No stranger to the world of popular culture with the successful company Bushiroad Inc, President and CEO Mr Takaaki Kidani difintely knows what it takes to succed in this industry. Bringing the first ever CharaExpo to Singapore this weekend, Kenneth Wong talks to Mr Takaaki Kidani about the origins of CharaExpo 2015, one area visitors to CharaExpo 2015 shouldn’t miss and what can fans look forward to in the future with Bushiroad.
Can you share how the idea for CharaExpo first started?
This is the first CharaExpo that Bushiroad is organizing. The anime community is growing in the region and we believe that the expo brings the creators of Japanese content even closer to its fans. For the first time, fans will be able to interact with top content developers, animators, celebrities, fans and titles.
With so many Japanese popular culture events happening here in Singapore, what sets CharaExpo apart from the rest?
CharaExpo is unique because of three key elements:
- We put the spotlight on the talent behind anime; creators, illustrators, voice talents and even wrestling pros. These are the drivers of the content that is so well loved by the community
- Holding CharaExpo in June means that it would not clash with other events on the anime calendar. I do not see other anime festivals in the region as competition because these festivals and conventions help spur the growth of the market and interest in Japanese content.
- While most anime events cater solely to the consumer, CharaExpo also has a strong B2B element that aims to help Japanese businesses expand their reach within the region. Next year, we will bring deeper focus on the B2B element.
If there is one area that cannot be missed at CharaExpo, what would it be?
This is the first time that the stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) will be in Singapore. The NJPW stars have a massive fan base and have travelled all over the world including the US, Taiwan and Brunei but has yet to make an appearance here. At the CharaExpo, fans will be able to watch matches as well as meet their favorite stars such as Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Thunder Liger.
Other areas that should not be missed are: Cos☆Stage, for the serious cosplayers who can compete to win an exclusive, all-expenses paid, invitation to the Cosplay Collection Night at the Tokyo Game Show 2015 and Bushiroad Spring Fest, our annual card game tournament that will feature a 600-seat card game area for both new and veteran players.
Bushiroad acquired New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2012, since then how has it added to the company’s portfolio as an entertainment company?
The addition of NJPW strengthens Bushiroad’s entertainment portfolio, as we believe that pro-wrestling is not only sports; it’s also an entertainment platform where different characters are portrayed. Further to the sports entertainment element, we have also created a trading card element where fans can come together to play and trade their heroes.
What can fans look forward to in the future with Bushiroad?
Of course, fans can look forward to more trading card game titles and expansions by Bushiroad for our main titles; Cardfight!! Vanguard, Future Card Buddyfight and Weiss Schwarz. Bushiroad is constantly growing with the times and hearing feedback from fans. We aim to deliver a myriad of content and entertainment outside our trading card game business in the near future too.
Lastly, any message for fans coming for the CharaExpo?
We hope that the fans will come visit all areas of the CharaExpo to meet their favourite anime creators, voice actors and cosplayers. Let’s all do our part to grow the community!
Thank you Mr Takaaki Kidani for your time.
Photos courtesy of Bushiroad Inc / CharaExpo
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