Event Report

“Uzumasa NINJA PITCH,” an event that values local characteristics.

Our association is dedicated to improving Japan’s angel investment environment and supporting the growth of startups. We will be sharing various information related to angel investment, including activity reports, latest news, and pitch event reports, on a monthly basis.

In November 2023, our Executive Director, Toshiyuki Yamamoto, participated as one of the judges at the “Uzumasa NINJA PITCH” held in Kyoto. This pitch event, which our association was involved in planning and organizing, featured a unique Kyoto flavor and was a great success.


The First Step Towards the Uzumasa Media Park Concept

“Could everyone read the kanji ‘Uzumasa’?”
“Taishi… taishin…?” (The author searches)
The correct answer is the place name “Uzumasa” in Kyoto Prefecture.


What was the origin of the ‘Uzumasa NINJA PITCH,’ considering that pitches showcasing their business models are held across the country?


Yamamoto: We had discussions with our partner member from Kyoto Prefecture about supporting startups in a way that reflects the essence of Kyoto. When we thought about startups that embody the essence of Kyoto, we immediately considered strengths in entertainment fields such as movies, games, anime, and manga. Also, Kyoto’s status as a globally recognized city was a key aspect we considered.

Kyoto Prefecture announced the “Uzumasa Media Park Concept” in 2010, aiming to promote the film and video industry by utilizing various resources unique to Kyoto. Given this initiative, we proposed the idea of holding a business pitch event in “Uzumasa,” where Toei Studios is located. We believed it would be fascinating to host the event in a place with such a strong connection to the entertainment industry. This proposal led to the birth of the “Uzumasa NINJA PITCH,” focusing on the entertainment sector like never before. There hadn’t been many pitch events specialized in entertainment startups, and we hoped that by collaborating with venerable film companies like Toei and Shochiku, we could attract interesting companies from all over the country.

Yes, that’s correct! This event marked the first step towards realizing the Uzumasa Media Park Concept.

The recipients of the “Shochiku Award” and the “Toei Award” are…

Six selected entrepreneurs who passed rigorous application criteria took the stage. The judging panel comprised the Vice Governor of Kyoto Prefecture, representatives from Toei and Shochiku studios, prominent venture capitalists, angel investors, and others, totaling eight members. The venue for the pitch was the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, where historical dramas and other films are shot. For the first time in Toei’s history, an event inviting external participants was held in a location usually inaccessible to the public. To add a global touch, the event was hosted by Sean Nichols, dressed as a ninja. Various props such as rice bales, golden screens, and treasure chests enhanced the ambiance of the venue.太秦NINJA PITCH Sean Nichols ショーンニコルス
Props and decorations that convey Kyoto’s global vibe

The results of the pitch competition are as follows:

● Matsuzaki Award: Mr. Tomohisa Ikeda from Undamu Co., Ltd. (Fukuoka Prefecture)

– Business Description: AI Terakoya Platform – A new era of schools where AI coaches can be created and shared in 10 minutes

– Prize: ¥300,000 cash prize, collaboration opportunity with the Shochiku Group

太秦NINJA PITCH 松竹賞 株式会社アンダム 生田知久
Shochiku Award: Mr. Tomohisa Ikuta from Adamu Co., Ltd.

Toei Award: MatchHat (Kyoto Prefecture) – Mr. Soraya Umewaka

– Business Description: Development of a global platform supporting creator-led project realization.
– Prize: ¥300,000 cash prize, one-year coworking space usage rights within Toei Kyoto Studio.

太秦NINJA PITCH 東映賞 梅若ソラヤ MatchHat
Toei Award: MatchHat, Mr. Soraya Umewaka

All participants were provided with benefits such as AWS Free Tier credits as part of the AWS Activate program.

Yamamoto: We received over 30 applications from all over the country, and the six pitches selected through rigorous screening, including workshops, were of high quality and excellence. A significant factor in the awards is the potential for collaboration with the longstanding film industry giants Shochiku and Toei. We are excited to see what kind of chemistry will emerge from this partnership.

