Empowering Innovators: TAKTOPIA’s Mission to Cultivate Entrepreneurship Among Japanese Students

A man sitting at a conference room table and speaking

Yu Nagai, an entrepreneur from Tokyo, Japan, founded TAKTOPIA & Co. to provide students with opportunities for local and global entrepreneurial education, after he was inspired by exposure to education and community service in his previous work as a business consultant. Since 2023, TAKTOPIA has worked closely with CIC Japan Desk to enhance Japanese students’ understanding of the Boston-area innovation ecosystem through hands-on workshops at CIC Cambridge. 

We spoke with Yu Nagai (Co-founder & CEO), as well as Shinya Watanabe and Kyoka Sekiguchi (Learning Designers), to find out more about TAKTOPIA and what opportunities they provide to these students.


TAKTOPIA provides entrepreneurial skill-building and experience to Japanese middle and highschoolers to better prepare them for both Japan and the world’s growing interest in innovation. We have coined the term ‘glocal leadership’, a mix of global and local, to describe our mission of being a launchpad for these young entrepreneurs in their communities and on the global stage. We work with Japanese high schools to integrate entrepreneurial education and experiences into their curriculums and expose students to new environments and opportunities.

TAKTOPIA’s goal isn’t simply to turn all of the students we work with into startup founders – we seek to prepare students to make the change they want to see in the world. “Takt,” a conductor’s baton, represents the autonomy that we wish to instill, and “topia,” from utopia, represents the community we aim to build. In order to do so, we help students learn entrepreneurship, communication, English language, and more, providing an environment that fosters the students’ creativity and allows them to invest themselves in their interests and passions.

Why bring entrepreneurial skill building to Japanese high schoolers?

We find that in the current Japanese educational model, schools are too isolated from their local communities and industries. Entrepreneurial learning forces students to look at their environment and find ways to create societal value and solutions to current problems. Our programs give students the skills and confidence to expand their scope of interaction and understand how change is made.

What does CIC and the Boston area provide to them?

At CIC, students can experience the center of the Boston-area innovation ecosystem first-hand. Boston’s rich density of entrepreneurship and innovation, along with the relative safety for students to move around and explore by themselves, combine to make an environment that leaves a positive and lasting impact. The universities in Boston and Cambridge are also exceptionally receptive to the students and offer opportunities to converse with slightly older students who they might see a bit of their future in.

What are some innovative ideas the students have produced?

One memorable group designed a board game that promotes financial literacy. They saw a need for better financial education tools in Japan, and their passion led them to actually establish a company to make the project a reality. They have been proactive in reaching out to educational institutions and attending gaming expositions, their dedication and efforts having led to steady growth and consistent profit generation. It is amazing to see how the students’ ideas evolve and develop over the course of our programs and beyond.