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.
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.
I arrived early with members of the Business Insider Japan team, including tech editor Ryosuke Nakanishi and director of development Bunzo Ono.
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.
New media has yet to overtake print among Japanese readers and there is no similar digital business publication in the country.
There was plenty of Business Insider swag provided to attendees, who were mostly company executives, advertisers, and media journalists.
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.
The event began with an introduction to the Business Insider brand by Rich Kennedy, our senior vice-president of business and audience development.
There was a translator on hand to translate the presentation for the primarily Japanese-speaking audience.
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.
But, like in the rest of the world, newspaper readers skew older. Young Japanese are moving towards digital media, like Business Insider.
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.
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.
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.
Advertisers peppered the panelists with questions about BI's revenue strategy and prospects for the Japan market.
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.
At around 6:30 pm, BI Japan's editorial team and I headed to the Ritz Carlton in Roppongi for the official launch party.
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.
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.
Motoko Imada, the CEO of Mediagene and Infobahn, Mediagene's parent company, welcomed guests to the launch party.
The crowd listened intently as Kennedy talked about what makes Business Insider different from other publications. Salazar and Yakou followed with their pitches.
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.
While partygoers mingled, drank, and munched on the snacks, Yakou led a panel on the future of digital media.
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.
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