Japan’s PlayLife proposes better ways to enjoy your free time



See the original story in Japanese.

I’m not sure why, but recently we’ve heard about many online box-office or event reservation services. We’ve also seen many sites that let users arrange travel plans with destination locals, such as Trippiece, Meetrip, Kitchhike, and Voyagin.com.

On Thursday, a new company has popped up in this space. Japanese startup Playlife launched an online portal that aims to help you better entertain yourself. The website lets you to share what you’ve experienced on weekends or in your leisure time, focusing on what’s happening in your local neighborhood rather than the aforementioned travel planning sites.

I have a sort of deja vu feeling about this kind of service. Several years ago, more than a few startups promised to help you share things around you, ranging from your purchase history to the outfits in your closet. Most of us have probably seen something similar to Playlike several years ago. But I still look forward to seeing how the startup will evolve since its founder/CEO Taichi Sato is such an impressive personality.

Sato is one of those post-80s entrepreneurs. He elaborated on his unique career thusly:

When attending Aoyama Gakuin University, I was a leader of the Shibuya Chapter in the Guardian Angels, an international organization of volunteer crime patrollers. I was interested to know what gangster teenagers were interested in. It’s a wonderful experience to work on something with your colleagues, even at the risk of your life [1].

Hospital bed perspective

And it was indeed a risky endeavor. While patrolling the town Sato also even got beat up and suffered a fractured rib.

But would go on to graduate school in the US to learn about the national security issues. He was aspiring to be a UN official but decided against it when he later realized the job description was much more clerical than he had expected.

After graduating from the school, in order to discover what he really wanted to do, he moved around to many jobs, including a consulting firm, DeNA, and Accenture. As a result of these busy posts, he was tired from overwork back in June of 2011.

When I felt sick, I was thinking what’s most important in my life. Then I realized it’s probably the moments having fun with my friends.

He created his concept for Playlife. And after leaving the hospital, he went to the US and spent two years and four months to launch the service.

I think the service still has much room to be improved. It is said that a web service depends on the personal character of the founder than how mature your idea is. So it will be interesting to see how this one fares.

Sato, above all, hopes to give people a chance to explore what’s the most important in their own lives too.


  1. This might be a Japanese value, and working on something at the risk of your life is a virtue for typical Japanese. Perhaps in the spirit of Samurai.