Updated: Jan 14
Cédric Biscay: his passion for video games, Manga and Japanese animation brought his winning talent into the spotlight of a sustainable mood.
His talent is undisputed and his pro-active approach to life allowed him to create a ‘Made in Monaco’ out of the ordinary and extremely successful. Cédric Biscay has been carrying on his fondness for creative Japanese art since his young age. His main hobby was then changed into a valued profession thanks to his abilities. Counting on many-year professional experience in filming and media productions with a direct link to Japan, he was awarded the Certificate of Honour by Tarō Kōno, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.
In 2002, he founded Shibuya International consulting firm, and soon after, in 2014, Shibuya Productions with which he achieved three World records in the World Guinness Book for the financing of the winning video game, Shenmue 3. He conceived a special event set both in Monaco and in Kyoto, named Monaco Anime Game International Conferences (MAGIC).
He also co-produced Sad Hill Unearthed, the multi-award-winning documentary starring Clint Eastwood, Ennio Morricone, James Hetfield and Joe Dante. About three years ago a new project was launched. Blitz, the first Manga story born from a close partnership between Monaco and Japan, had a good start in 2020. Focused on the chess game, the new editorial production relies on the support of Garry Kasparov, international grandmaster thirteen times world champion.
In 2022, Astroboy Reboot, a brand-new animation series kicks off to celebrate the most popular Japanese hero by Osamu Tezuka.
Cédric Biscay has recently been acknowledged as Knight of the Order of St. Charles, the highest Monegasque honour, by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. rewarding merit and recognizing services rendered to the State and the Prince. In November 2022, he was appointed as the first ambassador for women’s rights by the Government of the Principality of Monaco for his engagement in providing gender equality.
MONACŒCOART® had the pleasure to interview Cédric Biscay (C.B.) exclusively to better understand the spirit that animates his professional activity and life.
MONACŒCOART®: Cédric Biscay, Shibuya Productions is a successful entrepreneurial reality in a field not typically related to Monaco, what are the strengths that have allowed your company to grow and receive so many rewards?
C.B.: The core mission is to transmit ideas through entertainment. We try to pursue it in all various aspects, notably games, cartoons, documentaries, and of course the Manga. We always try to bring an added value. Everyone wishes to have fun and our goal is to use it as a facilitator to convey a message. At the same time, we constantly try to enhance Monaco. And we do this not because we are obliged but because the stronger the Principality is the more our company grows. By including a direct reference to Monaco in a Manga like Blitz, for example, allowed us to give a completely new image of the Principality. Monaco is not only luxury cars and the Casino, the Grand Prix, etc. as Instagram often shows. For me, this territory offers another side of itself equally attractive. It is about Monaco’s ‘soft power’ which develops from the original fame, perfectly integrating with it. That refers to a special ‘savoir faire’ to induce the audience to become passionate of something and to reason over things.
MONACŒCOART®: Your bond with Japan and its millennial culture is undoubtedly clear, indeed you have Daitaro Nishihara, a manga artist, working with you – in addition you are closely linked to the Japanese community and its diplomatic representatives. Where does this interest and synergy come from?
C.B.: The natural inclination to sustainability is just one aspect of the Japanese culture. But in Japan there is a word that is worth more than any other. The respect. The respect of the given word. The respect of nature. The respect for older people. Thus, this is the key to my attachment to Japan: respecting everything we produce allows us not ‘to use and throw’ but ‘to use and assimilate’. This is then purely sustainable.
MONACŒCOART®: Your corporate philosophy aims to value art, science and education to make entertainment sustainable and constructive. What is Sustainability for you?
C.B.: Sustainability is to bring additional content to what we do in order to build up a precise message or action. It is what we usually do within the MAGIC event, notably Monaco Anime Game International Conferences, addressed to the large public with various meetings. Every year we add something special like the ‘Space and Pop Culture’, the fil rouge of a few years ago edition, with the participation of Leiji Matsumoto, Japanese Manga and anime designer who created the most popular character of Captain Albator and Jean-François Clervoy, French space engineer at the European Space Agency (ESA) attending three missions with NASA. We could stop at the only fun, but we were willing to go further showing that every detail comes from a given reality. Everything about a journey, an exploration, an adventure makes people to dream. The most inspiring thing is that what we tell is real. Sustainability allows therefore to create vocations, that is bringing the audience closer to issues that are considered unapproachable. This happened for example for the manga Blitz. Some children, recently interviewed, said that they decided to join a chess club after reading the book including the extra content that explains how the game works. The desire of readers to overcome the barriers of reading is the concept itself of art, science and education. This synergy has always existed. When I was a child, I was used to watch a cartoon about football that made me passionate about that sport, eager to play it on the playfield. The same happens when there are big sports competitions. During the Tour de France there are even more amateur cyclists.... when Roland Garros tournament is on there are even more amateur tennis players.
MONACŒCOART®: And what does it mean to educate today?
C.B.: Education is increasingly considered as a ‘heavy word’. Personally, I never use this term when I am addressing to a consumer, putting it in the ‘blacklist’. I keep it more for a professional. Our mission is to incorporate the educational aspect into something else capable to interest a target community. I have been working with Japan for more than twenty years and I have developed a personal knowledge in designing effective Manga that are among the most common communication tools for young people, besides social media. We try to make a small contribution to give value to their reading without boring them.
MONACŒCOART®: The Sovereign Prince and the Princely Government have been mobilising for a long time on key themes concerning sustainable development, environmental protection, energy efficiency, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, have you ever thought to contribute to the cause through a dedicated Manga or interactive game?
C.B.: We have ideas about that I can’t share with you yet. But we have already done some concrete actions on the health front. We have created Active5, a small electronic device in the shape of a pebble, dedicated to the practice of sport, by stimulating static muscular effort, based on the principle of isometry. This initiative, under the flag of Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, contributes concretely to human well-being to facilitate physical activity that is often not enough in modern times, when you spend much time indoors, in the office, on the plane or else. Voilà, we try to improve the conditions of society through entertainment.
MONACŒCOART®: You have recently been awarded with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Commendation of Japan (2019) and more recently (2022) you received the Order of Saint Charles, the medal that rewards merit and recognizes service to the Monegasque State. What does this mean for you?
C.B.: That is something exceptional. I would never think I would get this result. As for the Order of Saint Charles I could not believe it. The first thing I thought was: they were wrong about the recognition. I kept being sceptical until I set foot in the Palais Princier. I felt then so honoured about it since the medal was conferred on my person. Surely it is something that goes beyond all my expectations. It is still hard for me to express words considering we represent a business sector not so obvious. Undoubtedly, I dedicate this result to my team which has always been a precious help. Monaco is also this: recognising the work done can be expressed exceptionally here. And the Principality is definitely a great window to the world. ***
To know more about Shibuya Productions please visit: https://www.shibuya-productions.com/
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By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing