Kickstarter Finally Opens to Japanese Creators


While Japanese creators have been doing Kickstarter-funded games for years now, they have always done this via some kind of external party that handled the business end of things, as well as the PR and handling of their crowdfunding campaign. To further confuse things, Kickstarter has never totally supported Japanese creators, until now.

The company has announced they’re officially supporting Japanese creators now, meaning indie game developers, designers, and so on within Japan can launch their own projects and link them to Japanese bank accounts and identification. The company also made Japanese versions of the Kickstarter website and mobile apps.

A bunch of Japanese-made projects are already up on Kickstarter:

  • Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights
    Merging an ancient Japanese art form with contemporary culture, the creators of Ukiyo-e Heroes produce traditional Japanese woodblock prints depicting video game characters. They’ve returned to Kickstarter with a new series of artworks “full of energy and conflict.”

  • eOneBook
    Toggle between Japanese and English text as you read this innovative ebook collecting all eighteen volumes of the 1980s manga series Fist of the North Star.

  • Maruhi Cup and Saucer
    Designed to make everyday life “just a little more special,” this cup and saucer combo contains a secret compartment where you can hide a note, a toy, or a treat.

  • Space Editor
    Players participate in the creation of the universe in this tabletop game inspired by the tale of the Hindu god Brahma.

Here’s the full update:


As of today, we are officially open to creators in Japan.

Artists, authors, filmmakers, musicians, designers, and creators of all types can now launch projects and find support from Kickstarter’s global community of backers.

Japanese culture embodies a spirit of creativity and a tradition of innovation — characteristics that run deep within Kickstarter, too. Since our launch eight years ago, more than 300 creators in Japan have worked with collaborators in other countries to run Kickstarter projects, including a documentary about sake productionan action platformer from a legendary video game designer, and a toy robot that connects family members through voice messages. In the same time frame, nearly 100,000 backers from Japan have supported Kickstarter projects from all of our creative categories and from all over the world. Today we’re honored to build on this strong foundation by officially welcoming all creators from to Japan to join our community.

In addition to making it easy for creators in Japan to launch projects using their Japanese bank account and identification, we’ve made the Kickstarter site and mobile apps available in Japanese. We’re also providing customer support and project review in Japanese. Kickstarter is dedicated to supporting the needs of Japanese creators, and we will continue listening and improving the experience for the local community in Japan.

We can’t wait to see what Japanese creators bring to life on Kickstarter.

Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Touma

    Behold as every OVA/OAD becomes a Kickstarter from now on. Seriously tho, this could help the anime industry quite a bit.

  • Professor_Icepick

    A shame that they were only allowed in on the action after the entire concept of Kickstarters and crowdfunding in general has received a fairly bad wrap.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    That is nobody’s fault except salty MN9 idiots who STILL cannot move the fuck on from the ONE majorly publicized failure on KS. Whenever someone complains about worrying over something they backed they ALWAYS go straight to “I hope THIS one isn’t another Mighty Number 9!” like yeah, we get it, you got burned on an investment, move the hell on. But they just won’t.

    Any trailer for a KS game doesn’t look AAA or completely polished and done? Looks like we got another MN9 situation!! Makes my eyes want to spin right out of my head.

    Nobody ever mentions the overwhelming list of amazing Kickstarted projects. Lisa, Shantae 4, Wasteland 2, all those Sekai Project VNs nobody else would have translated like Nekopara, Skullgirls, etc, etc. It’s ALWAYS fucking MN9 that springs to mind.

    When you back a Kickstarter, it’s like low-risk stock investing. You might win big and get something great out of it. Or your money could just burn up. There is an element of risk to investing in any form.

  • Koroma

    We all need to send this info to Mistwalker as Hard as we can!

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    What, Japs made their own Patreon but didn’t get around to a Kickstarter?

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Everyone needs something to get behind and MN09 is by far one of the most fucked Kickstarters that didn’t end up as a bait and run scam.

    No one thinks of translation/port starters; they only care about the ones making new games but if what I heard is true, Sekai have bad management when it comes to their kickstarters and don’t always live up to what they said they’d do.

    Skullgirls was mediocre at best and had a team with terrible money management.

    “Nobody ever mentions Shantae”
    Like hell they don’t.

