Change the world at Japan’s first ever Cleanweb Hackathon


Hosted by the KYOTO Design Lab, the first ever bilingual Cleanweb Hackathon in Japan will be taking place in Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March. The three-day event hopes to bring together a diverse group of tech enthusiasts, developers, designers, engineers, students and business professionals, with the challenge of creating a new product that will positively impact how we engage with the environment.

With the support of experienced international mentors, teams will work closely together to develop a product that ‘allows the world to do more with less’; a key concept of the Cleanweb movement, which employs the advantages of the internet and mobile applications to promote better use of natural resources and encourage environmentally-conscious behaviour among consumers.

It’s an intense three days of networking, sharing ideas and building a prototype which teams will pitch to the group and judges on the final evening. Organizers hope that the ideas shared and connections made during the event will lead people to found their own startups and continue developing their product after. This is exactly how startup success stories like the Moff Band, a wearable smart toy that rewards movement, came about.

“Hackathons are great ways of bringing together people who want to come up with new ideas and create prototypes, but that is only the starting point. My hope is that people will take their ideas to the next step after the event is over,” says co-organizer Sushi Suzuki, an associate professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology.


This is the first Cleanweb event that’s taken place in Japan but it’s a movement that should find traction in an historically environmentally-conscious nation where resources are scarce and conservation is a national mentality, thinks Sushi.

There are 24 spots available and they’re looking for a broad range of participants; the event will run in both Japanese and English and is open to anyone with a creative mindset. Since the event is bilingual, you don’t have to speak Japanese or come with specific experience in the Japanese market. A technical or engineering background isn’t a requirement either; all you need is an idea and the desire to make a difference.

Together with Oriol Pascual, Director of the IQS Tech Factory, Sushi wants to expand the group’s diversity as much as possible to widen the potential for different ideas.

“A lot of hackathons tend to be filled with male professional engineers and I think the lack of diversity limits the ideas that come out. For Japanese people, working with expats who typically have different perspectives can be very meaningful,” he says.

There are two events that will follow the same format, one in Kyoto from March 18th and one in Tokyo, starting March 25th. To apply, visit the event website and fill out the form. Both events are limited to 24 places – applications will be considered as they come in and closed once venues reach full capacity.


Cost: Free
Number of participants: 24

Date and location:
Kyoto | March 18th evening ~ March 20th evening | MTRL Kyoto
Tokyo | March 25th evening ~ March 27th evening | FabCafe MTRL

For more details and applying:

Facebook Event Pages:



Tokyo-based writer and consultant.
  • Yoshiyuki Tezuka says:

    It’s been a while, Rebecca-san. The article was interesting for me as I rarley see this kind of news on traditional Japanese mass media. I personally think innovation comes from diversified environment across nationality, profession etc. Therefore, I find it important for the event to be open to anyone with a creative mindset.

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