June 13, 2023
  • Rakuten Group, Inc.

Rakuten Optimism 2023: Rakuten Group’s Largest Interactive Event Returns as a Free On-site Event

- Rakuten’s largest interactive event welcomes business leaders and luminaries from around the world for three-day business conference: Ibrahim Gedeon, Soichi Noguchi, Yusuke Narita, Hirotada Ototake and more.
- Five-day “Future Festival” offers experiences of cutting-edge AI and VR/AR technology and the immersive Rakuten Ecosystem.

Tokyo, June 13, 2023 -
Rakuten Group, Inc. today announced that Rakuten Optimism 2023, the Rakuten Group’s largest interactive event, will be held as a free, on-site event from Wednesday, August 2 to Sunday August 6 at the Pacifico Yokohama event center.

Rakuten Optimism is an event series designed to inspire visions of a shared brighter future, provide opportunities to discover joy, and deepen the understanding of the services and ideals underpinning the Rakuten Group Ecosystem. For the first time in four years, Rakuten Optimism 2023 will mark a return to an in-person event and admission is free of charge. Registration for the event is now available on the official website*1, as well as the latest information on business conference speakers and event content for visitors*2.

In addition to Rakuten’s marquee business conference that brings together top luminaries and industry leaders, Rakuten Optimism 2023 will also feature the Future Festival, an interactive hands-on event that offers visitors experiences of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, VR and AR, as well as the immersive Rakuten Ecosystem.

The AI era is already here. Transforming the way we live and work, digital transformation has the potential to revolutionize our society in ways we are only beginning to imagine. This year’s business conference will explore both the deep societal implications and boundless opportunities afforded by AI and other technologies. Speakers and thought leaders from around the world, together with leaders from across the Rakuten Group, will take to the stage for discussions that delve into innovation for this new era, covering a wide range of themes including e-commerce, fintech, sports, telecom and sustainability.

This year’s edition of Rakuten Optimism includes an opening keynote by Rakuten Group Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani and sessions featuring Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer, TELUS; astronaut Soichi Noguchi, of Space Shuttle, Soyuz, SpaceX and CEO of Mirai Space Co., Ltd.; Yusuke Narita, Assistant Professor at Yale University and founder of Hanjuku-kaso Inc.; author Hirotada Ototake and more.

At the interactive Future Festival event, participants can experience the breadth and depth of the Rakuten Ecosystem through a diversity of services. Event booths offer visitors experiences of cutting-edge technology, including VR and AR powered by Rakuten Mobile’s 5G technology, AI-powered golf swing analysis and photo content and more. In addition, visitors to the five-day festival will be able to purchase popular products from Rakuten Ichiba merchants, local delicacies from across Japan and organic vegetable smoothies from Rakuten Farm. Rakuten's official mascot Okaimono Panda – which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – will have a dedicated area offering game content, a rest space and limited-edition 10th anniversary merchandise available for purchase. The event venue will be completely cashless*3. No prior registration is required for Future Festival.

Rakuten Optimism was first held in Japan at Pacifico Yokohama in 2019 and enjoyed by a total of approximately 80,000 attendees. Rakuten Optimism was held as an online business conference in 2021 and 2022, recording a total of approximately 286,000 views for last year’s edition. Held on-site for the first time in four years, Rakuten Optimism 2023 will allow participants to discover fresh and new aspects of the Rakuten Ecosystem.

In keeping with its emphasis on brighter futures, Rakuten Optimism 2023 plans to reduce carbon emissions from electricity consumption at the venue to net-zero through the use of carbon offsets*4, contributing to a more sustainable tomorrow as part of the Group’s Go Green Together project.

The business conference is now open for registration free of charge. The latest information on business conference speakers, talk sessions and event details for Future Festival can all be found on the Rakuten Optimism 2023 official website, which will be updated regularly as this year’s event approaches.

Rakuten seeks to pursue lasting change that enriches and empowers society by challenging established thinking. Through Rakuten Optimism 2023, the Group aims to expand the realm of possibilities enabled by technological breakthroughs and provide a platform where people can embark on a journey of discovery towards a more optimistic future.

*1 Please visit the Rakuten Optimism 2023 official site for registration and other details: https://optimism.rakuten.co.jp/en/.

*2 All speakers and program information are accurate as of the time of release and are subject to change in the future.

*3 Payments only available through Rakuten Pay (app), Rakuten Edy, Suica and other transportation e-money, Rakuten Card, Mastercard, American Express, Visa and JCB-branded credit cards, Rakuten Bank Debit Card (JCB and Visa) and branded debit cards. Suica is a registered trademark of the East Japan Railway Company.

