Venture to push ‘anime’ in LA


Staff Writer

Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, a semipublic body tasked with enhancing the value of the nation’s businesses, announced Monday it will establish a new firm to remake existing domestic “soft” content, including movies, “anime” (animation), TV dramas and songs, to sell them to Hollywood, aiming to increase revenue.

The new company, All Nippon Entertainment Works, will debut in October with offices in Tokyo and Los Angeles and have ¥6 billion in funds that INCJ will invest.

Japan’s various soft contents “are not marketed very well in overseas markets. Even when they become globally popular, those successes don’t really connect with the domestic business and industry,” said Keita Nishiyama, INCJ executive managing director.

The content also tends to be popular with core Japanese culture fans, so the new company will attempt to gain wider audience appeal for existing stories and characters, Nishiyama said, adding it will try to sell Hollywood various elements for potential movies, the key to global marketing, to reap revenues for the originators.

Nishiyama said the company is aiming for at least one hit with the first ¥3 billion, and will fold if it fails.

Partner companies include Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., Fuji Television Network Inc., Nikkatsu Corp., Dentsu Inc. and Tomy Co.

By unifying content and negotiations, the new firm “will strengthen bargaining power,” Nishiyama hoped.

Asked why the partner firms didn’t invest in the new venture, Nishiyama said that was to ensure fair content.

Nishiyama added that the management team members were still being negotiated.

Japanese film wins

LOCARNO, Switzerland

Director Shinji Aoyama’s “Tokyo Koen” (“Tokyo Park”) won the Golden Leopard Special Jury Prize, an additional grand prize established this year besides the regular Golden Leopard, at the 64th Locarno International Film Festival on Saturday.

Top prize went to “Abrir Puertas y Ventanas” (“Back to Stay”) by Argentine director Milagros Mumenthaler, but festival organizers said the two prizes are on a par.

“Saudate,” directed by Katsuya Tomita, 39, won a critics prize as another Japanese film nominated in the annual event’s international competition section.