    “Lisa”
    I kept hearing about that and I still don’t know what it is.

    You forgot one other major thing people think of when it comes to kickstarters; Double Fine.

    Kickstarter may be an investment but most everyone using it never bothers putting much of any effort into the games they make or get too loose since they don’t have any Publishers breathing down their necks.

  • Mr0303

    Now Japanese people too can be scammed more easily. Over the years we’ve seen Japanese creators abusing crowdfunding as much if not more than their Western counterparts.

  • Mr0303

    Crowdfunding deserves its bad rap because of all the flaws within the system. I do hope more people realise how it works before they start throwing away their money.

  • Mr0303

    MN9 perfectly exemplifies many of the issues with crowdfunding. There is nothing wrong with using a high profile case to demonstrate your point.

    If you back a Kickstarter you are not investing. You don’t get any benefits from the creation and selling of the product. You just get what is promised to you in the reward tier (and there is no guarantee for that either). With crowdfunding backers get all the risks and developers reap all the benefits and possible profit. It is nothing more than a glorified preorder system with no option to refund.

  • mew

    Good to see that happen. I’ll gladly back Japanese games kickstarters if they intend to use KS.

  • bimmyz

    too late, that ship has sailed long time ago

  • Swirly Twirl

    tiddy games as far as the eye can see

  • Uncle Ocelot

    A certain Keiji comes to mind.

  • Nalferd

    If they kickstart a WA2 closing chapter anime I will pitch in.

  • BaronKrause

    Lol so he can make another shitty game?

  • kenneth

    good Kickstarter games: Divinity: Original Sin and 2 for example

  • kenneth

    good Kickstarter games: Divinity: Original Sin and 2 for example

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Yeah, I agree that it can get rather annoying how irrational people can get whenever there’s a minor hiccup or something controversial/questionable comes up with a project and proclaim it’s going to be “another MN9!”.

    But MN9 is THE perfect example of how a messy a project can get that still manages to get completed and it’s still pretty fresh on everyone’s mind, so it only makes sense people refer to it all the time.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    People liked Broken Age. It took too long for what it was but people were not dissatisfied with what they eventually got.

    Skullgirls was NOT mediocre. Holy shit. They managed their money just fucking fine. Their publishing company unrelatedly got sued over Def Jam, and Konami abandoned them which forced them to draw from Skullgirls’ profits. It was a lesson in reading the very fine print on every contract you sign. The game itself is fantastic and even holds a world record for Filia’s thousands of frames of animation.

    You are heavily oversimplifying or belittling other examples just because you are probably one of those people who brings up MN9 constantly and complains and you don’t want to be told to broaden your arguments.

    also way to brag about hearing of something but being too stupid and lazy to google it.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    Actually crowdfunding is a fantastic tool that has given the gaming community a mountain of critically acclaimed titles like Undertale and Banner Saga. Literally just apply some common goddamn sense and actually do research before you drop $500 on some nothing project made by an idiot, like MN9 backers did.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    “MN9 perfectly exemplifies many of the issues with crowdfunding.”

    What, people blindly believing everything they read (like Inafune being “the father of megaman”) and dumping hundreds or thousands or millions on a project without doing any research on the devs?

    MN9 flopped because of Inafune, and how many platforms it was ported to. This has been made abundantly clear since its launch but no one seems to give a shit about DETAILS or FACTS, buhhh way better to just whine and blame everyone else.

    The game never got finished or polished because (as Inafune himself admitted), porting the game to every goddamn machine in existence from pocket calculators to PC to Wii U to last-gen consoles to 3DS to Nvidia Shield to Chinese Knockoff Consoles (google F1 Tomahawk) was a lot more work than he expected. He admitted that his hubris had come from the fact that Capcom had always handled porting with a separate team, so he’d grossly underestimated the amount of work it would take. He owned up to that and said it was all his fault.

    He tried to do too much too fast, and backers should have known they weren’t going to get the game they wanted when he started ranting about a feature film, a TV series, and a fucking sequel, on top of having to port the first game to every platform.

    “If you back a Kickstarter you are not investing.”

    Yes you are. Your payoff is that the game comes out and is good. Or your money burns up and you get crap returns, just like investing. I wasn’t saying it was “literal investing in stocks” with the benefits of that. It was an analogy.

