Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2009 – A Dentsu Public Relations campaign for a dictionary has been judged the best Japan campaign at the inaugural Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards.

The winning campaign, undertaken for publishers Iwanami Shoten, beat 26 other entries from Japan in the SABRE public relations awards that honor ‘Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation’. Entitled “Turn the page: Redefining the paper dictionary”, the campaign helped successfully launch a new edition of Iwanami’s Kojien paper-based dictionary when electronic and online dictionaries were gaining market share.

“We are very pleased to add the inaugural Asia-Pacific SABRE award to our accolades,” said Dentsu Public Relations President Shigeki Ishimatsu. These include a Golden World Award for Excellence from the International Public Relations Association last year and the Public Relations Society of Japan Grand Prix, both won for this campaign.

“The Kojien dictionary is probably unknown to most people outside of Japan so I am proud that our team’s planning and implementation efforts have been recognized,” said Tadashi Inokuchi, Dentsu PR’s project manager for the Iwanami campaign. “I look forward to adding more successful case studies to our portfolio that utilize industry-leading PR strategies.”


The SABRE Awards

The SABRE Awards judge PR campaigns that have made superior achievements in branding and reputation building. Conceived and launched as the Creativity in Public Relations Award (CIPRA) in 1989 in North America, in 2000 the competition was adopted by global information provider the Holmes Group and renamed the SABRE Awards. In 2005, the EMEA SABRE Awards (for campaigns from Europe, Middle East and Africa) were introduced and now receive 1,200 entries annually. These, together with the 1,800 North American entries submitted every year, make the SABRE Awards the PR industry’s predominant competition.
The inaugural 2009 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards honored excellence in over 20 categories, attracting 393 entries and fostering considerable interest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Turn the page: Redefining the paper dictionary
Client: Iwanami Shoten, Publishers
Massive display at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station showing the 230,000 entries contained in the 5th edition of Kojien.


Massive display at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station showing the 230,000 entries contained in the 5th edition of Kojien.

Iwanami Shoten, Publishers, one of Japan’s largest publishers, had sought the help of Dentsu Public Relations for the January 2008 launch of the sixth edition of their flagship ‘Comprehensive Dictionary of the Japanese Language’ or Kojien.

Iwanami would be releasing a newly revised Kojien edition for the first time in ten years. Yet over the previous decade sales of paper-based dictionaries had halved due to the rise of online and electronic dictionaries.To ensure the launch’s success, Dentsu PR created a strategic campaign that redefined the value of paper dictionaries, and emphasized Kojien‘s value by linking a demonstrable deterioration in children’s language competence in Japan to falling sales of paper-based dictionaries.

The campaign helped Iwanami exceed its first year’s Kojien sales target in just two months and reinforced the dictionary’s positioning as approachable, trendy and innovative. The campaign was also awarded the 2008 Grand Prix award by the Public Relations Society of Japan, garnering further attention in Japan’s PR and marketing trade media as well as nationwide newspapers.

About Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
Dentsu Public Relations has been Japan’s largest public relations agency since its inauguration in 1961. As a pioneer in the field in Japan, the company has been helping Japanese and foreign clients communicate with their critical stakeholders, namely consumers, governments, investors, employees, and communities. Headquartered in Tokyo with a branch in Osaka, Dentsu PR is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsu Inc. For more information on Dentsu Public Relations Inc., please visit



Asia Pacific SABRE Awards Category Info

Categories by Specific Geographies
Greater China
South-East Asia
Multi-Country Program
Pan-Regional Program

Categories by Practice Areas
Marketing to Consumers (Existing Products)
Marketing to consumers (New Product)
Business-to-business Marketing
Corporate Image
Corporate Social Responsibility
Financial Communications
Public Affairs/Issues Management
Employee Communications
Digital and Social Media

Categories by Industry Sectors
Consumer Products/Services
Food and Beverage
Travel and Leisure
Public Sector
Not for Profit