In 2019, an ongoing “Taiwan Frenzy” in Japan made itself visible when the total number of Japanese tourists visiting Taiwan hits two million. Moreover, Taiwan’s national drink, “bubble tea,” was chosen as one of Japan’s top 10 new buzzwords. Several Japanese media also fascinated by Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey TANG (唐鳳), or, as they put it, Taiwan’s Genius IT Minister,” and Health Minister Shih-Chung CHEN (陳時中) who lead Taiwan into safety while COVID-19 threatens the world.
Riding on this Taiwan Frenzy, Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) launched a new strategy to promote original Taiwan-designed characters on Twitter, one of the Japanese netizens’ favorite social media. The account showcases the best of Taiwan-designed characters to the Japanese public daily, which also boosts these characters’ global popularity and Taiwan’s cultural brand.
This year, for the first time, TAICCA will lead a team of creators to participate in the 2020 Licensing Japan exhibition in Tokyo. TAICCA has selected ten outstanding teams through the "Original Brand Characters Attending Licensing Japan" project in February, including Kuzo (酷獸) of the National Museum of History, the Taipei Metro ambassador Majimeow (麻吉貓), the famous Kuroro SpaceCat (酷樂樂), and the up-and-coming brand Bonbon the French bulldog (法鬥哥).
As the 2020 Licensing Japan exhibition rescheduled to October due to the pandemic, TAICCA launched a Japanese Twitter account, TaiwanFriends (となりの台湾フレンズ), in June to introduce Taiwanese characters before the much-anticipated event. Since the launch of the Twitter account, Taiwan Friends has been actively updating new posts and quickly gained popularity and attracted nearly 20,000 followers. TAICCA regards Taiwan Friends’ Twitter account performance as a mechanism to test the Japanese market, assisting Taiwan’s licensing industry to better understand how their characters are received.
To promote Taiwan’s character licensing industry, TAICCA joined the Licensing International in June, providing first-hand information such as market trend research reports and a global buyer database to Taiwanese companies. TAICCA also plans to sign a cooperation agreement with Japan’s Character Brand Licensing Association to support Taiwan’s creative content in the Japanese market.
TAICCA will curate a “Taiwan Content Island” themed pavilion showcasing original characters at the 2020 Licensing Japan exhibition, and implement online measures targeting the next wave of market tradeshows. TAICCA’s industry training program, TAICCA School, will also launch image IP licensing related courses to help the industry leverage the business potential of “kawaii.”
Thanks to effective epidemic control measures, people in Taiwan can attend exhibitions in person. The character brands participating in this year’s Licensing Japan exhibition host a warm-up preview at the Comic World in Taiwan (CWT 台灣同人誌販售會) from Aug. 8-9 at the National Taiwan University Sports Center.