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THE NEXT BIG LEAP: Mark Sun, co-founder of Singapore firm MotionElements, is set to return to Content Tokyo next year.

THE NEXT BIG LEAP: Aspiring manga artist Miku Nakamura came dressed in character and stood out from her peers at the Creators' Expo.

THE NEXT BIG LEAP: A-Lab showed off Asuna, an ultra-realistic human robot at the Licensing Japan section.

Melting pot of creativity

Japan's largest content and creative solutions business exhibition, Content Tokyo, struck a perfect balance between new and old school media.
Jul 25, 2015 5:50 AM

IT'S not every day you'd find new media and traditional media seeing eye to eye, much less co-existing under one roof. The former thinks it's too cool for school in this digital age; while the latter is generally perceived to be living on borrowed time.

Hence, it was interesting to see how both came together seamlessly at Content Tokyo 2015, Japan's largest international business event for the content industry.

Organised by Reed Exhibitions Japan, it groups together six exhibitions specialising in areas of entertainment content creation, distribution, licensing, technology, service and marketing.

The fifth edition took place from July 1-3, occupying the west wing of the futuristic-looking Tokyo Big Sight convention centre. Visitors and exhibitors hit a new record high: from 50, 208 and 1,068 respectively in 2014 to 54,314 and 1,330 this year.

The show essentially brings together creators from industries such as print, digital, web, mobile and more as lines between them become increasingly blurred; and content producers help business owners to make that next big leap into new media.

Say, for instance a publisher wishes to create his own manga character: he'll find plenty of aspiring illustrators there to help him get started. Ready to introduce it to the world? Choose the traditional route of printing on paper or go digital with e-books. Ready to extend the brand and take the business to a new level? Production companies and game developers at Content Tokyo can turn the manga character into a mobile game and more.

Organic growth

Incidentally, the show has its roots in the Tokyo International Book Fair - into its 22nd year and now held concurrently with Content Tokyo - after a manga section was introduced to the exhibition.

It went down so well with visitors (Astroboy's late creator Tezuka Osamu's booth this year at the book fair was perennially packed) that it spawned Licensing Japan five years ago, a sub-exhibition where the image rights of iconic Japanese characters ranging from Godzilla to Rilakkuma can be acquired by individuals for use on their own products or businesses. A year later, Creators' Expo was introduced where budding manga artists, computer graphic designers, illustrators and even photographers came to exhibit their works and waited to be discovered.

The Production Companies and Content Solutions Expos were set up the following year to introduce a new media element; while Content Marketing and Advanced Content Technology became the latest addition to Content Tokyo - now the umbrella brand for all six exhibitions - this year.

Cutting edge technology

As expected from the Japanese, there was plenty of high tech on display, especially from the appropriately-named Advanced Content Technology Expo.

Epson drew a large crowd as visitors queued to try the latest Moverio next generation smart glasses, which looks like ordinary spectacles with clear lenses except you can play back video content on it.

Tokyo Denki University debut its sound cask - a project 22 years in the making - which it termed as an "immersive auditory display system" because of its ability to project 3D sound through its 96 speakers.

The university also found synergy with other exhibitors at Content Tokyo and is looking to further develop the concept to create "picture books" (similar to audio books but with 3D sound) as well as headsets with 3D sound capability.

But Denki University's Professor Shiro Ise adds the technology doesn't have to be used only for entertainment purposes: he notes that it also has the potential to benefit society when it's used as a warning system for the visually handicapped as sounds can help them to "see".

Overseas participants

Content Tokyo also drew foreign exhibitors from Taiwan, Korea and more, including Singapore company MotionElements, which prides itself as the largest online marketplace for digital assets in Asia.

As Japan is one of its key markets, co-founder Mark Sun says it made perfect sense for them to be there because "being an online global marketplace, we hardly get to meet our buyers and contributors face-to-face".

He adds: "At Content Tokyo, we learnt so much more about the market needs from major trends to minute improvements - we have already started working on these improvements as we speak!"

MotionElements plans to return for next year's show and that's something that definitely will be music to the ears of show director Keisuke Amano of Reed Exhibitions Japan.

"We hope to expand the show both in scale and international profile so both professionals from Japan and overseas will be able to utilise (it) to exchange contacts and seek the latest services and technologies for further developments of content business," he says.

  • For more information on Content Tokyo, check out The show will return on June 29 - July 1, 2016 at the same venue.