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TABLE OF CONTENTS

NFTs in Japan: Key Projects and Features

4.8
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Footprint Analytics
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NFTs in Japan

The Japanese NFT market began with collaborations between domestic anime and idols, and is now focused on cultural affinity that has become a source of support for Japanese NFT projects.


Key Takeaways:

  • The Japanese NFT industry has three characteristics: extensive intellectual property (IP), low FUD, and a tightly knit community that encourages collaboration and synergy.

  • Three major Japanese NFT projects are Murakami Flowers, Crypto Ninja Partners, and MetaSamurai.


On top of its rich and long-standing video game history, Japan also boasts the most IPs in the world. The popularity of Japanese IPs reaches beyond borders, making it a global phenomenon.

For example, popular Japanese anime like Naruto, Dragon Ball, and Attack on Titan have millions of fans worldwide, leading to a thriving industry and solid foundation for digital art.

Because of this, the Japanese NFT community has its own unique aesthetics and preferences that set it apart from other regions of the world.

If you're interested in learning more about the Japanese crypto market, you can access the full report here: Crypto in Japan: Main Sectors, Industry Trends, and Future Prospects

The Unique Trajectory of NFTs in Japan

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital asset that is unique and cannot be replaced or exchanged for anything else. It is stored on a blockchain, which allows for proof of ownership and authenticity. 

Since the beginning of 2018, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been a hot topic in the Japanese crypto industry. With the worldwide NFT craze in 2021, they have become increasingly popular and more mainstream.

The evolution of NFTs in Japan has taken a unique trajectory, often independent from global trends. In the realm of collectibles, the market began with collaborations between domestic anime and idols, using existing IP content as a foundation and centering around fan communities. This led to a scenario where Japanese NFTs going global was relatively rare.

However, after the advent of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), collection-style NFTs gained prominence. Notably, Murakami Flowers became the first project to amass a holder base that extended beyond Japan. Given Murakami's existing global renown through collaborations with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hublot, and considering his activities weren't limited to Japan, his project served as a catalyst for Japanese NFTs to gain worldwide attention.

The Japanese have a deep love for their culture and artwork, which naturally lends support to local projects. For example, Takashi Murakami creates NFTs that express Japan's culture. This cultural affinity has proven to be a natural source of support for local blockchain projects.

We can also see the increasing number of adoptions in the Japanese local community. The “Furusato Nozei” is a tax system in Japan that allows taxpayers to donate a portion of their taxes to a chosen local municipality, in return for local specialities as a token for appreciation. 

Recently, some municipalities have begun offering NFTs along with each different specialty. This approach is specific to Japan, and is fostering the fusion of rural revitalization and digital art, demonstrating a potential that leverages Japan’s unique aesthetics and local resources.

Generally, there are 3 key features of the Japanese NFT industry: 

  • Rich IP: The Japanese crypto game industry benefits from a wealth of intellectual property, including popular anime, manga, and video game franchises that can be leveraged to create compelling NFTs.

  • Low FUD: The Japanese cryptocurrency gaming community has a low rate of FUD, likely due to the culture's tendency to avoid direct criticism and express dissatisfaction. This is particularly evident among NFT beginners and community members with little influence.

  • Concentrated community: The Japanese cryptocurrency community is small, which fosters collaboration and common purpose, leading to more effective community building and synergy.

In the following sections, we'll look at popular NFTs in Japan and how they've performed.

Murakami Flowers

Murakami Flowers NFT

Source: Murakami.Flowers Official (@MFTMKKUS) / Twitter

Takashi Murakami, a professional and legendary artist, has launched the Murakami.Flowers (M.F) project, inspired by his life-long love for painting and creating art. The project itself is structured around the number “108”, symbolizing “Earthy Temptation” in Buddhism, encapsulates his vision for bringing the physical and digital art realms together. 

The total number of NFTs in the collection is 11,664 (108*108). For the distribution, 3,000 whitelists were given to the holders of RTFKT Clone X with “Murakami Drip” trait, along with 500 winners in other events, plus around 4,000 for Murakami himself, with the rest of the 6,751 collections reserved for public sale.

The sale prices have been set at 0.0727 ETH for the whitelist participant, and 0.108 ETH for public sale participants, with purchase limited to one per wallet. The actual sale took place in April 2023, and each participant received a “seed” NFT that would later evolve into a different unique flower.  

Data from Footprint Analytics, which provides unique holding address information, shows that Murakami Flower has the largest unique holders.

Holders of MF

Source: Murakami Flower Holders

Despite a steady decline in value since September 2022 as seen in the below chart, Murakami has been diligently expanding his MF universe through a lot of activity involving himself.

MF CoinGecko

Source: Murakami.Flowers Official (M.F) Price 

Contrary to typical NFT projects, holder airdrops are not limited to NFT sub-collections but also includes plenty of physical merchandise such as an original T-Shirt, the Tamagocchi-like game “Flower Go Walk ”, and an MF-based trading card collection.

Regarding market activity, the MF collection floor has experienced a consecutive depreciation and is currently being traded around $600, second to Crypto Ninja Partners (which we’ll look at next).

MF Sum of Floor Price

Source: Murakami Flower Floor Price

The floor price of the collection could be attributed to the actual market participant, and ones with many lucrative opportunities such as allow list allocations would contribute a lot to the actual price being traded. In spite of the declining floor price, given that NFT art is a related sub-system of the larger art realm, it could also be seen that Murakami is trying to bring this project to a whole different direction than the other PFP collections.

