Kickstart this: 14 of Japan’s top crowdfunded projects

SHARE: is a website that visualizes statistics and metrics from market surveys. On May 1st, the website was updated for the first time in almost a month, and it presented some interesting statistics from the Japanese crowdfunding space. The website has collected figures from the major Japanese crowdfunding sites: Readyfor, Campfire, Motion Galery, Countdown, and Kibidango. It presented an overview of what projects are trending or are most influential by counting the number of supportive ‘likes’ or the accumulation of funds raised.

So what projects are the most popular in Japan in terms of the amounts raised? Let’s have a quick look below. All the statistics were current as of April 30th, 2013.


1st place: Fill an empty library

  • Raised 8.2 million yen from 862 people

This project aims to help a library in Rikuzen Takada fill its shelves with with books. The library is located in the heart of an area that was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, where most books were damaged or destroyed by the subsequent tsunami.


2nd place: Support the koalas

  • Raised 4.8 million yen from 677 people

It aims to help a zoo in Nagoya grow eucalyptus to feed their koalas. As some of our readers may know, koalas don’t eat anything other than eucalyptus. But these trees don’t grow naturally, and have to be grown artificially. Due to a lack of funds from the local government, this project raised money by turning to the public for financial support.


3rd place: Send young artists to Italy

  • Raised 4.2 million yen from 388 people

Elementary school students living in the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake have created artwork made from the debris left by the devastation. These are to be exhibited at the Toy Museum in Zagarolo, Italy. The project owners wish to take the children to attend the exhibition.



1st place: From Fukushima to Chernobyl

  • Raised 6 million yen from 728 people

Three famous Japanese journalists and critics who have been observing the devastated area affected by the 2011 disaster are planning to visit Chernobyl to cover what’s has been happening there after the nuclear power plant accident. The three have raised money for a trip and will bring the latest reports and information to their audience in return.

2nd place: iPhone Polaroids

  • Raised 5.3 million yen from 268 people

A hardware manufacturing group called Impossible Instant Lab is planning to produce a device that allows you to develop Polaroid-style physical photos using the iPhone.

3rd place: Akihiro Nishino’s picture books

  • Raised 5.3 million yen from 585 people

Popular Japanese comedian Akihiro Nishino has created his own original picture books. He is hoping for a global outreach, and is planning to hold an exhibition at a gallery in New York.

Motion Gallery

1st place: Herb & Dorothy

  • Raised 14.6 million yen from 915 people

Japanese film maker Megumi Sasaki created a documentary film called Herb & Dorothy. It focuses on how an elderly couple living in NYC assembled one of the most important post–1960 art collections in history, on their modest civil-service salaries. Megumi wants to show the movie at a Japanese theater.

2nd place: Like someone in love

  • Raised 5.6 million yen from 244 people

Award-winning Iranian film maker Abbas Kiarostami shot a film in Japan called Like Someone in Love. Abbas once gave up on shooting the film due to the Great Earthquake, but eventually production was finished. The story revolved around an old man and a young prostitute in Japan, and thus far has been well received by critics. This effort aimed to raise funds to go towards the film’s distribution in Japan.

3rd place: Remembering Yanana

  • Raised 3.2 million yen from 132 people

These days, many Japanese local governments have introduced mascot characters called ‘Yuru-chara,’ primarily in an effort to promote local products and tourism in their areas. “Yanana” is one of the characters hailing from Gifu, Japan, but she subsequently had to stop her activities because her promotion schedule was unexpectedly terminated. For the purpose of keeping her alive in the minds of locals, some fans are raising money to hold retirement event, establish a monument, and even create a movie in her honor.



1st place: Gamarjobat

  • Raised 8.4 million yen from 399 people

Japanese comedy duo Gamarjobat has been performing pantomime shows in 32 countries around the world. The duo has appeared on the BBC variety show Blue Peter and their next destination is Hollywood. To help them make it there, they want to create a promotional video about themselves.

2nd place

  • Raised 4.1 million yen from 115 people

A Japanese inn owner hopes to found a co-working space in a hot spring resort. Located in the Tohoku region just three hours away from Tokyo by bullet train, the owner wants to create a facility where everyone can comfortably work – but given the relaxing environment, heal at the same time.

3rd place: Online sign language dictionary and keyboard

  • Raised 2.9 million yen from 132 people

This project aspires to create the world’s first online dictionary for sign languages. Readers may recall that we previously featured this idea back in February.


1st place: The perfect camera bag

  • Raised 6.5 million yen from 226 people

Ulysses is the ideal camera bag. The creators have been polishing the idea for eight years, and they’ve finally invented one which uses natural materials but is still durable and easy-to-use.

2nd place: Pinot noir from Niigata

  • Raised 2.5 million yen from 107 people

A winery owner in Niigata plans to create a new wine using a Pinot noir grape. He wants to cultivate a grape vineyard, create his wine, and finally ship it. His customers (investors) have to wait five years for the wine to mature.