Toppako. It’s an unfamiliar word isn’t it, so the first thing we would like to do is explain what it means, and why we used it to name this communication-moderation tool.

Toppako is a Japanese word that means ‘a point of breakthrough’. Here at Toppako, we relish the idea of the peaceful culture that the Japanese represent and their traditions of respect. Social behaviour is considered to be very important in Japan. Whilst certain rules of politeness should be universal, quite a few Japanese manners are unique to them.

Dr. Inazo Nitobe once wrote that “Politeness should be the outward manifestation of a sympathetic regard for the feelings of others.” Politeness is extremely important in Japanese culture and is taught from a very young age.

Another essential idea of Japanese politeness is Confucianism. Confucianism stresses modesty, honour, loyalty, justice, sense of shame and refined manners among many other values. Here at Toppako, we feel that it is important to mirror these principles in order to create a peaceful lifestyle.

Toppako was born out of conversations and observations of a group of friends and colleagues discussing how communication has changed over the years with the introduction of mobile phones and email and social media. Whilst communication is easier and faster it has broken down etiquette and has made communicating emotionally more challenging.

People are no longer communicating face to face and therefore non-verbal communication is being compromised. As well as this, sometimes we must deal with emotions in stressful situations and our tonality can be misunderstood. Conversation breakdowns can occur as people’s intentions can be misread and everything can quickly spiral out of control.

Given the speed and ease that you can write messages, people are often led by their emotions and haste and write emails that are brutal and hurtful and don’t tend to think through how their message can wound or be destructive. Texting is one of the most popular communications tools we have and can often assist in building connections. However, messaging can also breakdown relationships just as fast.

For example, when you receive a text message or email, you’re compelled to respond as quickly as possible but you’re not really participating in the progressive deepening of the conversation. Likewise, if you send a text message and do not receive a reply within a limited amount of time, it could lead to impatience and even aggression.

Toppako was born around us trying to build a reliable and trusted platform to assist in communicating during difficult periods of time. It measures tone through text and can be an emotional spellchecker that allows people to communicate safely and stop the hurt.

We wanted to build a smart technology solution that was NOT an app, so didn’t require a download of any sort, that did not hinder people’s ability to have messages come direct to their phone or email without speed and ease of use being compromised. At the same time, we needed it to enable them to gain control, to empower them to communicate safely during emotionally heated exchanges and be something that broke through the communicative breakdowns.

All of the team here at Toppako have experienced difficulties personally through difficult communications with ex-partners and families and we had also seen professional relationships breakdown during our years as HR Partners and business owners. There just had to be a better way to connect right.

So we took action.