Highlighting JAPAN Vol.121 June 2018

MUSIO is a white, round-bodied, two-TAMAKI KAWASAKIEnglish tutor, something that is in high demand in Japan. AKA Intelligence, the U.S. startup that created Musio, was launched in 2009 to develop artificial intelligence communication engines and robots. The company’s aim is to create a world where humans and robots become friends. When AKA sought funding for robot development through a U.S. crowdfunding website, “the largest headed robot about thirty centimeters tall with charming eyes. Musio speaks perfect English and is an expert In the Harajuku office there are plenty of Musio goods and English teaching materialsU.S. startup AKA’s little robot, Musio, supports English learning. Brian Lee, the Chief Strategy Officer, reveals how AKA and Musio successfully entered the Japanese market.number of investors were Japanese, although the site was little known in Japan,” says chief strategy officer Brian Lee at the company’s Japanese subsidiary. That was a compelling reason for pursuing business here since 2015.Now a Tokyo resident who speaks fluent Japanese, Lee had no contact with anyone Japanese while growing up in his native South Korea until he graduated high school. However, a desire to learn something different from other people and in a new environment—and a Korea-Japan government exchange program—brought him to Japan in 2005. 26SUPPORTING ENGLISH LEARNING ACCESSIBILITY IN JAPAN USING ROBOTS

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