In a 2016 survey by Japan Tourism Agency, the number one complaint with visitors from overseas was “communication”.
The reason? Japan is known for its captivating mix of cutting edge technology, serene nature and cultural traditions. At the same time, the number of international sports and events, hosted by Japan, are on the rise. With these growing interests, tourist spots, lodgings and restaurants never visited before by foreigners are facing an influx of non-Japanese speakers.
The scale of Japan’s tourism is growing exponentially. The country has received 28 million visitors in 2017, with the majority of them arriving from China, Southeast Asia, as well as Western countries. This number is predicted to exceed 40 million by 2020.
The demand for multi-lingual services has never been stronger.
In order to address this issue, Kotozna, Inc. developed kotozna chat. The company focused on messaging apps, something majority of visitors use regardless of nationality, as a platform. As there are many of these, the company selected the most popular apps : Facebook Messenger, LINE, WeChat and Kakao Talk. A program to bridge these platforms was developed, and AI based machine translation, which reads texts and translates in real time, was incorporated. This way people with different text messaging such as Facebook Messenger and LINE can communicate with each other, using their own apps, in their own language. This is kotozna chat, a multi-lingual, real-time translation, cross-platform service.
kotozna chat may be used to help visitors at hotels, explain menus at restaurants, serve shoppers at stores, show directions to destinations, relay symptoms to doctors, communicate with the hearing-impaired, and encourage exchange amongst tourists themselves. With the wide range of usage, kotozna chat offer cross-communication with more than 100 languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Thai and French.
It’s easy to use kotozna chat. No download is required, and the service is free. All you have to do is to scan the QR code provided and conversation will begin seamlessly.
The company expects half million users by the end of 2018, and projects 5 million users both in and out of Japan by the end of 2020.
Formerly known as Jaqool, Inc. until September 2018, Kotozna, Inc. has been providing multi-language translation services with QR codes since 2016. It has supplied QR codes to over 3000 restaurants, hotels and tourist spots in and around Kyushu region through “Trip’nScan”, a service that allows visitors use their smartphones to understand Japanese signage and documents. Kotozna, Inc. is a member of the “QR code multi-language translation project” that was selected as the “2017 Oita Prefecture IoT Promotional Project”. Kotozna, Inc was found by Genri Goto, founder and former CEO of Kenko.com, and Takaaki Kamio, founder of Mindpallet, which is known for Snapee, a photography social network.
On September 9, 2018, Kotozna, Inc. was selected as the representative of Kyushu region for “Startup World Cup 2019” with its kotozna chat service. The company will advance to Japan finals held in Tokyo on Oct 5.
For all written correspondence :
Moto-Akasaka 1-7-20, KIZUNA WEST 1F,
Minatoku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan
Daimyo 2-6-11, FUKUOKA growth next,
Chuoku, Fukuokashi 810-0041, Japan
【About Genri Goto, CEO】
Goto co-found Jaqool, Inc. (now Kotozna, Inc.) in October 2016 and was appointed CEO. He simultaneously assumed the role of Representative Director of TagFIT, a general incorporated association. Prior to this Goto was the founder of Healthy Net, Inc. (Now Kenko.com, Inc.) spanning 2 decades as CEO. Goto listed the company in 2004. In 2013, he won a Supreme Court ruling against the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, paving the way to sell general medicine online. Goto has served as the chairman of Japan Online Drug Association, and has been a World Economic Forum member and member of numerous commissions at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare as well as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. He has worked at Accenture after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from Tokyo University. Goto holds a Master of Public Management degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.