TV Channel Promoting Japanese Content Abroad Gets Expansion Funding

Issue 35 BKLOT Tokyo - H 2013
Jose Fusta Ragan/Corbis

Issue 35 BKLOT Tokyo - H 2013

Wakuwaku Japan, which airs anime, films and dramas, gets money from a fund as it targets 22 countries by 2020 to raise the country's cultural profile abroad.

The Japanese government-backed Cool Japan Fund is set to invest $36.8 million (?4.4 billion) as part of Sky Perfect JSAT's $92 million (?11 billion) expansion plan for an international satellite TV channel dedicated to promoting Japanese content, including anime, films, drama and music.

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The Wakuwaku Japan channel, a joint venture of Sky Perfect and the Cool Japan Fund, was launched in Indonesia in Feb. 2014, followed by Myanmar in June. The plan is to make Wakuwaku (a Japanese term for excitement) Japan localized and available in 22 countries by 2020. The focus will be on developing economies with emerging middle-classes, to whom, in addition to media content, Japanese food, sport, culture and tourist attractions will be promoted.

In addition to creating subtitled and dubbed content from Japanese TV networks and film companies, the channel will use the new money to create original programming that will promote regional areas of Japan in a bid to boost tourism to them.  The channel will also aim to help small and medium enterprises from Japan target foreign markets.  

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The Cool Japan Fund was launched in Dec. 2013 with $315 million (?37.5 billion), mostly from the government, but also from 15 major companies. The fund is scheduled to reach $750 million (?90 billion) this month and has been investing in everything from content to retail outlets and cold storage facilities overseas.  

Sky Perfect JSAT operates the Sky PerfecTV network in Japan, with more than 3 million subscribers, as well as a fleet of 16 communications satellites, Asia's largest.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair