EdTech in Japan - 11 Leading Startups

Education is deep-rooted in Japanese culture, and it's considered one of life's fundamental excellencies. The Japanese education system is one of the world's leaders. Their success in being consistent in world rankings and learning outcomes has given the country an immeasurable spotlight on educational innovations.

Contrary to popular belief that a high-quality education calls for high investment and expenses, Japan's education sector actually spends less than other developed nations. Compared to the world average of 4.9%, Japan only invests 3.3% of their GDP in education (1). But the results mirror a high-investment value as teaching staffs in the country are paid more than the global average, and their students are enjoying a holistic approach to education.

The Current State of EdTech in Japan

Technology plays a huge role in Japan's economy, so it's no wonder why their schools, universities, and learning institutions are heavily invested in STEM education. Public schools are equipped adequately with digital infrastructures and equipment to provide a technology-centered education.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry of Japan and other related government institutions are holding initiatives to stimulate the active use of cutting-edge technologies in schools and educational facilities. Ministries provide subsidiaries and commission fees to teams and companies to develop educational activities using Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence (2). 

As a result, you have an edtech market thriving and well-utilized in Japan's education system. Edtech starts as early as primary schools, and students learn along the way up until they get into universities. 

With a well-utilized education system, the edtech market in Japan is different compared to other countries. The majority of the EdTech startups and companies are focused on globalizing the innovations of Japanese technology. Schools and universities have the means to employ advanced technologies, but only a fraction of their labs' innovations are pushed to the market. 

For a country that is one of the leading global innovators, Japan continues to push technology boundaries. To do so, they need the younger generations to break through the market barriers and bring their technology breakthroughs to the market. 

When it comes to EdTech initiatives in Japan, the lack of exposure for the organization and its clients is a glaring problem. Bridging Japanese companies to the global market remains a challenge. 

On the other hand, edtech startups and companies in Japan are changing education as we've known it. Considering that Japan has become more and more open to the cultures outside of their country, trends in the edtech market are changing too (3). 

Gamification is widely used as a teaching pedagogy in EdTech. The use of VR and AR devices are well-implemented. Robotics are branching out to STEM and being applied to the disciplines of humanities and social sciences. There's also a high spike in English learning initiatives. The boundaries between academic and non-academic subjects become more flexible through the integration of technology in education, allowing for a more effective and holistic approach in education.

Top 11 EdTech Companies in Japan

1. Atama Plus

Atama is a technology advance personalized training tool for students. The platform is powered by artificial intelligence to keep track of the student's common academic statistics and analyzes it to provide a customized training experience. Atama can determine the student's concentration degree, the tendency of mistake, learning history, and more. 

2. Schoo

Schoo is a marketplace for online courses and tutorials. However, instead of pre-recorded lectures, Schoo specializes in live-streaming lectures. Teachers can sign up on their platform to teach and have their broadcasts scheduled within the platform. 

3. Arcterus

Arcterus emphasizes community learning through their notebook sharing app, where students can view, share, and rate their own notebooks. They can also chat with the owners of public notebooks for questions. Arcterus also have Caiz, a service that can assess a student's performance and learning style.

4. StreetAcademy

StreetAcademy is another platform that acts as a marketplace for courses. Their topics include business, IT, photography, arts, and lifestyle courses like yoga, cooking, and more. Users can search for courses based on their personal interests, location, and event schedule.

5. Visits

Visits provides an online career exploration platform where users can learn about specific and niche industry knowledge through solving quizzes approved or made by companies. 

6. Smart Education

Smart Education is a company that develops educational applications for kids. Most of their services are centered on English and music education. 

7. StudyPlus

StudyPlus is a learning platform for students that help them track their study habits. Users can log their study times, subjects, and content. The platform also has test preparation materials for English examinations in and outside of universities. 

8. Lang-8

Lang-8 is a language learning platform that emphasizes collaboration. The platform covers more than 90 languages spanning at least 190 countries. Users can upload the materials that they wrote or speak and have natives of the language correct them. 

9. HiNative

HiNative is an application where you can directly ask language-related questions to native speakers across the globe. The application runs on the basic premises of Q&A, where users can post questions, and another user can answer them and vice versa. HiNative supports 113 languages.

10. Flamingo

Flamingo is a platform where students can easily find and book private teaching lessons with foreign language tutors. The user can negotiate the time and place or have the class be done remotely through an online videoconference. 

11. TerraTalk

TerraTalk uses artificial intelligence to generate conversations to help users practice their English speaking skills. The app focuses mainly on realistic scenarios in a conversational context tailored to the user's level of experience.