Rakuten is making waves in the professional surfing industry. A firm believer in the power of sport to inspire and unite people and communities, the global tech company recently announced the worldwide premiere of Shun Murakami: The Documentary, an eponymous film featuring the Japanese surfing star and Rakuten partner that captures the life and rising career of Shun Murakami.
The 25-year-old native of Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan currently ranks #3 in the Men’s Qualifying Series Rankings of the World Surf League as of the 2021/2022 season. Shun Murakami: The Documentary made its worldwide premiere exclusively on Rakuten Sports’ official YouTube channel in February, quickly finding an audience with surfing fans worldwide.
“Shun is surfing for a much greater goal and purpose. To Shun, surfing is his past, present, and future and that’s the story we set out to tell.”Tobias Memmott, documentary director and member of Rakuten’s Digital Sports Marketing Strategy team
“From the first meeting with Shun we knew that his dedication to his sport went far beyond the competitions and sponsorships that being a professional surfer envelopes you in,” shares Tobias Memmott, director of the documentary and member of Rakuten’s Digital Sports Marketing Strategy team. “Shun is surfing for a much greater goal and purpose. To Shun, surfing is his past, present, and future and that’s the story we set out to tell.”
“The film itself has been picked up by so many online surf magazines and websites around the world and has also performed well on YouTube, bringing in more than 35,000 organic views in less than two months since its worldwide premiere,” adds Memmott.
The bigger the wave, the greater the motivation to ride it
The 17-minute documentary follows Murakami, one of Japan’s leading professional surfers, on his lifelong quest to find the perfect wave. It also features appearances from Murakami’s mentor and a next-generation surfer.
Surfing helps Murakami nurture his powerful connection with the ocean, which in its fascinating unpredictability draws him to explore its myriad waves. The more difficult the wave, the greater his motivation to ride it.
“From the first meeting with Shun we knew that his dedication to his sport went far beyond the competitions and sponsorships.”Tobias Memmott
Murakami is mindful of the support he received from his father and his mentor through his journey that has brought him so far and believes in passing it forward to the next generation of surfers. He looks forward to a future where more people will watch and fall in love with his favorite sport ー one that celebrates communing with nature.
Empowering the next generation of rising sports stars
Murakami has been part of the Rakuten family since 2020, the first of a growing list of surfing stars that have partnered with Rakuten to grow the sport both locally in their home countries and on the global stage.
Rakuten has also recently partnered with California-based surfers Kei Kobayashi and Nat Young. Through these partnerships, Rakuten aims to empower the next generation of surfing stars, increasing visibility for the sport through documentary releases, dedicated communities on the free, secure messaging and communications app Rakuten Viber, as well as creating opportunities for athletes to connect with fans, both online and offline.