“I grew up in Miyazaki. As a hafu (Half American, Half Japanese) growing up in rural Japan, I didn’t quite fit in. Despite having a strong economic base, people in Miyazaki tend to be more relaxed, and family bonds seem stronger than that in Tokyo; life is good! Though I liked it there, I knew from early on that I wouldn’t stay there forever. I ended up moving to the states, met my wife, and now consider myself a global citizen with American and Japanese nationalities.
“I ended up moving back to Japan as an expat when Looker, the company I work for, decided to set up a Japan office. As someone who understands Japan, one thing that frustrates me is the way Western media puts forward the startup scene in Japan. They say that Japan is a dying economy with little entrepreneurship, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, data from 2015 show that Japan had more startup funding than any other European country. Also, while there are many tech articles translated from English to Japanese, there’s virtually none the other way around. As a result, the Western audience just doesn’t know about the latest and greatest coming out of Japan. To change this, I started working on a blog (Innovators in Japan) outlining the latest in the Japanese startup ecosystem in English for the non-Japanese crowd. What began as a hobby is now a 50+ article publication, and I’m learning something new about Japan every day.”
Story & photo by Arpit Jain