China Insights

BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands Ranking

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Brands 07.11.2019 / 08:00

BrandZ Japan Top 50

Well-placed among top-ranked global BrandZ markets, Japan’s top brands have huge potential for further international growth.

With a brand value of US$29.0 billion, Toyota races into first place in the newly launched BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands ranking by WPP and Kantar. Telecom provider NTT is ranked second (us$20.1 billion) while Honda came in third (US$11.7 billion).

BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity study, is the only brand valuation ranking to combine rigorous analysis of financial data with in-depth consumer research to determine the value the "brand" brings to businesses. Over the past 20 years BrandZ has interviewed over 3.7 million consumers from 51 markets around the world, including over 80,000 from Japan.

With a collective strength of more than US$223 billion (¥24 trillion YEN), the combined brand value of the Top 50 Japanese brands places them within the top half of BrandZ valuations markets, surpassed only by the US, China, Germany, France and the UK. The brands in this inaugural class of top Japanese brands hail from 17 different categories.

Led by Toyota and Honda, Japan’s successful automotive manufacturing industry is the most valuable category in the Top 50, with six car brands accounting for 25% (US$54.7 billion) of the ranking’s total value. Three of these – Toyota, Honda and Nissan (No.5, US$10.5 billion) - rank among the top ten most valuable car brands in the world. As Toyota transforms itself from an auto company into a mobility company, consumers perceive it as being highly innovative, providing a good brand experience and having a strong purpose.

A rise in retail

With thirteen contenders, the retail and apparel categories make up the most brands in the Top 50 ranking, accounting for 18% (US$39.7 billion) of the total value. Some, including resale platform Mercari (No. 47, US$761 million) and fashion retailer ZOZOTOWN (No.16, US$4.5 billion) have adapted to shifting consumer trends such as frugality, which characterises the prudent spending habits of many younger consumers, who have grown up during challenging economic times.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are developing new strategies and retail formats. Muji’s (No.32, US$1.8 billion) trademark minimalist style hotels, Uniqlo’s (No.7, US$9.8 billion) pop culture collaborations and wearable technology combined within its basic range of apparel to moderate temperature and enhance comfort, and 7-Eleven’s (No.8, US$8.9 billion) bicycle-sharing stations, parcel-delivery lockers and branded vending machines are examples of how Japanese retailers are adapting to ensure they remain relevant and meaningful to consumers. 

A strong sense of purpose

Of the 16 countries ranked by BrandZ, Japan’s most valuable brands are the most purposeful - a measure of how consumer’s feel the brand make their lives better. The country’s overall Purpose score for the Top 30 brands is 124 (with 100 being the average score across all companies). Yamato Transport (No. 24, US$2.7 billion) is the most purposeful Japanese brand with a score of 159, while Toyota achieves 154, ANA (No. 26, US$2.6 billion) (153), 7-Eleven 150 and Bridgestone (No. 36, US$1.5 billion) 149.

The BrandZ Top 15 Most Valuable Japanese Brands 2020

Rank 2020



Brand Value 2020 (US$M)







Telecom providers
















Telecom providers












Telecom Providers












Personal Care



Mitsubishi UFJ




Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation







Closing the gap – an opportunity for international growth

Japanese brands are often associated with quality, giving them a competitive edge in many global markets. However, despite having the third-largest GDP in the world and a raft of healthy brands, there are only two Japanese brands in this year’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Global ranking – Toyota (No. 41) and NTT (No.70). The ‘overseas exposure’ of Japanese brands (a combination of revenue, volumes sold and profitability from overseas) sits below the average of other BrandZ international markets, with many domestic companies still adopting a ‘Monozukuri’ approach towards branding.

Personal care brand Shiseido (No.12, $6.0 billion) leads the growing popularity of Asian brands in the West with a more outward-looking, alternative approach to branding. It has adapted its product portfolio in response to consumers’ environmental concerns. Rising 56% in brand value growth, it is positioned sixth in this year’s Top 20 Risers in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Global report.

“Japanese brands have a fantastic opportunity to close the current ‘brand equity gap’ and improve their global competitiveness. There is ample room to grow their stature abroad and, with high quality offerings that are coveted by consumers, they have the potential to increase their brand value through exploring factors that underpin their success and amplifying this with good communications, marketing, innovation and other brand building efforts,” said David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ.

The BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands report and ranking and extensive analysis are available online here. The reports, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be accessed through the BrandZ™ app, which is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from or by searching for BrandZ™ in the iTunes or Google Play app stores. 

Source: Kantar, WPP

Editor's notes

* About the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands Ranking

The valuation behind the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands was conducted by Kantar, which specialises in brand equity research and brand valuation. The methodology mirrors that used to calculate the annual BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, which is now in its fourteenth year. Commissioned by WPP and Kantar, the ranking combines rigorously analysed financial data from Bloomberg with the opinions of over 80,000 Japanese consumers. Over the past 20 years BrandZ has interviewed over 3.7 million consumers from 51 markets around the world.

The BrandZ Top 50 is the most definitive and robust ranking of the Japanese brands available, and the brands ranked all meet these eligibility criteria:

  • The brand originates in Japan and financial information is publicly available (the corporation is listed on a stock exchange or a significant portion of the business is owned by a corporation listed on a stock exchange)


  • The brand is owned by a corporation listed on the Japanese stock exchange and generates at least 50% of its revenue in Japan.
  • Bank brands derive at least 20% of revenue from retail banking

This approach has produced a carefully conceived ranking of brands in 17 consumer-facing categories, including cars, food, apparel, airlines, banks and entertainment.

The suite of BrandZ brand valuation rankings and reports includes the annual Global Top 100 as well as rankings for Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, South Africa and Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Peru).

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