A Guide To Esports In Japan

Esports in Japan is rapidly gaining momentum, with its market experiencing remarkable growth and a rich gaming culture. As the world’s third-largest gaming market, Japan offers immense potential for enthusiasts to explore the fascinating realm of esports.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the Japanese esports scene – discussing the thriving market, notable games, and unique traditions that make it a vibrant hub for professional gamers and fans alike.

Key Takeaways

  • The esports market in Japan is rapidly growing and expected to reach over $129 million by 2025.
  • Fighting games, mobile games, and role – playing games are popular genres in the Japanese esports scene.
  • To enter the Japanese esports market successfully, it’s crucial to understand the cultural nuances of gaming in Japan and adapt products and services according to local tastes. It’s also important to find the right channels and partnerships through research, attendance at events, collaborating with influencers or teams, or using social media platforms commonly used in Japan.
  • Language barriers may present challenges when communicating with potential partners or players; thus hiring a translator or learning some basic Japanese phrases can make communication easier.

Esports Market In Japan

The esports market in Japan has experienced rapid growth, increasing from $2.6 million in 2017 to $35 million in 2018, and is projected to reach $71 million by 2022 and over $129 million by 2025.

Overview Of Esports In Japan

Esports in Japan has experienced rapid growth over the past few years, with its market value skyrocketing from a mere $2.6 million in 2017 to an impressive $35 million in 2018.

The Japanese esports scene is unique and diverse, offering professional gamers opportunities to compete in various genres such as fighting games like Tekken and Super Smash Bros., which lead the way within this thriving industry.

Growth Of Esports Market In Japan

Japan’s esports market has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. In 2018, the industry was valued at $35 million, up from just $2.6 million a year earlier. This is expected to continue with projections estimating that the market will reach over $129 million by 2025.

Moreover, Japanese culture heavily influences the expansion of esports within their country. With video games deeply ingrained in Japanese society and traditions like manga and anime becoming increasingly popular worldwide, it’s no surprise that esports are thriving here too.

This increased demand for professional gaming opportunities by fans combined with more mainstream acceptance has created fertile ground for further adoption of esports across Japan’s broader society thereby contributing to its overall gaming industry growth.

Esports Traditions In Japan

Esports has a unique place in Japanese culture as it blends traditional gaming with modern technology. Japan has always been known for its love of video games, from arcade games like Pac-Man to console hits like Mario and Zelda.

In fact, many professional gamers who compete in esports tournaments started out playing at local arcades before moving on to more organized competitions. The arcade culture is still alive and well in Japan, with establishments like Taito Station offering state-of-the-art machines and regular tournaments for fighting game enthusiasts.

How To Enter The Esports Market In Japan

To successfully enter the esports market in Japan, it is essential to understand the Japanese gaming market and adapt to its unique culture by finding the right channels and partnerships.

Understanding The Japanese Gaming Market

To successfully enter the esports market in Japan, it’s crucial to understand the Japanese gaming industry. The country has a long and rich history of video games, dating back to the early 1970s with arcade classics like Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

The gaming market in Japan is unique compared to other countries due to its cultural differences and preferences. For example, mobile gaming is very popular in Japan as people prefer compact devices that can be easily carried around.

In order to succeed in the Japanese gaming market, it’s important for businesses to adapt their products or services according to local tastes. Companies should also explore partnerships with established Japanese brands and channels that have a good understanding of the local market.

Finding The Right Channels And Partnerships

To enter the esports market in Japan, it’s essential to find the right channels and partnerships. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  1. Research Japanese gaming companies and their partnerships: Knowing the major players in the industry and their existing partnerships can help you identify potential opportunities.
  2. Attend gaming conventions and events: Attending industry events like Tokyo Game Show can provide insights into the Japanese gaming scene and offer networking opportunities.
  3. Partner with Japanese gaming influencers: Collaborating with well-known streamers or YouTubers can help promote your brand to a wider audience.
  4. Consider working with esports teams: Partnering with professional esports teams in Japan can give your brand credibility within the industry.
  5. Utilize social media platforms popular in Japan: Japanese gamers tend to use different social media platforms than those popular in other countries, so research which ones are most commonly used and consider using them as part of your marketing strategy.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you are finding the right channels and partnerships to enter the growing esports market in Japan, which is projected to reach over $129 million by 2025 according to [IMPORTANT FACTS].

