We launched Business Insider Japan -- here's how we celebrated

Business insider japanScreenshot/Business Insider JapanBusiness Insider Japan’s frontpage on launch-day.

Ten days ago, I travelled to Tokyo to help Business Insider launch its latest international edition in Japan.

After many days of hard work and preparation by our Japanese team, Business Insider Japan went live officially on Tuesday night.

Over the last several years, Business Insider has launched local editions in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, among others.

To celebrate the launch, Mediagene, our Japanese partner company, arranged a packed day of press conferences and parties.

Here’s what happened.

A press conference was scheduled for 1 pm local time at The National Art Center in Roppongi, a posh neighbourhood in Tokyo known for its nightclub scene. NACT features dozens of art exhibitions each year.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

I arrived early with members of the Business Insider Japan team, including tech editor Ryosuke Nakanishi and director of development Bunzo Ono.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

A lot of people were expected to attend the press conference. Business Insider Japan's launch has been hotly anticipated in the business and technology sectors.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

New media has yet to overtake print among Japanese readers and there is no similar digital business publication in the country.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

There was plenty of Business Insider swag provided to attendees, who were mostly company executives, advertisers, and media journalists.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Ono made sure to live-stream the event on Facebook Live, which has become a popular broadcasting medium for Business Insider over the last year.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

The event began with an introduction to the Business Insider brand by Rich Kennedy, our senior vice-president of business and audience development.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

There was a translator on hand to translate the presentation for the primarily Japanese-speaking audience.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Many of the concepts that Kennedy talked about, like how digital is a fundamentally different medium than print or television, were new to the audience. Japan's top three printed newspapers are the most subscribed in the world. The first US paper on the list, the Wall Street Journal, is 12th.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: WAN-IFRA

But, like in the rest of the world, newspaper readers skew older. Young Japanese are moving towards digital media, like Business Insider.

Data taken from a National Media Survey conducted by Pressnet in Japan in 2013.

Next up was Roddy Salazar, BI's vice-president of international. Salazar talked about BI's recent push to open international branches all over the world.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Business Insider Japan's editor-in-chief, Koji Yakou, gave his pitch next. Yakou is the former editor of IT Media Marketing, a popular Japanese marketing website.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

After the presentations, Salazar, Kennedy, Yakou, and Hiroto Kobayashi, Business Insider Japan's publisher, sat for a lengthy Q&A session. Kobayashi is the former editor-in-chief of Wired Japan.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Advertisers peppered the panelists with questions about BI's revenue strategy and prospects for the Japan market.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Salazar and Kennedy wore ear-pieces so that questions could be translated to them in real-time.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Meet the team! Business Insider Japan is a partnership between Business Insider and Mediagene, a Japanese digital media company that has launched Japanese-language editions of Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Digiday.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Mediagene

There was a few hours of break after the press conference before the official launch party started.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

At around 6:30 pm, BI Japan's editorial team and I headed to the Ritz Carlton in Roppongi for the official launch party.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

It took a little while to find the ballroom. We got lost in the hallways.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

It didn't matter. We were still early. Staff were on hand with wine and refreshments.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

There were many attendees already there, but most were waiting in the hallway. I was told that, traditionally, partygoers wait until most people have arrived so they can greet acquaintances properly.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

It is customary in Japan to exchange business cards when meeting other people. When meeting someone new, it is respectful to bow and present your business card with both hands.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Motoko Imada, the CEO of Mediagene and Infobahn, Mediagene's parent company, welcomed guests to the launch party.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Kennedy gave a short version of his earlier presentation on the Business Insider brand.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Ono live-streamed the entire event to Facebook Live.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

The crowd listened intently as Kennedy talked about what makes Business Insider different from other publications. Salazar and Yakou followed with their pitches.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Time to eat! These roast beef appetizers were delicious.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

There was sushi on hand of course.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

And these colourful cherry-looking hor d'oeuvres. Despite their appearance, they were not cherries. I can't tell you exactly what they were, but they tasted egg-based and savoury.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

While partygoers mingled, drank, and munched on the snacks, Yakou led a panel on the future of digital media.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider
From left to right: Keiko Hamada, former editor of Aera Magazine, Daisuke Furuta, founding editor of BuzzFeed Japan, Ryuichiro Takeshita, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Japan, and Koji Yakou, editor-in-chief of Business Insider Japan.

Imada ran the next panel on entrepreneurship in media.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider
From left to right: Takashi Kusano, president of Brainpad, Yasuyoshi Yanagisawa, CEO of FAN Communications, Nobuya Ishizaka, president of Golf Digest, and Motoko Imada.

The last panel was moderated by Kobayashi on women and business media.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider
From left to right: Etsuko Okajima, CEO of ProNova, Chiaki Hayashi, CEO of Loftwork, Yukiko Unno, Deputy General Manager of Business Development at NHK Enterprises, and Kobayashi.

After the party ended, Imada gave a speech thanking Mediagene employees for their hard work. Kennedy, Salazar, and I then each gave a toast to the team.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Finally, time for celebratory drinks!

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Business Insider has 14 international editions.

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