Kickstarter Japan

Yesterday was a big day for our portfolio company Kickstarter.

They launched in Japan, a market that has been dying for Kickstarter to come to for years.

Here’s a couple photos from the launch event in Tokyo yesterday:

I backed a couple Japanese projects today, and I suspect I will be backing a lot of them in the future.

MARUHI Cup & Saucer: A cup & saucer with a secret spot for a sweet surprise.

革新的な電子本「全巻一冊 北斗の拳」”Fist of the North Star” eBook

Japan represents the creativity, imagination, and innovation that Kickstarter is home to as well as any country in the world and I am so happy that they are now on Kickstarter.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Rob Underwood

    Studied, lived, and worked in Japan for four years, mostly in and around Kyoto/Nara. Japanese is what I speak at home along with English, with my wife and kids. My only stint in Silicon Valley was doing the Japanese version of Pandesic. Amazing country with incredible craftspeople. Should be a great market for Kickstarter.More generally excited to see further growth and support for startups and entrepreneurs in India.And finally folks should see the news today about the Japanese/Indian joint venture for a bullet train in India. Big news!Now I’m off to let my artist brother-in-law in Osaka know (see https://motonoriuwasu.jimdo… if you’re interested).

  2. JimHirshfield

    Finally! What Tokyo so long?

    1. Twain Twain

      Someone should make a Jimbot for tweeting one-liners with wink of one eye, recognizable by iPhone X’s snazzy new facial recog algos.

      1. JimHirshfield


      2. Donna Brewington White

        Progression:There’s gotta be a way to package that!There’s gotta be an app for that!There’s gotta be a bot for that!

        1. Twain Twain

          LOL, quite. There was a great article in Forbes the other day on whether we should still be learning to code: “Learning machine learning–and computer science more generally which is of course quite broader than just “programming” or “coding”–might make more sense from a futurist perspective than spending NON-RENEWABLE TIME learning how to make a web-app.”So it’s a great thing I focused on Machine Intelligence and Natural Language Understanding all along and didn’t get distracted by web apps, bots … whatever is founder / investor flavor of the month!Especially since this is now clear: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…@fredwilson:disqus — Great as Kickstarter is, it’s not the place to crowdsource the financing of a paradigm shift in data classifications and machine intelligence.I’ve discovered LinkedIn’s a great channel for sourcing potential investors and partners. My posts have gotten 8000+ views, senior data+AI folks at IBM, Intel and Amazon Robotics have been reaching out and LinkedIn’s metrics are really useful for knowing who’s interested in my vision. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

    2. jason wright

      Is that a direct translation?

    3. Jeremy Shatan

      Osaka good question.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Do you get any advance notice or do you come up with these on the fly?

      1. JimHirshfield

        It just happens…uncontrollably. Not sure how to make it stop.

  3. statlook

    The Japanese are still on top in terms of creativity and perseverance. I’m tremendously in love with their attitude to work, as much as handle the matters in business. I do envy you this visit, hope you’ll get some more opportunities to work within this environment.

  4. Jeremy Robinson

    My limited understanding of Japanese business culture tells me that Japan is ripe for new business ideas and influences like Kickstarter. One can only hope these external, different new influences can help Japanese business culture, with it’s wonderful reputation for quality, and artistry. Japanese business culture could benefit hugely from multiple diversity infusions, whether from the advancement of women achieving equality at work to an openness to other less traditional Japanese business practices. I have fingers crossed this is part of a larger trend of a new openness in that great country.

  5. Pointsandfigures

    Congrats. I really love what Kickstarter co-founder Charles Adler is doing with Lost Arts in Chicago.

    1. LE

      Agree I didn’t know about this. I am amazed at how affordable the pricing is for the various memberships. Especially that you can get your own space for $390 per month. [1] location reminds me a bit of the way Spring Garden St. in Philly used to be.[1] A space that I owned back in the 90’s for artists ‘artists house’ charged more than that and had a waiting list. The only upside was that it had a gallery in the front where you could in theory exhibit your creations. This concept is leagues ahead of that in appeal and value.