Adapting To Japanese Gaming Culture

Adapting to Japanese gaming culture is crucial for anyone looking to enter Japan’s esports market. Understanding the cultural norms and preferences of Japanese gamers will help establish your presence in this competitive market.

Japanese gamers value skill and technical ability over raw power or flashy gameplay, so it’s important to hone your skills and strategy before entering the market. Additionally, building strong relationships with popular Japanese streamers can help you gain exposure and build a loyal fanbase.

Overall, taking time to understand the nuances of Japanese gaming culture can be hugely beneficial for any esports organisation looking to succeed in this lucrative market.

Popular Esports Games In Japan

Fighting Games

Fighting games are the most popular genre for esports in Japan. Titles like Tekken and Super Smash Bros. attract a large following and have huge tournaments with prize money exceeding USD 909,000 (JPY 100,000,000).

Top Japanese fighting game players are seen as celebrities in their own right, and there are specific gaming communities devoted entirely to fighting games.

Some of the biggest esports events in Japan have featured fighting games like Street Fighter and King of Fighters, with thousands of fans turning up to watch the action live.

Japan has also produced some of the world’s best fighting game players, including Daigo Umehara who is considered one of the greatest Street Fighter players of all time.

Mobile Games

Mobile gaming is a massive part of the esports scene in Japan. The country is home to some of the most popular mobile games and boasts an avid community that loves to play and compete. Here are some key facts about mobile gaming in Japan’s esports market:

  • Mobile games make up a significant portion of Japan’s overall gaming market, with revenue from mobile titles accounting for over half of all video game sales.
  • Popular mobile games include titles like Monster Strike, Puzzle & Dragons, and Fate/Grand Order.
  • Many esports tournaments feature mobile games as part of their lineup, with competitions like The Battle Cats Popularity Contest offering large cash prizes.
  • Smartphone ownership is high in Japan, with an estimated 85% of the population owning a smartphone or similar device. This makes mobile gaming accessible to almost everyone in the country.
  • There is a growing trend towards using smartphones as the primary gaming platform, even for more complex titles like MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) and first-person shooters. This trend is driving innovation in mobile game design and helping to push the boundaries of what’s possible on handheld devices.
  • Some influential Japanese companies are leading the charge when it comes to creating top – notch mobile games for competitive play. For example, Cygames (maker of Granblue Fantasy) recently launched its own esports league, while DeNA (maker of Pokémon Masters) has also been investing heavily in developing new games specifically for esports competition.

Overall, it’s clear that mobile gaming will continue to be an important part of Japan’s esports scene moving forward. As developers continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on smartphones and other handheld devices, we can expect even more exciting opportunities for competitive play and big cash prizes in this fast-growing segment of the industry.

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are a popular genre in the Japanese esports scene. Here are some key facts:

  • RPGs often have deep storylines and characters that players can invest in emotionally.
  • Final Fantasy is one of the most well – known RPG franchises in Japan and has been around for over 30 years.
  • Other popular RPG titles include Dragon Quest, Persona, and Monster Hunter.
  • While not as heavily featured in esports tournaments as fighting games or mobile games, there are still opportunities for professional play and competition in RPGs.
  • The annual Japan Game Awards include categories for Best Role – Playing Game and Best Online Game (which frequently includes MMORPGs).
  • Some esports teams may specialize in certain types of games – for example, the team Crest Gaming Xanadu is known for their expertise in fighting games but also fields a team for the game Granblue Fantasy Versus.

Esports fans who enjoy immersing themselves in a rich gaming world may find plenty to love about RPGs.

Tournaments And Prize Money

Esports tournaments in Japan offer substantial prize money, attracting both local and international competitors. Below is a table showcasing some of the most notable tournaments in Japan and their respective prize pools.

