Our Brand

Our Brand

The Rakuten brand represents optimism and empowers our members to experience
the joy of discovery with a sense of confidence and excitement.

Growing together with our global communities,
we support individuals, businesses and societies to realize their dreams.
This idea is at the heart of each and every one of Rakuten’s services.

Brand Stories

Rakuten’s many services reflect the principles of our brand.

These are some of the people and stories behind them.


Rakuten Edy:
Letting local shops shine

In Japan, as in many countries around the world, supermarkets have long served as trusted and crucial components of the local communities they serve. But in recent years Japan has seen a wave of supermarket closures, particularly in rural areas. One major factor appears to be the introduction of proprietary e-money loyalty programs at major supermarket chains as they compete to win customers.

Rakuten took a different stance, instead opting to deploy its Rakuten Edy e-money service in support of local supermarkets and retail stores. Merchants would be able to utilize Rakuten Edy’s point system as it if were their own, without the need to alter their branding.

The idea behind the offering was that if local supermarkets and retailers were to adopt Rakuten Edy for payment and loyalty programs, they could compete with the major chain stores. This theory proved to be sound: Business at local supermarkets began to recover, while some even enjoyed significant growth. “Rakuten Pay,” another service that enables small-scale merchants to offer customers a diverse range of payment options, is looking to achieve a similar result.

“For me, the definition of meaningful work has changed since I was a kid,” says one member of Rakuten Edy’s project team. “Now I feel like a job is defined by how ambitious it is. How much can you improve the lives of people in the community and around the world? That’s what’s important. Today, I want to make the world a better place than it was yesterday, and tomorrow, I want to do it again. This is how Rakuten influences the lives of so many people. This is what I think it means to work.”


Working to provide solutions to
logistics issues with “Rakuten Drone”

Rakuten began offering its first drone service in May 2016, with “Rakuten Drone” (formerly “Sora Raku”). Launched as a trial on a golf course in Chiba, Japan, the service allowed golfers to order snacks, drinks and other items through a dedicated app on their smartphones and have them delivered directly to them on a green via drone. This was Japan’s first consumer-facing drone delivery service.

The drone, known as “Tenku,” was specially designed for the service. Jointly developed by Rakuten and Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL), the system allows for completely autonomous flight, and simple, safe operation through the “Drone Dashboard” on a dedicated mobile device.

Following their success on the golf course, the “Rakuten Drone” team has turned its attention to real-life logistical applications. They demonstrated the drone’s capabilities by making deliveries to islands on which people have limited access to shops, as well as through test deliveries utilizing mobile LTE networks. The team is also carrying out a trial delivery service that combines mobile sales vehicles and product deliveries by drones.

The more advanced drone technology and services become, the more comfortable and convenient our world can be. Drones could deliver medicine to people living on remote islands that lack pharmacies or hospitals, they could assist the elderly with everyday shopping, they could even distribute aid in times of disaster. Rakuten believes that drones have the capacity to fundamentally change the way we live in the future for the better.


An internet-driven agricultural revolution:
“Ragri” set to reshape farming in Japan

“Could the internet help solve Japan’s agricultural challenges?” With this simple question, Rakuten’s online farming service “Rakuten Ragri” was born.

“Ragri” connects consumers directly with farmers, making it possible to order fresh produce straight from the people who create it. Users can even monitor the progress of their crops as they are cultivated, with updates and photos from the farmer sent directly to their smartphone or PC via the service’s app. And of course once the goods are harvested, they’re delivered to the user’s door. The service offers a wide variety of produce, including organic or rare fruits and vegetables.

“Ragri” is setting out to address some of the challenges faced by the agriculture industry in Japan, including the growing amount of abandoned farmland and the scarcity of young farmers to succeed the current generation. As payment for Ragri produce is made in advance, farmers can count on a more stable income than they can with traditional farming and with less impact from fluctuations in the quantities they can harvest. “Ragri” is also carrying out a variety of activities to support the development of a young generation of farmers to succeed the current one. If this new approach succeeds in capturing the interest of the next generation, their participation could help save the farming industry in Japan.

