Yuzi Tsutani, the founder of Voltage Co., Ltd., was born in Fukui Prefecture, Japan as the eldest son of parents who were running a textile factory. He was a child who loved to do crafts and draw pictures.
He entered the University of Tokyo in 1981 and majored in architectural engineering at the Faculty of Engineering. While job searching before graduation, he hoped to find a job where he could “create something while also having dynamic interactions with society”. He eventually joined an ad agency, HAKUHODO Inc., in 1985. It was during his career there that he came up with the catchphrase “Art & Business”. He worked for HAKUHODO for 11 years in total, mainly engaging in planning, production and spatial design.
Although the advertising business was interesting, Tsutani aspired to create something with themes set on his own, instead of those assigned by clients. So, he made up his mind to apply for the director course of the graduate program of the School of Theater, Film, Television and Digital Media, UCLA, and finally won admission three years later. He took a leave of absence from HAKUHODO and studied at UCLA at his own expense for four years from 1993.
During his UCLA years, while struggling to overcome the hurdles of language and art, he devoted himself to filmmaking, which took shape as a work that received a small award. Parallel to filmmaking, he did various jobs including translation of movie-related books, production of low-budget commercial films, planning of game software, and so on. He came back to Japan in 1997 and returned to work at HAKUHODO. There, he launched an Internet business under the company’s internal venture program.
After resigning from HAKUHODO, Tsutani founded Voltage Co., Ltd., assumed the office of President and launched a mobile content business. In 2000, Voltage received the 1st MCF Special Award for its “Battle Tokyo 23”, which was the world’s first mobile-platform multi-player match game, though the company suffered from financial deficit for the first four years after its founding. Meanwhile, in-between his job as a company executive, Tsutani completed the film-editing process of his graduation work, and graduated from UCLA in 2002. After that, by taking advantage of the characteristics of the Internet and Tsutani’s expertise in “movie & advertisement”, Voltage produced a number of hit products, including a mobile-phone-novel site “100 Scenes of Love” and a multi-player match game “Samurai Warrior’s Journey of Battle”, which made the company’s financial balance move into the black, and then a music site “Heartfelt Lyrics”, which brought the company’s business to a growth path.
Voltage released its first love-story game. Thereafter, the company specialized its business in love-story games, and grew to be the No. 1 mobile love-story game company in Japan (and in the world). Voltage listed its stock on the TSE Mothers market in 2010 and the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in 2011. By maintaining an annual growth rate of 30% for 10 years, Voltage was selected as a winner in the “Japan Technology Fast 50” corporate growth rate ranking hosted by the major auditing firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC for eight successive years from 2006 to 2013. (Voltage is the record holder of the all-time greatest number of winning.)
Voltage expanded into the USA by establishing an SF studio in San Francisco. Tsutani immigrated to San Francisco with his family. Voltage products kept high rankings in the entertainment category of the App Store in the USA, Singapore, etc. In 2013, after assuming the office of Director and Chairperson, Tsutani restarted his activity as a movie director.
Tsutani came back to Japan and returned to the position of Representative Director and President.