  6. jason wright

    Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Kickstarter desu. Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.How big is e-commerce in Japan? I though cash was still king…(?)

  7. PhilipSugar

    Now you need to get the shipping company hooked in so they can easily send to us here in the U.S.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Set up a Kickstarter for that.

      1. PhilipSugar

        No Fred’s company, that he blogged about.

        1. Twain Twain

          With the female founder who probably speaks 4 languages and definitely speaks English better than most AVC readers can speak German.

          1. Michael Elling

            Shoot! If they dun talk lak us they’z ain’t ’round from heer.

          2. Twain Twain

            LOL! Coffee all over keyboards.The entire point of the Internet is to open ourselves up to people from different countries and cultures and to learn from and understand as many different people as possible.Yet, bizarrely, some of us expect people from other towns, states, countries etc to look, be, speak, think and sound exactly like us.

          3. Michael Elling

            When the edge understands their value is derived from the core, and vice versa, things will hopefully improve. We live in one large “inter-networked” ecosystem. Too bad there are no settlements between the networks providing incentives and disincentives to balance risk.…refer back to my TCP vs OSI comment

          4. PhilipSugar

            Yes. And I can tell you and idea for free. You send them all over to the U.S. on excess air capacity, you buy on the spot market and then ship from here.And BTW been on an Asian food kick this week. Had Pho, crystal dumplings and today Kalbi.

          5. PhilipSugar

            Yes, I have had, I would never put on the hair protector though.I have a pat answer to do you have any dietary restrictions? Yes I really need to restrict it.I have had Century eggs, but I will not eat Balut.or Durian.

  8. Ryan Frew

    Congrats to the Kickstarter team on the Japan launch!…in other news, when are we going to talk about the Indians?

  9. leigh

    Oh it will be VERY interesting to see what crazy creative ideas and innovations people come up with in Japan. They were using avatar chat bots in the late nineties something that has only really started to happen here in the past few years. Letting this kind of product loose in that market will be amazing to watch.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Very interesting indeed.I have learned that it is a good idea to scroll down to see if someone has already said what I am thinking.

  10. Gregory Magarshak

    That’s amazing! We plan to use Kickstarter soon for our app. I am wondering — does this mean can have backers in Japan and other countries for the SAME project? Can we localize the text and videos into other languages now?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, i believe so

  11. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We are in on the Porcelain cup and saucer but still release it is a cup and saucer. Not going to save lives.Captain Obvious

  12. Vasudev Ram

    Waiting for Kickstarter [1], WorkMarket, Stripe and other good and useful startups to come to India.[1] In India we are good at kicking the starter (out of necessity :)…From the days of Bajaj (nee Piaggio) and Lambretta scooters (both of Italian ancestry) until now (though there are some electric start models nowadays). And more of kickstarting for bikes, again till recently, The kicks were sometimes so hard (for bikes like the Enfield Bullet – a legend) that you could hurt or cut your shin on it sometimes, due to the rebound, if not careful. First rode a Bullet at age 16 or so; heavy bike, a real thumper. Good fun.

    1. PhilipSugar

      We have a ton of those in Delaware. They say those new Enfield’s from India are great. (I can ride, but promised my late mother and my current wife I would not buy a motorcycle)I think this is a great opportunity.There is so much creativity worldwide, for proof you just need to see cuisine.

  13. Vasudev Ram

    Talking about creativity and Japan and products reminds me of Muji. I had blogged about them here some years ago:Muji – simplicity is deceptively complex:…Thought their approach to design and business was rather cool (read the post, and the linked Time magazine article (that the post refers to), if it still exists, or try to get it via the Internet Archive – ).I first read about Muji via an article on John Maeda’s blog (which I found after reading somewhere that he liked my xtopdf toolkit for PDF generation from other formats):