Japan Expo, the biggest European festival of Japanese culture is back! After being canceled in 2020 and 2021, more than 250,000 visitors and 900 exhibitors gathered at Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center from July 14 to 17 – and Rakuten was at the center of the event as Japan Expo’s newest strategic partner.
The can’t-miss event for fans of Japanese culture offered endless discoveries for attendees, ranging from manga to martial arts, video games to folk culture and J-pop to traditional music.
“One of Rakuten’s missions in Europe is to bring together and empower European businesses and consumers who are committed to Japanese culture.”TOBY OTSUKA, CEO, RAKUTEN EUROPE
Living up to the pre-Covid success of the festival, guests were able to meet Yuji Kaida, painter of Kaiju (massive monsters from popular entertainment such as Godzilla) and Brigitte Lecordier, the French voice of the character Son Goku (Dragon Ball Z).
For the first time, visitors were also able to enjoy sumo, Japan’s national sport, represented by Paris Sumo, the only French Sumo club.
Watch, Win and Read
One area with a growing presence at the event was video games and streaming. A dedicated “Stream and Chill” stage, presented by Rakuten, provided eight streamers an amazing platform to take their million-plus followers through the virtual Japan Expo experience.
Right around the corner, visitors could find the Rakuten booth, which attracted a great many visitors over the event’s four days. Numerous Rakuten businesses were represented at the booth, including Rakuten TV and Rakuten Kobo, who promoted their range of anime and manga content, as well as Rakuten France, Rakuten DX and Rakuten Travel Experiences.
”Connecting people and partners in Europe with Japanese culture, and making them feel at home embodies the spirit of Omotenashi, which is about wholeheartedly looking after guests, representing the Japanese mindset of hospitality centered around care,” commented Toby Otsuka, CEO of Rakuten Europe.
Visitors were able to win prizes from across the Rakuten ecosystem through a Japanese fukubiki prize draw organized by Rakuten Travel Experiences and Rakuten STAY. While two winners will get to enjoy the main prize of a trip to Japan, the exclusive Okaimono Pandas stole the show. Other prizes included Japanese snacks, Rakuten Kobo e-readers and manga vouchers.
Rakuten Pay arrives in France
During Japan Expo this year, Rakuten also launched Rakuten Pay (one of the top mobile payment solutions in Japan), in France. To kickstart the experience, visitors received 500 welcome points upon downloading the app, which could be used straightaway as a five-euro discount at eligible vendors and partner booths at the event.
To showcase the ease of use of Rakuten Pay, Rakuten partnered with some of the most popular French Twitch Streamers, who took their followers through a live shopping experience with the new service.
Through a long-term strategic partnership with Japan Expo, Rakuten aims to continue using this event in the future as a unique opportunity to leverage its brand and ecosystem strengths in Europe.
“One of Rakuten’s missions in Europe is to bring together and empower European businesses and consumers who are committed to Japanese culture,” Otsuka commented. “This partnership is the start of a new journey for us, and we are committed to continuing to expand our presence in Europe at Japanese cultural events in other markets as well.”