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Street Kart company ends crowdfunding campaign with dismal support

40 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

With strict travel restrictions still in place both locally and abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of Japanese businesses that rely heavily on the tourist yen are finding themselves in dire straits right now.

For Akihabara-based go-kart rental company Street Kart, whose revenue is mostly generated from international visitors, things are particularly dire. They’ve spent years struggling to keep their business going after lawsuits from Nintendo threatened to take them off the roads, and were eventually forced to change their business name from MariCar to Street Kart, as the go-karts and costumes used were too similar to Nintendo’s Mario Kart video game.

▼ The Street Kart experience

After a three-year legal battle, Street Kart were ordered to pay Nintendo 50 million yen at the end of January. Following that blow came the coronavirus pandemic, which wiped out so much of Street Kart’s earnings they decided to start up a crowdfunding campaign called “Save the Street Kart” on April 24.

Well, that campaign wrapped up two months later, on 30 June, and out of the two-million yen (US$18,590) target goal they’d set for themselves, they raised…11,569 yen.

With only four backers after two months, this dismal result suggests there’s not a lot of support around for the go-karts. However, for some reason, the campaign to save the local business ran on Japanese site Campfire and was written entirely in Japanese; an odd approach for a service that’s barely used by locals and overwhelmingly caters to foreigners.

Still, people in Japan were quick to let their voices be heard over the result, with comments like:

“Only good-for-nothing types ride these carts anyway.”

“Why did they run this campaign on a Japanese crowdfunding site? Surely they should’ve used a crowdfunding site popular with foreigners instead.”

“They shouldn’t expect Japanese people to fund a business that isn’t aimed at Japanese.”

“Wonder if they’ll survive? If not, another business will just steal the idea later on anyway.”

“They should’ve offered lifetime unlimited rides for 10,000 yen.” 

The only reward tiers offered during the campaign was a thank-you email from staff for donations of 500 yen, and an 8,000-yen tour ticket in return for 5,000 yen. More reward options may have resulted in a better result, and since the campaign ran on an all-or-nothing basis, all funds raised will now be returned to backers.

Source: Campfire/StreetKart via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- MariCar Mario Kart driver mounts pavement, causes serious damage in Tokyo accident

-- Tokyo’s “real-life Mario Kart” go-kart rental company loses lawsuit against Nintendo

-- Tokyo’s new “real-life Mario Karts” make it ridiculously clear they’re unrelated to Nintendo

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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Tragic. They have become part of Japan’s street culture. Such a fun and novel idea, glad I got to play with them before they went under.

hopefully they’ll be back to annoy the people below

-28 ( +5 / -33 )

Seems to be a good idea not to fund this , they were a damn nuisance in the city traffic.

I bet the local Japanese are pleased with this news getting them off the roads is a good idea !

23 ( +27 / -4 )

This oughta be illegal.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

For perspective, Tokyo arcade ゲーセンミカド raised 37,328,892 yen from 3872 backers in just one month!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good! They are pests and won’t be missed!

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Game over. Buy Nintendo Switch.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Best news all day. Just goes to show how much they were loathed.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Tragic. They have become part of Japan’s street culture. Such a fun and novel idea, glad I got to play with them before they went under.

Hardly, from a driver's point of view they were a major dangerous menace, nearly impossible to keep track of in heavy traffic as their low profile kept them out of the view of side and rear view mirrors.

As evidenced by the lack of any support in Japan, it's obvious that a hell of a lot of other people thought the same way!

Thankfully there were no tragedies because of them!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Seems to be a good idea not to fund this , they were a damn nuisance in the city traffic.

I bet the local Japanese are pleased with this news getting them off the roads is a good idea !

Not just the local "Japanese", but local drivers from anywhere! I am totally glad they are gone!

20 ( +21 / -1 )

I find it amazing in the first place why the go karts are allowed on normal roads.

Initially they were pretty dangerous with no indication lights, too low for certain trucks to see and lack of helmets.

The addition of lights and a "stick" only added probably after they received backlash from the community.

I would never support such a business that uses another company's IP blatantly and disregard community safety.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Probably for the best. While they added a bit of "color" to the scenery, I can see why they were also viewed as a nuisance to local road users.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

The average person would not realize these karts are street legal, that you could rent them out, and that you could get away with using Nintendo's IP for as long as they have done. For this reason, I have always assumed that this business is run by savvy people. However this crowdfunding effort is so badly thought out and executed that I will have to change my mind. Doing this in Japanese on a Japanese platform was never going to get anywhere.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I remember seeing a tourist put one of these ridiculous things into a conbini a few years back. Luckily no one was killed. Good riddance, Mario and Luigi!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I think the total of 11,569 yen was way too much.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Hardly, from a driver's point of view they were a major dangerous menace

Cue the dark, ominous music

Thankfully there were no tragedies because of them!

Ah, so brightly coloured go-karts with drivers wearing large mushroom hats weren't a 'major dangerous menace' after all.

