I get asked a lot about how to get involved with Japanese startups, how to connect with other founders in Japan, and for advice on how to start a startup in Japan. I enjoy answering questions and talking about startups, but I am a fundamentally lazy person, so I put this together to save some time and hopefully provide some value.
This is a very personal list. These are events I attend, the services I use, the websites I read, and people I trust.
Japanese Startup Events
There are dozens of startup events in Tokyo, but this is the best place to start networking with Japanese and foreign startup founders. HackerNews is held monthly, and there is usually a good mix of Japanese and foreigners, and programers and business types. If I’m in town, I usually show up.
A weekend-long startup simulator, and a great first step if you have never run a startup and want to understand how to create a good business plan and also gain some insight into the stressful team dynamics involved in starting a company. Startup Weekend is non-profit, run by volunteers, and laughably inexpensive for the experience you get. I volunteer as a coach or a judge occasionally. They run a lot of events and the quality varies considerably, but the “International” events are done in English and tend to be quite good.
Run by a couple of foreign entrepreneurs in Tokyo. This is a great way to discover bilingual startup events in Japan. I monitor this site closely.
Tokyo Startups United only hosts a few events per year, but they are worth attending. Most of them are large, casual drink-ups that attract a good mix of founders, investors, press, engineers, and people who just want to drink and talk about startups in Tokyo.