Tokyo Metro Government’s incubator unveils young entrepreneurs from 4th batch


This is a guest post authored by Jerry Suppan. He is a Tokyo-based photographer and writer.

The Tokyo Startup Gateway contest, held this year at a new venue near Tokyo Tower, is an event styled to present young, entrepreneurial-minded individuals and their startup business concepts that will contribute to society with global impact in genres like technology, communications, transportation, food, environment and other issues. The contestants gave their final presentations on November 18th seeking to start up their entrepreneurial concepts through ETIC, (“Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities”) which is a Tokyo based-NPO (non-profit organization) in charge of the event’s administration and such.

Business concept plans from young entrepreneurial types were accepted starting from May 2017 with over 1,300 applications. During July-August 2017, the first stage of the selection process reduced the application count to around 180. During September-October 2017, the second stage of the selection process, the application count was further reduced to around 30 candidates. Finally during November and the final stage of the selection process, 10 candidates were chosen as finalists to participate in the competition event.


There were four judges who discussed and concurred to make the final decisions for the winners of the competition:

  • Shigeo Kagami, Professor and Head of Office of Collaborative Research Development, Division of University Corporate Relations, the University of Tokyo
  • Naomitsu Kodaka, CEO/Co-Founder, Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.
  • Yuka Tanimoto, Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Web Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Japan
  • Masamichi Tohyama, President, Smiles

The Finalists

Of the original 10 finalists, four were finally selected as winners of the event.

Shigeto Obata

  • Grand Prize: 1,000,000 yen (approximately $9,000 USD) & recognition trophy
  • Business concept: To create a platform by which anybody can share a small-sized aircraft and pilot, to realize a world and environment in which anyone can shift from ownership to freely utilize air space.

Masashi Hashimoto

  • Runner Up: 500,000 yen (approximately $4,500 USD) & recognition trophy
  • Business concept: To leverage dreams for use in medicine and research; To acquire hints from dreams for business applications; to enjoy freely moving about inside dreams and develop technology to see the dreams we want to see.


  • Runner Up: 500,000 yen (approximately $4,500 USD) & recognition trophy
  • Business concept: To create a share house which sponsors social foundation power, work, environmental, economic, and mental independence for 18 and 19 year old teenagers who aspire to be self-supporting and independent.

Junichi Tamaki

  • Audience Prize: Recognition trophy
  • Business concept: To propose a new city transport system which utilizes variations in building heights in a fun style and quickly transport / travel in direct lines between buildings over short distances of 100-500 meters.

Other finalists

The following is a list of finalists that did not receive prizes but made a great effort to introduce new, innovative, entrepreneurial concepts.

  • Sho Inami…To apply genetic engineering of insects to provide ideal “food” in areas where it is necessary.
  • Madoka Umetsu…To create VR training material to improve stuttering by amygdala and brain science approach. We aim to solve problems in employment and career of stuttering persons.
  • Yuka Shimane…To create work clothes having the necessary functionality on location at the site of manufacturing facilities. To make work easier for technicians by using data obtained IoT technology.
  • Saiko Nagaoka…To create a kimono sharing service by matching users that want to lend kimonos with users that want to borrow.
  • Masashi Nagano…To realize a paradigm shift in Japanese language education in society by providing inexpensive high quality Japanese education to all foreigners living in Japan.
  • Masahide Yamaguchi…To set up an employment transition support facility, expand matching between welfare facilities and companies, and promote development of work opportunity through understanding of work styles and disabilities.