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Toei’s New President Charts a Bold Course Amidst Changing Movie Landscape

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Fumio Yoshimura, Toei’s new president, is leading the charge in revitalizing Japan’s film industry, which has been impacted by the enduring pandemic and the surge in popularity of video streaming services. Yoshimura emphasizes the importance of providing value that entices audiences to return to cinemas in an era where home entertainment options abound. While the pandemic initially saw a shift towards online viewing, the box office is now showing signs of recovery, with 2019’s record-high revenue of ¥260 billion poised to reach around ¥230 billion this year. The president underlines the significance of content quality and unique experiences to lure viewers back to theaters.

Yoshimura attributes the global acceptance of Japanese anime to its diverse range of genres, high-quality production, and relative ease of overcoming cultural barriers compared to live-action films. He notes China’s remarkable progress in animation, citing substantial investments and talent acquisitions as driving forces behind their rapid growth. However, Yoshimura calls attention to the need for government support and better working conditions in Japan’s animation industry to maintain sustainability and competitiveness on the global stage.

Looking ahead, Yoshimura envisions a future where Toei and Toei Animation, currently independent entities in live-action and animation, work in synergy to create compelling narratives. He emphasizes the importance of technological advancements, like virtual production using LED walls, to overcome physical limitations in filming. Yoshimura sees his role as developing talent and spearheading workstyle reforms to expand Toei’s footprint in international markets. With a rich history of exploring new initiatives, including early ventures into paid video distribution, Toei remains poised to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving entertainment landscape.

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