The Embassy of Finland in Tokyo, in cooperation with creative consulting company Kotana, launches Finland themed sticker collection to LINE, Japan's most popular message application. The sticker collection, aimed for Japanese consumers, gathers in one place instant messenger-stickers designed by Finnish artists, designers and entertainment companies. The stickers will allow Japanese LINE-users to communicate in a Finnish way.
The stickers, used much like emoji-pictures to convey emotions and different exclamations in connection to the messages, are highly popular in the mobile and instant messenger culture in Japan. LINE has approximately 75 million active users in Japan, and globally LINE users send more than 2 billion stickers every day.
The figurehead of the sticker collection is Fintan – the embassy's mascot- and animation-character popular in Japan. The 16 Fintan-stickers introduce Finnish interjections and exclamations in written and visual form. In other words, from now on a Japanese LINE user can cheer on their friend studying for exams in Finnish with a "tsemppiä!" (you can do it!") -sticker, or end the conversation with a "moi moi!" ("bye bye!") -sticker. In Japan the image of Nordic lifestyle and Finland is very positive and it is not uncommon to see Finnish words used for example in the names of different shops and products. Fintan-stickers were designed by Japanese animator Kenji Itoso, who originally brought Fintan to life.
The Embassy of Finland in Japan has assembled the Finland-centered sticker-collection in cooperation with a Finnish creative consulting company, Kotana. In the launch-stage the collection includes stickers created by artists Jasmin Anoschkin, Katja Tukiainen, Matti Hagelberg and Cecilia Kugler, and the mobile game developer Supercell. The collection is planned to later expand with new creative artists, designers and companies. The Finland sticker-collection in its entirety is easiest to access through a new website launched today: https://www.finlandstamps.com.
"Utilizing LINE-stickers is one of the new channels to access different Japanese target groups in the promotion of Finland", tells Mr. Markus Kokko, Counsellor for Press and Culture at the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo. "Advancing of digital platforms and instant messenger technologies creates new possibilities for public diplomacy and we, as an embassy, want to be there developing new ways to raise the awareness of Finland and its people in Japan. Our objective is that we Finns will be perceived as easy to approach, skilled and innovative people, who yet won't take themselves too seriously."
"By inviting Finnish creative professionals to showcase their never-seen-before stickers, we wanted to provide the Japanese customers with fresh design and art from Finland, as well as deepen the image of Finland in Japan”, explains Mr. Miikka J. Lehtonen from Kotana. "We are very excited to showcase new Finnish design and art in Japan with the stickers and hope that this will also serve to bring co-branding opportunities, exhibitions and further exposure to the creators".
As LINE is a commercial platform, it is not possible to give stickers created by outsiders out for free. Embassy's Fintan-stickers cost the lowest possible price – 120 yen (0.99 €). Profits of every sticker sold will be directed to Tokyo based Japan Finland Society's Chujo Watanabe scholarship fund that is used to annually sponsor one Finnish student's Japan-related studies.For more information:
Finland LINE stickers: https://www.finlandstamps.com/
Fintan was born in 2012, when Japanese public broadcasting company NHK started in its own twitter-account to call the Finnish embassy's @FinEmbTokyo-account by the name Fintan. The name is a combination of "Finland" and "-tan", the latter being a Japanese term of endearment. Later in 2012, animators Kenji Itoso and Tomohiro Ishii gave Fintan a visual appearance, making him the first ever animated character to represent an embassy in social media. Since then, this approximately 7-year-old, blonde-haired and blue-eyed little boy clad in a lion costume, has become a social media symbol of Finland in Japan. Currently Fintan's Japanese Twitter-account has more than 140 000 followers.