What’s big in the world of Japan technology these days? Well, if our Japanese language site is any indication, the following articles represent what our Japanese readers are most interested in over the last 30 days. Read on to find out more!
And if you know of a tech story or a startup that’s big in Japan, be sure to let us know about it.
1. Japan loves Ginger
Ginger is an personalized proofreader that checks your grammar and spelling, and it’s official launch in Japan was on April 24th. The service comes in the form of a Windows application or a browser extension, and our post about its launch had over 2,000 tweets and 5,000 likes, making it one of our most read articles ever.
2. Hero entrepreneurs, Ieiri and Horie
Kazuma Ieiri is a serial entrepreneur known for being the youngest founder to go public on the JASDAQ securities exchange. Takafumi Horie is the former president of Livedoor, now a portal website operated by Line Corp. Horie is now on parole after spending 21 months behind bars having been charged with securities fraud (although he still claims innocence). The two are sort of entrepreneurial heroes for the younger generation, and they gave a talk at Ieiri’s book release party where they talked about developing new hardware together.
3. Startups should work from home
This post comes via Charlie Custer who responded to Marissa Mayer’s decision that working from home was not the right path for employees at Yahoo. He asserts that startups should allow people to work from home remotely, noting that hiring pro-active people and quantifying work by actual results rather than just hours will yield many benefits.
Moneytree is a newly released app that allows users to manage all their financial assets. You just need to register your bank account and it will automatically show balance and spendings for your different credit cards all in a single page. The startup works out of Shibuya’s co-working space, Co-ba, and its founder is Paul Chapman from Australia.
5. The travel industry is shifting from search to social
As we see change in consumer behavior, the travel industry is shifting accordingly. What is becoming increasingly important is not ‘where’ but ‘who’ – i.e. who among your friends have traveled to a given destination. As a result, the marketing budget for many travel companies is moving from Google to Facebook. The article cites TravelAdvisor as a good example of a company that does social well.
6. If an engineer’s job is to make 0 into 1, a designer’s job is to make 1 into 100
Ikumi Katayama is a user interface designer at Cookpad, a major recipe website in Japan. In this interview she talks about the user interface designing process within the company and how it is all about iterating over and over by testing hypotheses and reading numbers.
7. Using social game know-how in education
This post came out of the recent B Dash Camp 2013 event in Fukuoka. Surprisingly, many up-and-coming education startups came from the social games sector, such as Drecom and Quipper. Social gaming companies says that the features and techniques in social games (like operating events or connecting with friends) can be applied to education services as well.
8. Base apps
E-commerce is getting a lot of hype in Japan recently, and Base is one of the more popular services out there, as it allows users to create their own online shop in a matter of minutes. The startups just launched Base Apps, which is a collection of plug-ins that can be added to shops created with Base. So far the app store includes an original domain, SEO, as well as shipping boxes for your merchandise – all for free. The startup plans to release a few plugins per week, attempting to follow Shopify’s monetization model.
9. Line China
Japanese chat application Line added another accomplishment to its growing list on April 8th, briefly nabbing the top spot in the Chinese App Store in the social network category. Line was released in Chinese back in December, needing less than four months to reach this milestone. At the time of the article, it ranked 7th among all free apps.
10. Trends in Japan’s online ad space
Another report from the B Dash event in Fukuoka summarized a panel discussing existing problems in the domestic advertising business. Key players from the Japanese online advertising industry talked about the impact of social media on the industry, problems in leveraging personal information in ads, as well as the possibilities of rich media advertisements.