The heads of Japan’s leading studios discussed their strategies for expanding into international markets at the close of Japan Day Project’s seminar programme on Monday.

Toho president Yoshishige Shimatani talked about how the company has set up a division to work on remakes of its content: “Sales of Japanese movies are small. We need new strategies and can’t just dub our movies into other languages and try to export them,” Shimatani said.

He also talked about working with Legendary Pictures on its Godzilla reboot: “Godzilla is like our Mickey Mouse. We handed it over to Legendary and they made a very good movie out of it.”

Kadokawa chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa explained how the company is setting up the Kadokawa Contents Academy in several Asian countries to offer courses for animation, manga and character design. “We want to use Japanese pop culture to produce quality content creators associated with local cultures,” Kadokawa said.  

Jay Sakomoto, president of Shochiku, which exports both movies and kabuki theatre, talked about how Japan needs to be engaged in two-way cultural exchange. “Like Toho, we also own theatres and acquire French products and would like to continue to bring foreign culture into Japan.”

Gaga chairman Tom Yoda talked about the international success of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son and then echoed Sakomoto saying: “As a curator we are committed to delivering quality foreign movies to the Japanese market.”

Speakers also included Amuse chairman Yokichi Osato; Yasushi Shiina, director of Tokyo International Film Festival; and METI’s Kyoko Kashiwabara.