*4 J-credits derived from renewable energy will be used.

Selection of featured business conference speakers (As of June 13, 2023)
Business conference page on the Rakuten Optimism 2023 official site:

Guest speakers (*Alphabetical order)
・Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer, TELUS
・Kazuyoshi Hayase, Deputy Director General, Group of Service for Ministries Administration, Digital Agency
・Takahisa Ikeda, Mayor of Miyakonojo City
・Ayako Kanouchi, freelance announcer
・Masashi Kojima, Managing Director, Software & Platform Industry Lead, Accenture Japan
・Hideaki Matsui, Executive Director, RE Guidance Team Manager, DIGITAL GRID Corporation
・Miyoko Nakashima, Market Strategist, Vice President, Mizuho Securities, MFTA, MBA
・Yusuke Narita, Assistant Professor at Yale University, founder of Hanjuku-kaso Inc.
・Soichi Noguchi, Astronaut (Space Shuttle, Soyuz, SpaceX), CEO, Mirai Space Co., Ltd.
・Hirotada Ototake, author
・Kaede Sari, architectural designer
・Kashiwa Sato, Creative Director, Samurai Inc.
・Hajime Tamaoki, Executive Officer, Group CIO, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Representative Director, Panasonic Information Systems Co., Ltd.
・Kotaro Tanaka, Vice President, Kyunan Service (Captain)
・Tsunehiro Uno, Editor in Chief, Planets

 MCs (*Alphabetical order)
・Ayako Kisa, Rakuten Optimism 2023 Moderator, freelance announcer
・Harry Sugiyama, Rakuten Optimism 2023 Moderator, television celebrity

 Rakuten speakers
・Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten Group
・Yasufumi Hirai, Group Executive Vice President, CISO & Technology Community, Chief of Staff, Rakuten Group
・Tareq Amin, Group Executive Vice President, Rakuten Group, CEO, Rakuten Symphony, Co-CEO, Rakuten Mobile
・Naho Kono, Group Executive Vice President, CMO, Rakuten Group
・Akihito Kurozumi, Group Senior Managing Executive Officer, CIO, Rakuten Group
・Kazuhiro Suzuki, Group Senior Managing Executive Officer, Rakuten Group, Co-CEO, Rakuten Mobile, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten Communications, President, Rakuten Energy
・Ting Cai, Chief Data Officer, Group Senior Managing Executive Officer, Technology Services Division, Rakuten Group
・Masatada Kobayashi, Group Managing Executive Officer, Chief Well-Being Officer, Rakuten Group
・Ryo Matsumura, Group Managing Executive Officer, Commerce & Marketing Company, Senior Vice President, Rakuten Group
・Yoshiyuki Takano, Head of Travel & Mobility Business, Vice President, Commerce Company, Senior Executive Officer, Rakuten Group
・Miki Kimura, Senior Executive Officer, Vice President of Regional Economy Vitalizing Business, Vice President of Dream Business, Commerce & Marketing Company, Rakuten Group
・Hiroyuki Nagai, President, Rakuten Bank
・Takashi Oyama, Executive Vice President Officer, Rakuten Card

Selection of Future Festival event content (As of June 13, 2023)

 Shopping booths
・Popular products from Rakuten Ichiba stores nationwide
・Limited-edition 10th anniversary merchandise available for purchase featuring Rakuten's official mascot, Okaimono Panda

Rakuten Optimism 2019: Okaimono Panda shop (left)  and selection of 10th anniversary merchandise (center and right)

Food and beverage booths
・Smoothies made with organic vegetables from Rakuten Farm
・Gourmet foods sold by featured Rakuten Ichiba merchants from across Japan

Rakuten Optimism 2019 gourmet area (left) and Rakuten Farm smoothies (*Sample image, right)

Hands-on experience booths
・Experience cutting-edge technology including VR and AR powered by Rakuten Mobile’s 5G technology, AI-powered golf swing analysis and photo content and more
・Okaimono Panda area visitors will be able to enjoy games and other content, as well as take a break at the relaxing picnic spot

Experience cutting-edge technology with hands-on exhibits

Event overview
Event name: Rakuten Optimism 2023
Dates: Wednesday, August 2 to Sunday, August 6 (Japan Standard Time)
Location: Pacifico Yokohama, 1-1-1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan 220-0012
Cost: Free admission (Pre-registration required for business conference)
Hosted by: Rakuten Group, Inc.
Official site: https://optimism.rakuten.co.jp/en
Register here: https://optimism.rakuten.co.jp/2023/registration/

*Registration available via the official site. All speakers and program information contained in this press release are accurate as of the time of release and are subject to change in the future.

 *The names of companies, products and services in this press release are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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