    When you invest in reliable developers (who don’t have some sordid history of fucking things up, as Inafune did), you are much more likely to get a reliable end product.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    “It’s still pretty fresh in everyone’s mind”

    it’s been literally years. there have been, what, hundreds of game crowdfunds since then, most of which had no drama at all. cry me a river build me a bridge and kindly get yourselves over it.

  • Mr0303

    “What, people blindly believing everything they read (like Inafune being
    “the father of megaman”) and dumping hundreds or thousands or millions
    on a project without doing any research on the devs?” – yes. That is one.

    Next you mention devs over-promising the number of ports, which of course effects the quality – that’s another.

    Bad project management – that’s a third issue.

    Do you begin to see how MN9 shows rather well potential issues with crowdfunding?

    “Yes you are. Your payoff is that the game comes out and is good.” – the game and the rewards you paid for are not returns – they are what you are owed. It is similar to a product purchase. You don’t get any returns. You don’t get any money back or extra rewards if the game is successful. This is why your comparison to investing is wrong.

    Every developer can abuse the system. If a new team is running a campaign there is no way to test how “reliable” they are. Even if they are a team of veterans there is no guarantee that they’ll mess up at some point in the project, but by that time you cannot get your money back.

  • Mr0303

    It’s a fantastic tool for developers to fund their projects and promote them without spending money on marketing and also avoid any potential risks. There are no benefits or advantages for backers. Quite the contrary – it is usually cheaper to buy the game when it is released.

  • RichardGristle

    This is either fantastic or horrific. Knowing the business sense of the Japs, it’ll be the latter. Here’s hoping for the best though.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    It is mediocre; the game was short as fuck, the final boss was bullet hell, there wasn’t much entertainment for me even though it’s the type of game I only ever really use at most two characters in vs computer.

    So what you’re saying is that kickstarter supporters should do their research on the people they’re supporting but a company shouldn’t do their research on their publishers/distributors?

    Not really, just stating I hear praise but never see anything said about the gameplay except for Shantae which people won’t shut up about as the posterchild of kickstarter in a good light.

    I only bring up MN9 because of the massive amount of money put towards it, the shit that ran everyone off, and the product put out is such a hilarious shitstorm and anyone who didn’t get their bank to yank their money back after falling for the bait need to be constantly reminded lest they support something else simply for it being nostalgia bait.

    It’s not bragging, it’s stating that I don’t know it from personal experience and have to rely on others say that I know well enough or have shown they’re invested in whatever enough to not lie. Lisa on the other hand is just me flat out not giving a shit.

    What’s with the name calling; are peoples dislike of a thing that has at least 3 bad experiences for ever good one, that grating on you?

  • Mighty No. 56008

    “it’s been literally years”
    It came out in June, 2016, where prior to the release date most of the general public finally got a clearer picture on how bad the project had been. Yes there have been many projects since then, but few as prolific.

    And it looks like you’re the one that needs to get “over it”. Yeah I’m not one of the biggest critics of MN9, but I wasn’t even the one that brought it up or making a fuss about it. All I’m saying is that it makes perfect sense for people to bring up that game in particular, and I do agree that it is a good cautionary tale about the risks of crowdfunding.

  • Good now Japan can get scammed too.

  • Unless we get uncensored Japanese games from this I don’t care.

  • Kainevil Rc

    Igarashi is hoping to prove wrong lol.

  • Mr0303

    Hopefully the game is good. Same with Shenmue 3. I want these high profile projects to be successful, but I’m generally against crowdfunding.

  • Alienshroom

    I used to hate Kickstarter but it brought me Little Witch Academia ~ Though backing anything Trigger is a no brainer : P

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Yep, I could see this being great for not so popular series that didn’t do well enough to warrant another season, which is probably quite a few of them.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    The benefit for backers is the creation of a project that may not have been possible or existed otherwise. You can’t wait to buy a game that never gets made now can you?

    What people need to understand though is that Kickstarter is NOT a pre-order, you’re an investor who’s return is the finished product(s).

    Unfortunately that’s exactly how people treat it, not that they’re entirely to blame when the system itself is gamified in the same manner with different tiers and backer rewards.