We should ban all forms of transport that are inconvenient to incompetent, easily distracted drivers.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

A service that started by stealing IP from Nintendo, puts unwitting tourists in harm's way and causes nusance to everyone around them? So many tears will be shed at the demise....

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I rode them. They were fun. They were dangerous. Their day has come and gone. Farewell Marikart.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Good riddance. Those things were a menace to everyone else using the road.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Great news, now I don't have to see overweight foreign Yoshi and Mario weeboos anymore. Seemed to be the first stop for any travelling idiot, second being the Robot place in Kabukicho which I will never enter.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

GAME OVER!

さようなら!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I hated these karts going by on the road but at the same time feel sorry for the employees who lost their earning source. It’s surprising that they didn’t have any major accidents ( near zero minor accidents as well )! They were probably driven by good drivers in comparison to the bicycle riders in Tokyo who are just reckless! Bicycle accidents ( major ones as minor ones aren’t reported ) were more than 30,000 in Tokyo alone last year! In that essence, I think we all were too harsh on these Go Kart or whatever they were called! Bicycle riders using the roads in Japan need I be licensed or at least more rules implemented for them. Just yesterday, I saw I guy riding a bicycle handsfree, holding an umbrella in one hand, using a cellphone with the other! I also use my bicycle for a 10km training every morning but adhere to all the road rules with due diligence!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I can't believe they lasted as long as this. And I'm surprised there hasn't been a serious accident with them. They should not be allowed on the roads. The fact that they have been tolerated shows up the fact that whoever is in charge of Japan's "road system," does little more than play golf or hide in a basement somewhere.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I do hope they bankrupt and go out of business.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ludi stultis

"Games for fools"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jim, on my marikart excursion, 2 of the other 6 'drivers' were Singaporean 'paper driver' ladies, one following the other, sometimes swapping position, always crashing into the back of the other whenever it wasn't pedal to the metal. I don't know how they survived the afternoon.

My Japanese buddies hadn't heard of it and loved it! They are very much left field though.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeaahh..they were a bit weird. Not to mentions all the carbon monoxide directly into the poor tourist faces.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

you mean people don't support morons dressing like cartoon characters and annoying drivers by dangerously driving on roads without proper licences? Go figure....

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Dango, so much of what you write is wrong. In fact, it all was. I don't know what a 'proper license' is comapared to an 'improper one', but you need a valid license to rent one. Just because they annoy you, doen't mean they annoy everyone. Some people actually derive pleasure from seeing other people having fun. If they drive dangerously, why is their saftey record so good? Lastly, and unforgivably, Mario and his chums are video game charachters.

They will be sadly missed, but they will be back!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

They were a danger on the roads and to pedestrians. Good riddance.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'm so happy the went belly up! I don't live in Tokyo but I travelled there by car often before the pandemic and it was a disgrace to see a bunch of pathetic foreign millennials with zero knowledge of Japanese rules of the road trying to look cool. Good riddance!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good, the people have spoken. Sorry but these types of companies bring out the worst in people and are a public nuisance.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Fighto!July 2  05:41 pm JST

I remember seeing a tourist put one of these ridiculous things into a conbini a few years back. Luckily no one was killed. Good riddance, Mario and Luigi!

No you didn’t. You read about it on this site.

And it wasn’t a ‘conbini’ - it was a fish and chip shop.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/maricar-go-kart-driver-mounts-pavement-causes-serious-damage-in-accident

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good thing I dont have to fantasize this in real life going to the covid-19 streets. I have me a Nintendo Switch with the latetest and greatest Mario Kart for fantasy :). Though it looks very fun to try this I will not at least until COVID-19 is over. Life is more precious to me than a go-cart cosplay.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Interesting comment:

“Only good-for-nothing types ride these carts anyway.”

Particularly since it's well-known that mostly Foreigners hit the streets in these things.

Some things don't change in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Only good-for-nothing types ride these carts anyway"

Most F1 drivers started racing in go-carts. You should try them sometime. They are a lot of fun.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No problem, when the pandemia is over and tourists get back, the Mario street Kart will rise again !!.

Keep crying lsrs !!..

LOOOOOL !!..

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I’ve seen these idiots weaving in and around traffic in Tokyo. It doesn’t surprise me a bit to hear people don’t want to fund lunacy. The payback would be zero.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I always expected one of these drivers to get slammed into, every time I was around Ueno...a miracle no one was ever killed. They would have disappeared THEN.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These many folks did no harm, had fun, and got a kick out of driving around in the very home and origin of Nintendo game culture. They were also enjoyed by many onlookers.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Let's see - these many folks did no harm, had fun, and got a kick out of driving around in the very home and origin of Nintendo game culture.

Did no harm? I think not.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/01/national/japanese-police-log-50-accidents-involving-go-karters-tokyo-streets-11-month-period/

They were also enjoyed by many onlookers.

They might be enjoyed more in a safer environment, and not one where they put themselves and onlookers at risk.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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