Tournament Game Prize Pool (USD)
Evolution Championship Series (EVO) Japan Fighting Games (Tekken, Super Smash Bros.) Variable, depending on number of participants
RAGE Esports Street Fighter V Street Fighter V Approximately $30,000
Tokyo Game Show Various Games (including mobile and RPGs) Variable, depending on event
Japan Esports Pro Championship Various Games Approximately $270,000
League of Legends Japan League (LJL) League of Legends $80,000+

It is important to note that certain tournaments in Japan can have prize money exceeding USD 909,000 (JPY 100,000,000), showcasing the growing popularity and investment in the esports industry in the country.

Esports Culture And Infrastructure In Japan

Esports Culture and Infrastructure in Japan is not just about gaming, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. Learn about how gaming is integrated into Japanese society, the community of esports enthusiasts, and the numerous gaming venues and teams you can find in Japan.

Role Of Gaming In Japanese Society

Gaming has played a significant role in Japanese society, with many people turning to video games for leisure and socialization. This can be seen in the emergence of gaming arcades that are popular among young adults and children.

Moreover, gaming is regarded as an essential part of Japanese culture, with esports events attracting large crowds every year. The popularity of competitive gaming encouraged game developers to create titles optimized for esports participation – such as fighting games like Tekken and Super Smash Bros.

Finally, recent studies show that there are various benefits associated with playing video games. For example, it enhances cognitive skills such as problem-solving and decision-making abilities while reducing stress levels during gameplay.

Esports Community And Events In Japan

The esports community in Japan is very active with various events and tournaments taking place throughout the year. One of the biggest events is the Tokyo Game Show, which attracts over 250,000 visitors annually and features both professional and amateur competitions.

In addition to these major events, there are also numerous smaller-scale tournaments held regularly across Japan. These tournaments attract a wide range of players from casual gamers to professional athletes.

The Japanese Esports Union has been established as a governing body to help organize these tournaments and work towards legitimizing esports as a recognized sport in Japan.

Gaming Venues And Teams In Japan

Gaming venues and teams are an essential part of the esports culture in Japan. Here are some key points to know about them:

  • Gaming Arcades: Unlike in other countries, gaming arcades are still very popular in Japan and serve as a hub for esports events. The arcades offer latest arcade games including Tekken 7, Gundam Versus, and Super Smash Bros. Players often come here alone or with friends to test their skills against others.
  • Esports Teams: There are several professional esports teams that have emerged in Japan over the years. Some of the top teams include Cyclops athlete gaming, Rascal Jester, DetonatioN Gaming, and Sengoku Gaming.
  • Gaming Houses: Many esports teams have their own gaming houses where players live and train together. This intense training environment helps build team chemistry, strategy development and teamwork as they prepare for tournaments.
  • E-Stadiums: These megastructures built specifically for esports events can seat thousands of viewers and provide state-of-the-art tech like lighting systems, video screens, sound system etc. A few notable e-stadiums in Japan include Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall in Tokyo which hosted matches from OGN’s “ApeX” League of Legends league.

These venues have become significant gathering places for gamers who use them as social spaces where they can meet other players and participate in competitive events across different genres such as fighting games (Tekken 7), mobile games (Shadowverse), role-playing games (Final Fantasy XIV) among others. However, despite its growing popularity there is a lack of regulatory framework around licensing e-sporting facilities for amateur leagues but professionals ones adhere to certain regulations on health safety standards that address issues such as addiction management among players.

Investment In Esports In Japan

Esports in Japan’s growing market is attracting a significant amount of investment. Major companies like Sony and SoftBank are investing millions of dollars to support esports events and venues, while smaller investors are also joining the industry by funding Japanese esports teams.

In addition, various startup companies are emerging with innovative ideas to offer unique services that cater to the needs of both professional gamers and casual players.

Future Of Esports In Japan

The potential for growth and expansion in Japan’s esports market is high, with the industry projected to reach more than $129 million by 2025.

Potential For Growth And Expansion

Esports in Japan is a rapidly growing industry, with the market seeing significant growth over the last few years. With a vibrant gaming culture and investment pouring into esports teams and tournaments, there is ample potential for further expansion.

