Japan's increasing interest in the UK's creative industries has been described as a "love affair" by the UK Government as exports continue to rise in takings since 2015. Following the January visit of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, figures have been revealed that show film, music and video games from the UK are increasingly popular among the Japanese.
In 2016 Japan accounted for £325 million of the UK creative industry service exports, up from £226 million in 2015. These are any services that are exported including advertising and marketing. Creative Industry export goods - which includes things like handbags, printed books, paintings and sculptures - to Japan in 2016 were also worth £155 million, up from £146 million the year before.
In 2017 the box office take for UK films shown in Japan was $424.3 million. Two British films, Beauty and the Beast and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them topped the charts with 9.5 million and 5.6 million admissions respectively.
Japan’s love of UK music led to UK labels earning an estimated £18.5 million from Japan in 2017. It was the 5th largest in terms of UK revenues behind the USA, Germany, France and Australia. The biggest selling album by a British act was Divide by Ed Sheeran.
The UK’s video games industry also has strong links with Japan, the UK benefitting from major investment by leading companies including SEGA and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The UK game Overcooked 2, co-developed by iconic UK developers Team17 and Wakefield's Ghost Town Games is also proving popular in Japan as it was voted the most recommended game by Japanese Nintendo Switch players August 2018.
Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James said: "The UK’s creative and cultural output is one of our biggest exports and the Japanese market continues to love what we have to offer.
"From seeing our latest blockbusters on screen, to listening to rip-roaring live music acts and playing our latest video games - it’s clear that creative industries love affair between Japan and the UK continues.
And that affection is shown in the UK too, with over £100 million of creative industry goods imported into our shores every year. I look forward to seeing this partnership continue to grow for many years to come."