ITOCHU Announces Development of the Shimajiro Brand with a Focus on Educational Business in Thailand Together with Benesse Corporation and True Visions Group (CP Group)
February 7, 2019
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter, “ITOCHU”) announced today that they have concluded an animation broadcast license and master license agreement for the Benesse Shimajiro brand in Thailand with Benesse Corporation (headquartered in Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama; Hitoshi Kobayashi, Representative Director & Executive Vice President; hereinafter, “Benesse”). and True Visions Group Company Limited (headquartered in Bangkok; Soopakij Chearavanont, Chairman; hereinafter, “True Company”), a subsidiary of the CP Group. The Shimajiro animation series will be broadcast from February 2019 and licensed merchandise will be developed during 2019 through True Visions Group Company Limited (headquartered in Bangkok; Soopakij Chearavanont, Chairman; hereinafter, “True Company”), a subsidiary of the CP Group.
Shimajiro, the main character of Benesse’s correspondence course Kodomo Challenge has had a TV show since 1993 and has enjoyed widespread popularity for its contents that is enjoyed by children and adults alike. The show structure stimulates curiosity and is receiving high reviews in Asia as well, being awarded the first prize in the pre-school category at the Asian Television Awards, the biggest TV awards in Asia, in January 2019.
True Company is a strategic partner of ITOCHU and a subsidiary of the Thai CP Group, one of Asia’s biggest conglomerates. They are broadly engaged in TV broadcasting and contents merchandizing in Thailand. ITOCHU and True Company have already previously been discussing business expansion using Japanese characters in Thailand. Since this agreed with Benesse’s ambition to expand Kodomo Challenge overseas, the result was the abovementioned agreement.
The animated series Shimajiro started broadcasting on February 2, 2019 on the children’s subscription TV channel True SPARK PLAY, managed by the Thailand-wide broadcasting station True Visions. The plan is to increase the recognition of Shimajiro through the use of SNS, YouTube channels, and other means, after which licensed development in the form of apparels, miscellaneous goods, toys, and other products is set to commence during 2019. ITOCHU’s brand business know-how and True Company’s rich networks in Thailand will be utilized to increase the brand image and recognition of Shimajiro in Thailand. In the future, an educational business may also be developed using Benesse’s correspondence course Kodomo Challenge.
Thai Shimajiro TV program (Shimajiro: A Wonderful Adventure)