Character Business in Japan: Key Research Findings 2023

Character Business for FY2023 to Increase by 1.4% on YoY to 2,650,800 Million Yen

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the character business market in Japan, and found out the market size transition by segment, the character trends, and future perspectives.

Character Business Market Size Transition
Character Business Market Size Transition
FY2023 Character Business Merchandising Market: Composition Ratio by Segment
FY2023 Character Business Merchandising Market: Composition Ratio by Segment

Market Overview

The character business market size (merchandising, licensing) in FY2022 grew to 2,613,600 million yen, 101.1% of the preceding fiscal year. FY2022 saw a variety of affluent characters such as a media mix content “Uma Musume Pretty Derby”, animation titles “SPY×FAMILY” and “CHAINSAW MAN” both developed from manga, Tokusatsu entertainment “Ultraman”, and a movie released “ONE PIECE FILM RED”, etc., which have contributed to stable growth of the character business market.

The character business market consists of merchandising and licensing, both of which showing positive growth for FY2022: Merchandising market (based on retail values) generated 1,273,600 million yen, 101.4% of the previous fiscal year, and licensing market (based on contract amount) achieved 1,340,000 million yen, 100.8% of the preceding fiscal year. While merchandising upturned because of favorable product sales at theme parks after the lift of behavior restrictions for the corona crisis, licensing grew because of rapidly increased adoptions of VTubers.

Noteworthy Topics

Trend of Characters in NFT Form

From pictures, illustrations, videos, VR works to source codes, a variety of data are sold as NFT arts in the market.
In the situation where NFT arts are prospering as uncopiable works, there are cases of manga and anime released in the past are renewing their values as art objects after being digitalized and tokenized in the blockchain.

For example, Shueisha, the publisher, has made the hugely popular manga “ONE PIECE” into the NFT form, aiming to utilize blockchain for creating new values as an artwork. There are many of such cases, i.e., games and trading cards, helping NFT arts to about to form a market. The character market is drawing attention for its being with the use of NFT.

* Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is the ownership of digital assets that cannot be replaced and are issued and traded on blockchain. An NFT art refers to the digital art that uses NFT.

Future Outlook

The character business market size (merchandising, licensing) for FY2023 is projected to reach 2,650,800 million yen, 101.4% of the previous fiscal year.
FY2023 can expect the great hit for the second season of “Oshi no Ko (Children of My Favorite Idol)”, and new seasons to be broadcasted for anime titles “Damon Slayer” and “Attack on Titan” both already successful in character development. In addition, the character “Super Mario” has had its movie released, and new release of the game title “SUPER MARIO BROS.” is expected for the first time in eleven years. Therefore, characters and their works, with many fan bases, are planned to be released one after another during the fiscal year, which are the favorable factors for the market.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: April to June 2023
2.Research Object: Businesses related to character licensing business (licensors of characters, namely manufacturers, wholesalers, etc., and licensees, i.e., retailers/distributors)
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews (including online) by expert researchers, surveys via telephone & email, questionnaire, and literature research

Character Business in Japan

Character business in this research consists of merchandising and licensing. It allows licensees to use licensor’s characters to make character goods, to use them for advertisement, and to develop into movies, television programs, and manga (comics/cartoons).

“Characters” in this research refer to those characters in anime (animations) titles, manga, games and illustrations, and therefore, no celebrities and entertainers are included.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Character merchandises, character licensing

Published Report

Contact Us

©2021 Yano Research Institute Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The copyright and all other rights pertaining to this report belong to Yano Research Institute.
Please contact our PR team when quoting the report contents for the purpose other than media coverage.
Depending on the purpose of using our report, we may ask you to present your sentences for confirmation beforehand.