In its relentless pursuit of innovation and cultural exchange, and in a celebration of Japanese technology, culture and the art of Manga, Rakuten Europe recently participated in the Japan Expo held in Paris. The event, which took place at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre in July, proved to be a resounding success, connecting passionate Japan enthusiasts with the incredible digital services Rakuten has to offer.
250,000 visitors made their way to the Japan Expo this year, which took place for the 23rd time.
Connecting with passionate Japan enthusiasts
As part of this year’s festivities, Rakuten proudly presented a diverse array of authentic products and services: Rakuten France showcased its marketplace and Club Rakuten, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the richness of Japanese products offered on the marketplace. Moreover, anime and manga enthusiasts rejoiced as they explored the extensive selection available on Rakuten Kobo, Rakuten TV and Rakuten Viki, bringing the best of Japan’s entertainment straight to their screens.
Throughout the expo, attendees had the opportunity to interact with Rakuten representatives and learn more about the diverse range of services offered by the company. Visitors of the booth were also invited to win exciting prizes, ranging from Kobo, Viki and Rakuten TV vouchers, to goodie boxes from event partner Japan Crate to a Kobo eReader by participating in the Fukubiki raffle.
Rakuten Pay – Revolutionizing convenience
As a company dedicated to simplifying lives through technology, Rakuten showcased its seamless smartphone payment service, Rakuten Pay, at the expo. Visitors experienced the ease of making purchases with just a tap, adding another layer of convenience to their Japan Expo adventure. To sweeten the deal, visitors who downloaded Rakuten Pay were rewarded with 500 welcome points valued at €5, redeemable at over 30 exhibitor booths at the expo, as well as at one of the expo’s KintaroGroup and in the heart of Paris, in Rue Sainte-Anne, also known as Little Tokyo in Paris.
Celebrating Manga artistry – The Mangaka Challenge
For manga enthusiasts and aspiring artists alike, the highlight of the event was undoubtedly the Mangaka Challenge, where talent and creativity collided in a thrilling competition. The Mangaka Challenge, as a collaborative effort between Rakuten Kobo, Kana (leading French publisher of manga), and Mangas.io (the first streaming platform for Mangas), was a testament to the power of bringing together industry leaders to support aspiring artists and promote the art of manga.
The participants showcased their artistic prowess, competing to create captivating manga illustrations. Among the exceptional talent on display, one name stood out – Marianne Aubanel emerged as the winner of the Mangaka Challenge, wowing both the judges and the audience with her exceptional skills and storytelling. Aubanel receives a publishing contract with Kana editions, along with a €15,000 cash prize to support her artistic journey. Furthermore, her work will reach a global audience of manga enthusiasts on the Rakuten Kobo and Mangas.io platforms.
One of the jurors was Mangaka Kenshiro Sakamoto, author at Kōdansha, a major Japanese literary and manga publisher, who was thoroughly impressed by the level of talent showcased during the competition.
Rakuten and the Japan Expo – Spreading the magic of Japan
“Japan Expo provides Rakuten with a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse and enthusiastic audience who share our love for Japanese culture. Through our participation, we aim to bring authentic Japanese experiences closer to fans worldwide, enriching their lives through the wonders of technology and entertainment”, says Marc Sarfati, Regional Marketing Director who is responsible for the Japan Expo partnership at Rakuten and adds: “Rakuten embodies the spirit of ‘omotenashi’ to provide warm hospitality to create unforgettable memories for Japan Expo attendees. Our dedication to embracing cultural diversity and promoting Japanese traditions aligns perfectly with the essence of this fantastic event.”
As the curtains drew to a close on this year’s Japan Expo, Rakuten reaffirmed its commitment to fostering cultural exchange and providing unparalleled digital experiences. The event was a testament to the company’s dedication to enriching lives and bringing the world closer together through the magic of technology and culture.