Japanese word on airplane boarding pass

I took a pair of ANA flights last week: Narita-Sapporo and Sapporo-Sendai.

On the boarding pass, there was an area marked “Date” and underneath it was the date. Below the numerals was the word “Rakuten”.

What does “rakuten” mean in this instance?

Here’s a Google translation of a webpage devoted to “raukuten:”

So, glad I could clear that up for you. Thanks for my new sig line, by the way.

Rakuten Travel is a travel agency in Japan. Could your ticket have been booked through them?

I bought the tickets directly from ANA and checked in with an ANA gate agent each time.

Rakuten is a fairly new media conglomerate in Japan… they operate heavily in the travel industry, online auctioning, and other internet-related businesses. In fact they just bought a baseball team. Think expedia.ebay.yahoo.co.jp.
So, knowing that, we can probably guess that Rakuten cut a deal with ANA to advertise promotions on boarding passes and ticket stubs… would not surprise me if Rakuten was a partner of ANA in some way.

That probably makes the most sense, but it’s a rather small ad.

I asked this in part because I went to a Rakuten Eagles game and bought a jersey.