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The evolution of characters business models in Japan: Duffy, Hello Kitty, and Kumamon

Kazuhito Isomura (Graduate School of International Accounting, Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan.)
Kazunori Suzuki (Graduate School of Finance, Accounting and Law, Waseda University, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.)
Katsuyuki Tochimoto (M-Theory, Inc., Tokyo, Japan)

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 9 March 2015



This paper aims to clarify how to develop characters business models by utilizing new business concepts.


The paper examines three cases in Japan to innovate characters business models: Duffy, Hello Kitty and Kumamon.


The paper suggests that utilizing experience-based promotions, open innovation and a royalty-free strategy enhances customer loyalty to characters, expands customer targets and encourages autonomous collaboration of stakeholders.


These case studies clarify how new business models aim to increase customer loyalty to characters and widen customer targets beyond generation, industry and country.



This research was supported by a Chuo University Grant for Special Research.


Isomura, K., Suzuki, K. and Tochimoto, K. (2015), "The evolution of characters business models in Japan: Duffy, Hello Kitty, and Kumamon", Strategic Direction, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 34-37.



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