Since its sudden outbreak in February 2020, COVID-19 has become a global menace and continues to affect us even now. Here in Japan, over the past year and eight months, state of emergency declarations have been issued with each new wave of infection, and during this time our lives have consisted of protracted periods of self-restraint and forbearance.
Following the government’s recommendations, the public faced increased anxiety over the virus, doing everything possible to prevent the spread of infection. People also experienced a radical change in their daily lives, not even being able to go out normally. I feel terrible saying this considering the hard work of the healthcare professionals overwhelmed in dealing with the pandemic, but the days have been truly difficult on us all.
Finally, vaccinations proceeded smoothly, the fifth wave came to a close, and, in October, the state of emergency was finally lifted. The number of new daily cases has declined to its lowest point this year, and I feel that the light at the end of the tunnel is at long last gradually coming into view.
At the limits of their patience, people began going out to have some fun shopping, and started planning in earnest the dinner parties and domestic trips they had long put off.
Like many others, Sanrio was heavily affected by COVID-19. For the 61 years since our establishment, we have believed that our role is to aid, through our cards and gifts, the communication that is necessary for friends and family to live together in friendship and cooperation.
However, in a time when people were not able to hold birthday parties or even meet with their friends, the gift business has been very tough-going.
Even so, I experienced the power that Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Kuromi have to comfort and encourage people, even in times as difficult as these. The moment the state of emergency was lifted, fans rushed to reunite with our characters at Sanrio stores, Puroland, Harmonyland in Oita Prefecture, and the Sanrio Exhibition currently being held to commemorate our 60th anniversary. I was truly overjoyed to see this, because it showed me that we have built strong bonds with our fans.
This pandemic has made us realize anew, from the bottom of our hearts, that people cannot live their lives in isolation, and that it is important to help and encourage each other.
At present, we cannot say that we have seen the last of COVID-19, but, guided by the principle of getting along together, we at Sanrio will continue to stay positive and do our best.
I kindly ask all of our shareholders for your continued and heartwarming support going forward.
President and CEO Tomokuni Tsuji
I would like to extend to you my heartfelt appreciation for your ongoing support of Sanrio and our characters over the years.
The world remains in a state of confusion, and we continue to experience life in which the future is largely unpredictable. While hoping that the situation will soon improve, all of us here at Sanrio are working hard to bring smiles to as many people as possible. Amid bewildering change in a variety of areas, Sanrio is evolving in order to fully respond and deal with this wave of changes. As part of our new Mid-Term Management Plan, we will, as a decisive and effective organization, promote our promised growth strategy, structural reforms, new business initiatives, and the rebuilding of our organization.
In May of this year, we established a new vision, mission, and values. To further enhance the understanding and sharing of these among employees, we have determined the direction Sanrio should expand business in, and had employees engage in repeated discussions of what business developments are possible. The direction we must proceed in is entertainment. Sanrio's unique approach to entertainment is to provide new value. We believe this means focusing on the ordinary moments in people’s everyday lives and making them extraordinary with an element of surprise to bring smiles to all. To have Sanrio involved in every aspect of our daily lives by adding things and elements that entertain, delight and ignite smiles. This is the direction of our business. We, at Sanrio, are determined to accomplish this through both the expansion of our existing business as well as the creation of new business initiatives.
Going forward, Sanrio will leverage and build on the history and culture it has cultivated to date in the aim of realizing our corporate philosophy. We will not simply follow past precedents. Instead, we will continue to hold on to our positives, proactively incorporate new culture, and evolve into a comprehensive, global entertainment company.
Our corporate philosophy of “Everyone Getting Along Together,” however, dating back to our establishment, remains unchanged. The important thing is to focus on the "everyone" and strive to make them smile. Sanrio seeks to deliver value not just to specific people but to everyone, to bring smiles to as many people as possible, and to expand a ring of happiness around the world. It is with these thoughts in mind that we established the vision “One World, Connecting Smiles.” As a global entertainment company, we will strive to do our utmost to become a part of many different times in people’s lives, and to make those times as full of smiles as possible.
Let me again express my gratitude for the heartwarming and ongoing support of all of our shareholders.
Sanrio will continue to produce new wonders and to create smiles together with all of you.
I encourage you to look forward to the future of Sanrio.