The Japan National Tourist Organization

Shane Williams: Big In Japan


The Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) is the ultimate resource for people looking for Japanese travel information and to learn about Japan as a tourist destination.

Our Brief

Henman Communications was appointed by the JNTO to build awareness for Japan as a tourist destination prior to 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC).

We at JNTO are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Shane Williams to promote what will be not only a milestone event for rugby in Japan, but also a milestone event for rugby worldwide, as the Rugby World Cup is held for the first time in an Asian country.
Enthusiasm for the Brave Blossoms both at home and abroad has been electrifying ever since their astonishing victory over South Africa in the Rugby World Cup 2015 and, with the UK being Japan’s largest European market for inbound tourism, we are looking forward to seeing the sport become yet another source of inspiration for people from the UK looking to make their first visit to Japan.
With such a diverse array of venues, from Sapporo in the north to Kyushu in the south, we hope that the Rugby World Cup 2019 will provide UK rugby fans with plenty of opportunity to explore the length and breadth of Japan and enjoy the kinds of amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences that only Japan can offer.”

Matthew Joslin, Japanese National Tourist Organization spokesperson

It is great to be working alongside the Japan National Tourist Organization at such an exciting time for Japan and Japanese sport, with the rugby World Cup in Japan just next year, and the Olympics in 2020! We really enjoyed managing the media for this event with Shane Williams. We were glad to be able to use our expertise and leverage our extensive network, in order to get some of the UK’s top national sports journalist to attend. “

Richard Henman, Henman Communications CEO

Our PR strategy was to use Welsh rugby legend, Shane Williams, in the build-up and during the 6 Nations rugby tournament to generate media interest. Given Shane’s rich rugby connection and the three years he spent playing in Japan, JNTO asked us to leverage Shane’s experiences to enhance awareness of the exciting sporting landscape in Japan with the RWC in Japan in 2019 and Olympics in 2020.

The JNTO wanted Japan to appeal as a holistic tourist destination and not simply targeted just to a rugby-centric audience. With this in mind, we placed an importance on the great Japanese culture, their famous hospitality and Japan as a destination amongst rugby fans.

PR Deliverables

  • We invited 10 national rugby and sports journalists to interview Shane at Abeno Restaurant in Central London, three days prior to the England V Wales match.
  • We co-ordinated 1-2-1 interviews with: BBC Sport online, Sky Sports, The Sun, Mail Online, Pundit Arena, The Times, Rugby World, Yahoo and AOL.
  • We planned, scripted and manged a series of six short 1 min films, producing engaging, insightful and humorous videos for sharing across social media.
  • We worked in partnership with Andrew Wilson, Shane’s agent at Cloud9 Management, and the production team at Button Down, who had previously filmed Shane Williams: Big in Japan.
  • We implemented the media outreach and social content strategy behind the six short videos and created the messaging to ensure that exposure was maximised.
  • We planned, executed, managed and evaluated a Paid-for Facebook advertising campaign, via Shane’s dedicated Facebook page, to maximise Shane: Big in Japan series, with links and straplines online driving traffic back towards it.


  • 64 pieces of media coverage
  • 32 billion online readership
  • 16 million estimated coverage views
  • 262 social shares
  • 738 Youtube views
  • 67 average domain authority

Video Content

Please see the series of 6 short 1 min video clips we created:

Shane Williams: Wales vs Ireland Six Nations Preview

Shane Williams: England vs Wales Six Nations Preview

Shane Williams – Would You Rather

Shane Willliams – Six Nations Round One Review

Shane Williams – Translation Expert

Shane Williams – Fantasy XV

More Information

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