Crypto Ninja Partners 

Crypto Ninja Partners

Source: 【公式】CNP(シーエヌピー) | CryptoNinja Partners (@cnp_ninjadao) / Twitter

Crypto Ninja Partners (CNP) is an NFT collection featuring Japanese ninja-themed characters, originally emerging from a community known as NinjaDAO. While not strictly a DAO in the typical sense of the word, NinjaDAO was a community of crypto enthusiasts in Japan. Two central figures propelled the CNP project into a wider audience: Ikehaya, a Twitter-based NFT influencer and web marketer, and Road, another key contributor.

The original mint of the CNP collection occurred in May 2022, with a strikingly low initial price of 0.001 ETH, amounting to a total of 22,222 items. In contrast to typical collections that set their initial sale price around 0.05-0.08 ETH, CNP aimed to be affordable, enabling those unfamiliar with NFTs to join in and benefit from potential value growth rather than starting with a high price of 0.08 ETH. 

This strategy proved successful and instilled confidence in holders, driving the floor price to over 2 ETH, and establishing CNP as one of the successful NFT projects in Japan.

CNP sum of floor price

Source: Crypto Ninja Partners (CNP) Floor Price

Despite its collection size of 22,222, CNP still ranks second in terms of holder numbers, following the MF collection.

CNP's strategy primarily involved distributing a large number of sub-collection and family collection ALs to CNP holders, launching each with a similar price of 0.001 ETH. In the project's early phase, this strategy effectively stimulated economic bandwidth by offering CNP holders prioritized minting opportunities. However, as the project has grown amid deteriorating market conditions, it appears CNP is struggling to attract a new audience beyond its current base.

From its inception, the founder and community members have promoted the project in various ways, primarily revolving around a few main characters as community IPs. The community is driving CNP's expansion by developing mobile games, holder apps, and more under the CNP brand. In addition to creating derivatives, CNP owners can enjoy exclusive experiences in over 160 affiliated restaurants, hotels, and other locations, thanks to discounts on specific services available in Japan.

The project's strong emphasis on community sets it apart from the other two major NFT projects in Japan, leveraging the country's strength in IP creation.

MetaSamurai

MetaSamurai NFT

Source: 1BLOCK STUDIO®︎ (@1block_official) / Twitter

Presented by the creative group "1BLOCK®︎", based in Los Angeles and Tokyo, MetaSamurai is a collection of 3,333 unique 3D avatar NFTs. The project aims to establish a brand in digital fashion through the empowerment of creators.

The core concept of the project, "I GOT YOUR BACK", symbolizes the commitment of MetaSamurai to support its owner. This phrase originates from a story where two individuals stood back to back to protect each other in battle. The ethos of samurai, who dedicate their lives to protect their lord, combined with the story of Hachiko, the loyal dog that waited for its deceased master for over a decade, serve as the motifs for the MetaSamurai pieces.

The minting of the original collection took place in June 2022, with a public sale price set at 0.05 ETH.

MetaSamurai NFT Sum of floor price

Source: MetaSamurai Floor Price

In 2022, its value hovered aroundthe sale price, but in early 2023, the collection began to receive significant appreciation.

Furthermore, collaborations with a host of companies and brands within Japan serve as one of the unique aspects of this project. Numerous collaborations have been realized with well-recognized partners like "Ghost in the Shell", "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex", "BEAMS CULTUART", "COACH", "Lupin the Third", and "Atmos x Space Brothers".

1BlockStudio MetaSamurai

Source: METASAMURAI by 1BLOCK

1Block positions MetaSamurai not just as an ordinary NFT collection, but as a collection offered by a digital fashion brand. This differentiates it from other projects that launch NFT collections. The upcoming MetaSamurai 2 collection is anticipated to feature wearables that individual MetaSamurais can don, offering a new perspective for fashion brands yet to venture into NFTs to develop original items.

Conclusion

The Japanese NFT industry has a distinct development and characteristics that distinguish it from other parts of the world. The Japanese NFT business has shown tremendous potential by utilizing Japan's distinctive aesthetics and local resources, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future. 

However, how to make Japanese NFT projects more appealing to an audience outside Japan remains a critical issue for the industry. This may require more extensive marketing and promotional activities, as well as cooperation and communication with NFT projects from other countries to promote cross-border cooperation.

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on crypto in Japan.

Part 1: Crypto in Japan: Industry Trends and Future Prospects

Part 2: Exploring the Potential of Japanese Crypto Games


Footprint Analytics is a data platform blending web2 and web3 data with abstractions. Leveraging cutting-edge AI technology, we help analysts, builders, and investors turn blockchain data into insights with accessible visualization tools and a powerful multi-chain API across 26 chains for NFTs, GameFi and DeFi.

Footprint Website: https://www.footprint.network

Discord: https://discord.gg/3HYaR6USM7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Footprint_Data

Rokubunnoni, Inc. is an independent media company specializing in virtual currency and blockchain that has been active since 2018. Our vision is to contribute to the development of Web 3.0 by providing in-depth knowledge to our valued readers by covering innovative blockchain technologies and products from an unbiased perspective.

Media : https://crypto-times.jp/

Research Report Distribution : https://ct-analysis.io/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/CryptoTimes_mag

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