  • Mr0303

    “The benefit for backers is the creation of a project that may not have been possible or existed otherwise.” – the keyword here is “may”.

    A finished product is NOT a return. You are not affected by how good or successful is the final game. You only get the game (regardless of the quality) and your backer rewards.

  • Mr0303

    Backing anything is a no brainer. :P

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Yeah, it is. You invested money into the project with the expectation of receiving the product should it prove fruitful, which is exactly what you get upon its completion.

    If you presume the projected value of the product is whatever you invested, say you backed $20 and get a digital copy for your platform of choice, then your return is $20 worth of product, plus any backer rewards with their own projected value.

    Return doesn’t necessarily mean additional profit/interest you’re apparently assuming. If I sow crop seeds, the bared produce would be my return.

  • Mr0303

    No, it is not. This is not what returns are. Let’s have a look at the actual definition shall we?

    “What is ‘Return On Investment – ROI’
    A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost.To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment, and the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.”

    Unlike crowdfunding where they either deliver a game and your rewards or refund you, returns can be varied.

    By your logic every preorder is an investment and the game you get at the end is the return.

    “Return doesn’t necessarily mean additional profit/interest you’re apparently assuming.” – OK, could you provide the definition that you are working with?

    “If I sow crop seeds, the bared produce would be my return.” – yes, it would be. All the work and extra care would in fact also be investing time. You know what the difference is? Unlike crowdfunding what you get out of it is varied – the produce can be above or below your expectations. You can resell the produce and calculate your returns compared to the investment. I suppose you can also resell the physical copy and backer rewards above market price and those could be your returns, but I seriously doubt anyone would be stupid enough to buy it. So it seems that with crowdfunding your possible return is either negative or 0 at best, which doesn’t really make it much of an investment.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Return as in yield, as in getting something back for what you put in, hence the comparison to crop harvesting which isn’t purely profit driven.

    How would “an evaluation of profit to investment ratio” fit with anything I said? You took the phrasing as literal as possible.

    Yes, technically a pre-order is an investment, seeing as you’re putting money into a hobby.

    An investment doesn’t have to be about profit, it can also be for an achievement.

    As I said before, Kickstarters wouldn’t necessarily exist at all otherwise. Obtaining said product in itself is an achievement.

    Is it worthwhile? Not necessarily, but the same is true of any investment, they aren’t all sure things.

  • Mr0303

    Return is not used in that context when we’re talking about investments. While true that the word return does have many meanings and nuances the term investment does not. We are talking about a business exchange here where one side offers finances and the other a product and this is why the terminology is grounded.

    “How would “an evaluation of profit to investment ratio” fit with anything I said? You took the phrasing as literal as possible.” – it doesn’t fit, which is why crowdfunding is not an investment. You don’t get returns on the money you put in. I explained how it does fit with your crop example.

    “Yes, technically a pre-order is an investment, seeing as you’re putting money into a hobby.” – so by your logic here people can see crowdfunding as a preorder, since in your mind both are investments?

    Kickstarter projects could be made without crowdfunding, so the achievement of obtaining a product can just be easily done by going to the store and buying the game. Since according to you any financial transaction is an investment there is no point in going for the more risky one.

  • InkBrush

    Skullcunts deserves EVERY amount of hate it gets due too it’s ego filled douchebag game designer Mike Cucklord Z.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    You can’t separate the creator from his creation, that’s on you. Mike Z has nothing to do with his game being good. You have no right to invalidate the hard work of Lab Zero and everyone besides Mike Z because of your vendetta against him.

  • SiliconNooB

    I want another series of The Devil is a Part Timer!

  • Zombie_Barioth

    You and me both.:)

    Monster Musume, Sankarea, and Tokyo Ghoul as well.

  • SiliconNooB

    Miia is best girl! <3

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Manako’s best in my book. Such a tough call though.

    Miia’s great too, except for being perhaps the most deadly bachelorette. I doubt we’d survive past the first morning.

    That, or pull up a grave and enjoy her cooking.XD

  • about time? Hopefully the conversion rates aren’t paypal shitty for the Japanese creators… I think beforehand the company needed to have an English company to sponsor if they wanted to do a KS project

  • Marie Teach

    The dark blue is really difficult to read on a black background