are apt to reflect the expressions and ideas by those creators.

At first, indie games were sold by distributing the recorded media at coterie magazine sales venues. Unlike overseas where indie games played on PCs and distributed through Stream, etc., have been vigorously developed, they were not popular in Japan, because home-use gaming machines and software dedicated to major games have been well-accepted, giving people few opportunities to play games on PCs.

However, in November 2020, an indie game “Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin” published by Marvelous Inc. have swept people along by its unique worldview that focuses on rice farming, selling 1 million copies by June 2021. Triggered by this success, domestic companies have started drawing attention to indie games with distinctive originality that no major games have. In recent years, companies like Kodansha Ltd., that had nothing to do with games, have started entering the market as game publishers.

The sales of Japanese version indie games by sales channel for FY2021 were estimated to have reached 2,800 million yen, based on the user consumption amount. The market share by sales channel was as follows: Stream sold 1,320 million yen, Nintendo Switch 660 million yen, Apple Store and Google Play 160 million yen, respectively, PS4 and Xbox each sold 90 million yen, and others sold 320 million yen.

Future Outlook

Of major 14 genres in Otaku market in FY2022, 12 genres i.e. anime/cartoon films, coterie magazines, indie games, plastic models, dolls, model railroads (including dioramas and other peripheral products), survival games, popular idols, professional wrestling, costume play clothing, services by girls in maid costumes or in costume-play clothing, and Vocaloid, are projected to grow. However, the market of figure models is expected to shrink for the first time in four years due to soaring material prices, weakened yen, and price rise.

The market of anime/cartoon films, the largest genre by size among major fourteen genres, is expected to increase by 5.7% from the previous fiscal year based on the sales at animation producers. Now that activity restrictions have been alleviated in FY2022, though the COVID-19 crisis still continued, the number of TV animation works produced has been on the recovery. In addition to those titles "SPY X Family," "Ya Boy Kongming! (Kongming of the Party People)" etc., have acquired popularity, those anime production projects in the forms of multiple media mix linked with SNS and smartphone games, such as the case of short animation “Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki”, have caused to obtain new fans and raised the level of popularity.

Because of continued popularity of overseas movie streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. since COVID-19 pandemic, the cases of Japanese anime production companies making contract with overseas movie platformers have been increasing. While those movie platformers continue the direct contracts and transactions for exclusive streaming of the works, they also started providing capital or establishing production studio in Japan.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: June to September 2022
2.Research Object: Organizations and providers of contents, products, and services pertaining to Otaku genres
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews (including online) by specialized researchers, survey via telephone, online questionnaire, and literature search.

What is the Otaku Market?

The Otaku market in this research refers to the contents, product sales and services that have a certain number of maniac fans and are available at Akihabara and other “sacred” locations for Otaku. Target genres of the Otaku market in this research are anime/cartoon films, manga (including e-comics), light novels, coterie magazines, smartphone games, indie games, plastic models, model figures, dolls, model railroads (including dioramas and other peripheral products), toy guns, survival games, popular idols, professional wrestling, costume play clothing, services by girls in maid costumes or in costume-play clothing, vocaloid (including related products). This report discloses the market sizes of major fourteen genres.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Anime/cartoon films, manga (including e-comics), light novels, coterie magazines, smartphone games, indie games, plastic models, model figures, dolls, model railroads (including dioramas and other peripheral products), toy guns, survival games, popular idols, professional wrestling, costume play clothing, services by girls in maid costumes or in costume-play clothing, vocaloid (including related products).

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