JAPAN PAVILION RULES
A TOP LINE-UP of Japanese film executives, in a constellation rarely seen in Japan, even, gathered on the Croisette on Monday to talk up the Japanese industry for the All-japan Summit: Power Players Panel Discussion. But, perhaps, the most impressive speaker of all, was an interactive lifesized robot, dressed in a kimono, called Ambassador Asuna who nods her delicate head in the corner of the venue, the Japanese Pavilion. Asuna is a creation of A-lab Co Ltd. And if you are feeling lonely, ordering one of her siblings might be a good idea. She talks. The pavilion is the first Japanese Pavilion in Cannes since 2010, and an initiative of Japanday, a large-scale, government-backed program to promote the Japanese industry. One of the highlights for the program was the summit whose speakers included: Tsuguhiko Kadokawa Chairman of the Board, Executive Officer, Kadokawa Corporation; Kyoko Kashiwabara Director, Media and Content Industry Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI); Yokichi Osato, Representative, Director and Chairman, Amuse Inc.; Jay Sakamoto President & CEO, Shochiku Co., Ltd.; Yasushi Shiina Director General, Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF); Yoshishige Shimatani President, Toho Co., Ltd. Tom Yoda, Chairman of the Board /President /CEO – GAGA Corporation San-e Ichii, secretary general, Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO) moderated. “Japanese content has garnered a high reputation, from animation to film to television and books,” said Yoda. “I believe it has great potential and that there is a ripple effect into other industries. There have been a number of successful initiatives since 2004.” Yoda holds multiple positions in the business world, but speaking about his film company Gaga, which distributes foreign films in Japan and has been behind Cannes award winners including Like Father,like Son, he said: “We are like a messenger for foreign films in Japan.” Sakamoto also spoke about cultural exchanges working both ways.