REPORT

1st Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting Held

The Tokyo Treasure Islands Project was launched in 2018 with the aim of further expanding the appeal of Tokyo’s islands by making even more effective use of their wonderful scenery, local specialties, culture, and other attributes. The residents of the 11 islands in the Pacific that form part of the Tokyo Metropolis have taken the lead in this initiative to create, refine, and broadly publicize the Tokyo Treasure Islands brand and generate added value for the islands.

As part of the project, the First Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting was held on October 23, 2018. The venue for the meeting was New Pier Hall, located near Tokyo’s Takeshiba Ferry Terminal, which is the gateway to Tokyo’s islands. The meeting was attended by around 100 people, including mayors from the islands, participants from the four islands where Island Meetings are being held in the first year of the project—Oshima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, and Hachijojima (meetings will be held on the remaining seven islands from fiscal 2019)—and other stakeholders from all 11 of Tokyo’s islands.

Many media representatives were also in attendance, and the first part of the program featured an outline of the project and ceremonies including the unveiling of the logo symbolizing the initiative.

Many media representatives were also in attendance, and the first part of the program featured an outline of the project and ceremonies including the unveiling of the logo symbolizing the initiative.

In her welcoming remarks, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike commented that each island has its own characteristics, and a wealth of treasures that will dazzle when polished. She affirmed her hope that the meeting would accelerate branding efforts. Mayors from the islands joined the Governor in completing the project logo by placing parts representing the treasures of each island into an engraved logo mark, a colorful, sparkling diamond that captures the unique wonders of the different islands.

Then, a specific image of its target customers was described as people brimming with intellectual curiosity who constantly seek things that will further refine their sensibilities, and who take delight in discovering and enjoying unique and appealing objects and experiences. The brand concept for the project was also read out: special experiences and discoveries stemming from the distinctive characters and stories of the 11 islands that the Tokyo Treasure Islands project aims for will create “treasures” for people connected with the islands.

Particular features of the Tokyo Treasure Islands project are the series of Island Meetings, in which island residents take the initiative, and several Tokyo Treasure Islands Meetings where the 11 islands can align their efforts. The Island Meeting process consists of three phases: input, concept, and output. Output from the four islands holding meetings in the first year of the project is eagerly anticipated. With a view to such output, Governor Koike presented representatives of these four islands with a branding kit that they can utilize to polish their “treasures.”

With a view to such output, Governor Koike presented representatives of these four islands with a branding kit that they can utilize to polish their “treasures.”

The second part of the program began with a talk by Hiroki Inoue, president of the Imabari Towel Industrial Association, who provided tips from the Imabari Towel brand, which is an example of a successful regional brand that is now a household name in Japan. The audience listened intently to his story of a regional industry that overcame a crisis, which included details of specific practical steps taken to establish a strong regional brand. Mr. Inoue noted that regional branding initiatives are flourishing throughout Japan, and encouraged the 11 islands with his wish for the Tokyo Treasure Islands to join their ranks with branding that expressed unified content and a single objective.

This was followed by a panel discussion in which four guest speakers took the stage to talk about the Tokyo Treasure Islands Project and regional branding. In the course of discussion on topics such as island revitalization and customer-oriented branding, Atsuko Isamoto, Chief Editor of The Archipelago News, expressed her hope for the proactive dissemination of information to islanders not directly involved in the project, an effort that will help generate excitement throughout the islands.

After the meeting concluded, participants from all 11 islands mingled freely at a social gathering where they were able to sample cuisine made with island ingredients accompanied by locally-produced drinks. Many participants from the islands remarked that there have been few previous examples of all 11 islands acting in concert, showed keen anticipation and excitement about future prospects, and expressed their determination to work together in the aim of making significant achievements.