Unfortunately, they didn’t win any awards, but Mr. Daiga Kobayashi from Japan XR Center, who demonstrated VR, came all the way from San Francisco for this event! It’s a super global startup with most of its members being Indian.

太秦NINJA PITCH 小林 大河 日本XRセンター

Pitch utilizing VR by Mr. Daiga Kobayashi from Japan XR Center

The Approach to Business Pitching in Regional Areas

“What do you think regional business pitches should be like in the future, considering the unique essence of each locality, as exemplified by the Taishu NINJA PITCH in Kyoto?”

Yamamoto:Pitch events held in various regions often tend to replicate a ‘miniature version of Tokyo’ format. However, I’ve long believed that the ideal form of support in regional areas should involve leveraging the unique characteristics of each locality to assist startups. Kyoto, in particular, possesses distinct values, so we emphasized pitches that could only be conducted in Kyoto, showcasing its unique essence.

By changing the presentation style and approach, we can bring out different charms.

I believe it became a ‘precedent’ for a new form of pitching.

太秦NINJA PITCH 日本エンジェル投資家協会
They set up audience seats in the location where they usually shoot period dramas. It was such a success that there were even people standing.
太秦NINJA PITCH 日本エンジェル投資家協会 山本敏行
The judges’ seats were also unique.

Event information

  • Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2023, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Toei Kyoto Studio Park (9 Uzumasa Higashihachigaokacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture)
  • Speakers:
    • Mr. Takayuki Kojima / Pikaburu Inc.
    • Mr. Toru Yamanaka / LOOVIC Inc.
    • Ms. Soraya Umewaka / MatchHat
    • Mr. Hiroka Kobayashi / Japan XR Center
    • Mr. Tomohisa Ikuta / Andamu Co., Ltd.
    • Mr. Sho Haga / PBADAO Co., Ltd.
  • Judges:
    • Kosei Yamashita, Vice Governor of Kyoto Prefecture
    • Tomohiko Morikawa, Director and Executive Managing Officer, Shochiku Ventures Inc.
    • Yuya Kamata, Executive Managing Director, Toei Company, Ltd.
    • Toshiyuki Yamamoto, Japan Angel Investors Association
    • Douglas Montgomery 氏 / Global Connects Media CEO
    • Masanori Matsumoto, WiL Inc.
    • Senyasu Kameoka, Z Venture Capital
    • Daisuke Tanaka, Alabaster
  • Hosted by: Uzumasa Festival Executive Committee
  • Co-hosted by: Kyoto Prefecture
  • Support: TOKYO EPIC Inc. / Power Angels / Soluto Inc.


The Japan Angel Investor Association, a general incorporated association, is recruiting “Angel Members” for angel investors and “Partner Members” for municipalities, companies, and organizations supporting startups.

Membership fees are free. Why not join us in supporting the growth of startups together?

More details are available here →https://j-angel.jp/

Bonus Feature – Traveling Back to the Edo Period for the Afterparty

After the pitches, we all gathered for the afterparty at the ‘Uzumasa Edo Sakaba,’ held only once a year at the Kyoto Film Village. It felt like we had traveled back in time to the Edo period, enjoying a fantastic time together.

We savored the exquisite sake of Kyoto and delicious meals from renowned restaurants, while immersing ourselves in traditional Japanese performing arts. It was a sophisticated and enjoyable night festival where adults could truly appreciate the essence of Japan.

太秦NINJA PITCH 江戸酒場 Edo Sakaba

A delightful feast that felt like stepping into the Edo period.
太秦NINJA PITCH 江戸酒場 Edo Sakaba
“Trying your luck at ‘cho-han’ (a traditional Japanese gambling game of guessing odd or even).”
太秦NINJA PITCH 江戸酒場 Edo Sakaba ア~レ~体験
“Experiencing the thrill of pulling on a traditional Japanese sash and shouting ‘A-RE!’ – a taste of old-fashioned excitement!”
太秦NINJA PITCH 江戸酒場 Edo Sakaba
A woman surrounded by flowers, transforming into an art object.
太秦NINJA PITCH 江戸酒場 Edo Sakaba
Time travel to the Edo period.