As the freshly launched “Ragri” continues to grow, Rakuten is anticipating a bright future for Japan’s farmers.


The comeback of “Yona Yona Ale”
how Rakuten Ichiba made it possible

Today, “Yona Yona Ale” is regarded as one of the leaders of Japan’s craft beer world but for manufacturer YO-HO Brewing, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Launched in 1997, “Yona Yona Ale” initially found success riding Japan’s first craft beer boom. But as the boom came to an end, the company found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. Stores were no longer stocking the brand, and just one retail contract remained: Rakuten Ichiba.

YO-HO BREWING COMPANY CEO Naoyuki Ide was at the end of his tether. One day, while tidying his office, he came across a handwritten letter: “Thank you for opening a store on our platform. Let’s take on the world together using the power of the internet. (Signed Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten)” – it was dated 1997, the year both brands were founded. The letter inspired Mr.Ide to give the internet another go, to believe in the possibilities of online shopping and put his all into Rakuten Ichiba once more.

Mr.Ide took full advantage of Rakuten Ichiba’s e-commerce consultants, experimenting with different methods and planning a steady stream of original campaigns through the platform’s freely customizable store pages. Customers came in droves as the merchant created more and more entertaining content. “Yona Yona Ale” had succeeded in differentiating itself from the major breweries, bringing about steady sales growth and inspiring the brand's recovery.

Our brand evolution

Here we explain the brand that Rakuten strives to be, and how we have evolved so far.

The brand that Rakuten aspires to be

Navigating Rakuten’s wide range of services is like exploring a new city: There are new discoveries waiting around every corner. Through the Rakuten Ecosystem, with our universal membership I.D. and point program at its core, we have always focused on empowering users to experience the joy of discovery, as well as convenience and value.

As a brand, we aspire to achieve such a high level of trust from our users that they are able to use any Rakuten service with a sense of confidence and excitement.

The story behind the brand

In 1997, our first brand was born, in the form of the online shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba. The name was inspired by a desire to create something akin to the Rakuichi-Rakuza, Japan’s first free and open marketplaces from the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1600), while emphasizing a belief in the future and a sense of “optimism” - as the word rakuten means in Japanese. These ideas have remained an important part of every service we have developed since.

It was the dawn of the internet age, and for many, online shopping was an exotic idea. By choosing a familiar Japanese-sounding name, Rakuten looked to earn the trust of its new customers. Soon after, the company name was changed from the original “MDM” to “Rakuten.” Other group services followed suit, working the new name and logo into their own brands.

The road to brand unification

With Rakuten’s expansion outside of Japan, we needed to revisit the communication of the brand name and logo. By expressing the brand in Roman characters, we kept the “Rakuten” name and stayed true to the roots of the brand and the group.

In our 20th year, we took the step of unifying our brands. After rethinking the logos and names of each group service - both domestic and international - the new brand logo became the central pillar of our unified brand.

Global partnerships for a global brand

The unification of Rakuten’s brands commenced on July 1, 2017, at the same time as we launched our partnership with internationally beloved Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona. In September of the same year, we entered a partnership with star-studded NBA team the Golden State Warriors.

Both teams sport the Rakuten logo prominently on their uniforms, helping to communicate our brand to fans around the world.

Redefining expectations

Existing expectations are often the reason for giving up or compromising, without thinking too deeply. At the Rakuten Group, we are determined to redefine those expectations.

By believing in the future and with the optimistic spirit that our name represents, we are committed to providing a new vision of a bright future ahead and happiness for our members, partners, communities and people all over the world.

Our vision is represented in our new global logo by a motif based on the Japanese character for "one", or “ichi”, representing both a new beginning and our ambition to lead in whatever field we choose to operate in.

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