However, this potential for growth isn’t just limited to financial gains. Esports has played an essential role in helping Japan’s gaming industry stay ahead of global trends.

Despite its rapid growth in recent years, Japanese esports still faces several challenges that must be addressed if it hopes to continue expanding successfully. One such challenge is a lack of regulatory framework governing esports tournaments and activities; however, this may change soon as discussions are ongoing on how best to regulate esports events fully.

Challenges And Obstacles To Overcome

Esports in Japan, like anywhere else, is not without its challenges and obstacles. Here are some of the biggest ones:

A lack of regulation: Esports in Japan lacks a regulatory framework, which can lead to issues with player safety, fair competition and disputes resolution.

Limited recognition as a legitimate sport: Despite its growing popularity, esports still faces some skepticism from traditional sports fans and organizations in Japan.

Connectivity issues: While Japan has impressive internet speeds, connectivity can be a problem when it comes to rural areas or events held outside of major cities.

Investor hesitancy: Although the esports market is growing quickly in Japan, investors may still be hesitant to put money into it due to concerns over sustainability and return on investment.

Difficulty in accessing funding: For small teams or individual players looking for financial support, securing funding can be difficult since most banks and investors usually prefer established gaming companies with proven track records.

High competition levels: Due to the high levels of competition within esports in Japan, many new players may find it hard to break into the scene without significant sponsorship or support from well-established organizations.

Despite these challenges and obstacles, the potential for growth and expansion within the world of Japanese esports remains huge. As the industry continues to evolve and mature, we can expect major strides towards overcoming these hurdles while establishing a more robust framework for future generations of professional gamers.

Importance Of Esports In Japanese Society And Culture

Esports has become an integral part of Japanese society and culture, especially among the younger generation. In Japan, gaming is not simply a pastime but rather a way of life for many individuals.

Esports tournaments have attracted large audiences both online and offline, contributing significantly to the country’s overall gaming industry. Top players are celebrated as professionals who embody discipline, hard work, and determination – qualities admired by Japanese culture.

The prominence of esports in Japan can also be seen in other aspects of society such as media coverage; popular TV channels often air esports matches while several documentaries showcase the lives of professional gamers.


In conclusion, the esports market in Japan is rapidly expanding and shows no signs of slowing down. With a strong focus on fighting games, mobile games, and role-playing games, Japan has become one of the leading countries in the gaming industry.

However, despite its success, challenges such as regulatory frameworks and recognition as a legitimate sport still exist. As the country continues to invest in esports infrastructure and develop new partnerships with international gaming companies, we can expect even greater growth in this exciting industry.


What are the most popular esports games in Japan?

Some of the most popular esports games in Japan include Street Fighter, Tekken 7, and Persona 5 Arena. However, there is also a growing interest in multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends and Dota 2.

Is esports gaining popularity in Japan?

Yes, esports is gaining popularity in Japan with the government recognizing it as an official sport since 2018. There has been an increase in tournaments being held throughout the country with both local and international teams competing.

Are there any notable Japanese professional gamers?

Yes, there are several notable Japanese professional gamers such as Daigo Umehara who is known for his skilled play on Street Fighter and Shoji Takakubo who is one of the top players on Tekken 7.

Can I participate or attend an esports tournament in Japan?

Yes, you can attend or even participate in an esports tournament in Japan. There are various tournaments held throughout the year with different levels of competition ranging from amateur to professional levels. However, it’s important to check if registration requirements differ depending on age or residency status before participating or attending events.

Leave a comment

Free Betting Tips, Direct to Your Inbox

Sign Up Today to Join Betting Gods for FREE and Receive Betting Tips Direct to Your Inbox Every Morning

Not Sure Who to Join?

These are the Top Performing Tipsters in May

In Form

BSP Profits

111 Winners Since January 2023
Total Profit:£3,350.00


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month

In Form

The Bookies Enemy

1,221 Winners Since July 2017
Total Profit:£25,655.53


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month

Premier Greyhound Tips

1,082 Winners Since October 2014
Total Profit:£34,607.60


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month