In this series, Around Akiba delves into the world of entrepreneurs building otaku related startups. In Part 1, Around Akiba gave a brief overview of the Startup Weekend Tokyo Anime. Part 2 focuses on Tomonari Kino and Shinya Inoue of Tokyo Hearth, Inc.
No Talk, All Action
Tokyo Hearth, Inc. CEO Tomonari Kino and CTO Shinya Inoue participated in Startup Weekend Anime Tokyo with already two years of experience in startups. In 2015, Kino established Tokyo Hearth, Inc., a startup with the goal to “open Tokyo to the world.” The company provides a variety of services that centered around this mission statement: job support for foreigners in Japan, internship matching for Japanese students going abroad, a website for Tokyo life information and an international sharehouse. They additionally hold events to foster communication between Japanese and foreigners in Tokyo. Kino and Inoue attended the Startup Weekend with hopes to develop a new startup for as well a recruit developers and designers for Tokyo Hearth, Inc.
With a plan to expand Tokyo Hearth, Inc.’s business ventures, Kino pitched a plan for anime tourism geared for tourist overseas on the first evening of Startup Weekend Tokyo Anime. Kino’s pitch was among the few plans focusing on the foreign market for anime related services and gathered an international team of hustlers, hackers, and designers. Over the next two days, Kino’s team developed Animeguri, an anime tourism platform oriented for foreigners. Through Animeguri, anime fans can arrange to go on tours to the locations for shows like Ano Hana and Yuri!!! on Ice. Animeguri will focus specifically on locations outside of Tokyo, areas of Japan not usually accessible to tourists. Tokyo Hearth, Inc. is not an otaku related business originally. However, Kino and Inoue recognized the potential of anime as a means to internationalize Japan and generate business for economic regions outside of Tokyo.
For their final presentation, Kino and his team unveiled a demo of the website for Animeguri. Ultimately, the panel of judges awarded Amimeguri second place and commented their business plan had potential. Since Startup Weekend, Kino and Inoue have moved forward with Animeguri and are currently working on making it a reality. Tentatively, Animeguri is set to launch later this year.