Wrestling in Japan

Japan made some iconic contributions to the world like Hello Kitty as well as some brilliant sci-fi film. Now it seems that next on the list which the world can expect from Japan would be professional wrestling. Not referring at all to sumo wrestling, but indeed the growing market of acrobatic throws and chokeholds taking place within the ring .Recently Bushiroad Inc. made the statement that they believe that some Japanese pro-wrestlers will be able to make as much of a success as the known icons like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan.

The pro-wrestlers which they are referring to are Tama Tonga and Tetsuya Naito. Bushriroad is known for the anime character and trading cards, but seven years ago, they bought New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and since then they were waiting and hoping for a giant breakthrough in the world of wrestling in Japan. Since wrestling was able to escape the shadow of animation and manga which it was overshadowed by for so long, it is creating a massive stir in the country. This stir is a very profitable one for this company situated in Tokyo. In recent history, the increase in revenue created by wrestling is calculated around five-fold.

Bushriroad’s Approach

The former employee of BMI marketing and current Chief Executive Officer for Bushriroad, Yoshitaka Hashimoto, believes that the importance of what they are doing while they are away from the mat, is vital to their anticipated success. He is happy with the performance within the ring, but he is curious to explore how they can improve in presenting their wrestling, in attracting international interest. He considers video-streaming as one possible solution. Hashimoto made the company public last month, and their record growth in the share prices was astounding. Their shares increased with a record 11% in only one day, and since stock became available, there was already a 32% increase in stock pricing. Currently, the company is valued at $369 million.

Bushriroad’s History

The company was founded in 2007 and since has been both a developer and marketer of intellectual property. They also are involved with the designing and selling of cards and various games for mobile platforms. The company also runs an internet radio station which features anime voice actors, they have regular musical shows in which anime actresses feature, and they are responsible for the promotion of BanG Dream!, a girl band. Another arm of the business is the sales of anime figurines and published comics. About 20 years ago pro-wrestling animation and card games were part of the Japanese sub-culture. Now the scene of pro-wrestling changed utterly. Even the fan base has changed from predominantly male to one where 4 in 10 fans are now women.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Bushriroad hired the former CEO of Tomy Co., Harold George Meij to run New Japan Pro-Wrestling for them. Meij has experience in a variety of Japan-based companies and is himself an avid fan of the sport. He too is convinced that Japanese pro-wrestling compares to the same level as WWE.