This is part of our Crowdfunding in Japan series (RSS). Services like KickStarter have become a global phenomenon with the power to let creative individuals take their ideas to new heights. It’s happening here in Japan too. Below is one example.
Green Funding is a service that can be integrated into websites, allowing anyone to create crowdfunding project pages. Tokyo Calendar is a well-known Japanese lifestyle magazine, and it has recently used the service to launch a website called ‘Tokyo Calender Fund’, which showcases original crowdfunding projects. The most recent project aims to bring back the once famous and now very scarce Sri Lankan coffee bean.
According to the project page, the making of Sri Lankan coffee is a national project and the country plants 20,000 trees per year as part of the production process. Unfortunately the amount exported to Japan is very scarce at 700 kg per year. For this project, Tokyo Calendar plans to develop its own original Sri Lankan coffee blend, collecting funds starting at 1,000 yen (or about $10). The project will run until July 15th, with the target sum being 100,000 yen (or about $1,000).
Other interesting projects from Tokyo Calendar includes things like developing original wine glasses shaped like a flamingo, or importing 20 kinds of tequila to Japan. Green Funding has also been used by a popular fashion magazine Nylon Japan.
Traditional media in Japan has been experiencing decreased readership, but publishers can leverage Green Funding to publish books and magazines on demand, and thus be less dependent on advertisements. It will also allow publishers to support creators or artists that they have interviewed or written about.
Hopefully services like this one can have a positive impact for publishers in the country.