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Key Results

Key Results


Top 50 Brands decline in value by 9 percent

Amidst an extraordinarily difficult global economic climate, the total value of the BrandZ™ Japan Top 50 fell by 9 percent in the 2021 rankings, dropping $20.3 billion in value for a total brand value of $202,945 billion. Of the 47 brands returning from last years’ ranking, 35 declined in value year-on-year, while 12 grew in value.

Toyota stays on top

For the second straight year, Toyota is Japan’s number one most valuable brand. In a challenging year, Toyota’s brand value stayed virtually flat, declining just 2 percent. As a result, Toyota’s share of the Japan Top 50’s total brand value actually increased this year. The auto brand now accounts for nearly 14 percent of the country’s total brand value, up from 10 percent in 2020.

Auto makers remain a force

Just as in 2020, Cars account for a quarter of the total brand value of the BrandZ™ Japan Top 50. In addition to Toyota, Japan’s Top 10 most valuable brands for 2021 include similarly iconic brands Nissan and Honda; Suzuki and Subaru also made the nation’s Top 50 list. In recent years, the Japanese auto industry has been characterized by increasing levels of cooperation, tie-ups, and research sharing – all while continuing to nurture strong individual brands.  

Mixed category performance

Four categories in the Japan Top 50 saw year-on-year value increases: Entertainment, Personal Care, Home Care, and Telecom. Not coincidentally, all four of these categories also have a strong presence in the home environment. Cars, Retail and Technology – the first, third, and fourth-largest categories, respectively – all saw declines similar in magnitude to the overall 9 percent value decrease of the Top 50 portfolio. Categories like Alcohol, Insurance, Banks, and Tobacco saw larger declines, in line with global trends.

Line adds the most value among this year’s Top Risers.

With a 34 percent year-on-year increase in value, the messaging platform LINE led this year’s crop of Top Risers: those brands that have managed to increase their value above 2020 levels, even during a difficult business climate. Line’s bright and fun approach to mobile messaging has helped it to consolidate its popularity in core markets like Japan and Indonesia – all while Line continues to push into areas like AI, digital wallets, and entertainment content ahead of a proposed merger with Yahoo! Japan.

This year’s Top Risers were all able to seize the moment because of years of smart brand investment – because they had worked hard over the past decade to build trust and love with Japanese consumers. Some Top Risers - like the home care brand Attack, the entertainment company Nintendo, and the personal care brands Shiseido and SK-II – came from categories that stood to benefit from consumers spending increased time at home. But, impressively, some other rising brands hailed from categories that overall declined in value this year; this shows how strong branding can help to overcome economic headwinds. These rising brands include the retailers Rakuten, Nitori, and Tsuruha Drug, as well as technology brand Sony.


This year three new brands joined the BrandZ™ Japan Top 50. Leading drugstore chain Welcia, which is affiliated with Aeon, is the highest-ranking Newcomer at 36. Colorful discount retail chain Don Quijote follows close behind, at number 37. Canned coffee brand Georgia – a subsidiary of Coca Cola Company that’s become a quintessential Japanese drink since its debut in 1975 – enters the list this year at number 41.