Translating Japanese ideas for a global market by Lisa Katayama


e27’s Echelon 2011 kicked off Day 2 with a talk by Lisa Katayama of TokyoMango. The Japan born journalist currently lives in San Francisco and is focusing on The Tofu Project.

Lisa’s keynote starts with some background on herself before heading off to how she started off TokyoMango which brought her around the world while still being able to study the Japanese culture. Her travels and experiences made her realize how the different culture of Japanese allows for creative ideas which, however, do not translate outside of the Japanese market. Hence, the idea of The Tofu Project which draws experience from people familiar with both Silicon Valley and Japan which aims to help Japanese startups go global through equipping them with necessary soft skills. The project is currently run by volunteers while actively seeking sponsorship.

To quote Lisa on her idea of what The Tofu Project aims to do for the Japanese startup community,“….the best way to save Japan, if Japan needs saving, is to empower them with the ability to create the best ideas..”

This post is a live update of Echelon 2011.

Joash Wee

Joash is passionate about tech startups and building the technopreneur community. While completing his undergraduate business degree, he decided to take a programming class just for kicks. Fortunately for him, he managed to scrap a pass and it now helps him get by with the geek talk. When he is not discussing about startups or the latest technologies, you can find him reading off his Kindle or taking photos with silver halide salts, old school.

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  • Phil B

    Japan indeed NEEDS to be saved. It’s been cooling off since the 90′s real state debacle and many multinational have been recycling ideas.

    The Tofu Project is in fact what Japan needs. Many enterpreneur ideas are not popular in Japan, son they won’t make it to global markets. Besides, the world outside Japan is way different, so this kind of translation is one of the best bets to revitalize Japan’s suffering entepreneurs.

  • Shelly Cooke

    Thanks Lisa, that’s really impressive ideas. I think that’s great opportunity for the online marketers. Keep up the nice work!