So CODE BLUE just announced their dates for 2015 and so did AVTokyo.  What are these  you ask, well these are two security conferences in Japan.  I know Japan might be a long way from wherever you are and you ask, which one should I attend? The purpose of this post is to help you decide.

Disclaimer: I  support both conferences from an operational point and therefore my opinions can and will be biased.


CODE BLUE is a very professional conference, it is well organized for a conference that just started just a  year ago( 2 conferences were held in 2014, under the banner CODE BLUE 2013 and CODE BLUE 2014). This time is their third official conference. The organizer of the conference is Kana, whom some of you might already know. The first conference titled CODE BLUE 2013 was held in Feb. 2014. The keynote was Jeff Moss. (if you have to ask who he is , you need to do your homework first.)  The second conference happened in Dec.2014 titled CODE BLUE 2014 having Keren Elazari as the keynote.

a) What Makes CODE BLUE unique?

Well, its in Japan. .No really..its in Japan.

CODE BLUE brings together speakers from around the globe with speakers from Japan whom might not be internationally known but are doing some cutting edge research.  Kana with her extensive experiences in international hacker/security conferences wanted to build an unique experience not only for the attendees but also the speakers and from the feedback we have received she has succeeded. Code Blue is a professional event with corporate sponsors without the outrages “my marketing team can one up yours” ridiculousness seen at some of the larger conferences these days. Attendance is good with over 400 people or so (the official attendance numbers aren’t disclosed, so I am just guessing from how full the rooms were and the capacity I knew these rooms would hold.)  The talks are selected by a review board and so far have consisted of not only very technical talks but conceptual and real life scenario based talks.  You can check out some of the talks on the CODE BLUE youtube channel. All talks will have simultaneous translation for Japanese and English. So as long as  you can talk shop in English you should be fine. Bilingual staff members are scattered around the venue to help you in case you need something. If you are reading this and you need some help just find me I’m the motherfucker with a beard and a clipboard.

Bearded Motherfucker with a clipboard

Bearded Motherfucker with a clipboard

If you are interested CODE BLUE has also a Flickr page with some images from the past conferences for you to see what the atmosphere is like.

b) Elkentaro’s somewhat biased yet hopefully helpful impressions:

I truly think CODE BLUE offers something unique. The conference isn’t too large to be unmanageable to meet interesting people and have an interesting conversation. The content is technical yet not too technical but the past two conferences included interesting non-tech but very valuable talks too.  The attendees come from a wide range of organizations and responsibilities but many of them are either at the forefront of cybersecurity or are decision makers in charge of deciding cybersecurity related issues within their respective organizations. Dress code wise its a business casual event , so a shirt and trousers are recommended. You could show up in an aloha shirt and flip flops but given that the conference happens in the fall you would not only stand out but also be cold.  Lunch, coffee breaks were provided (using past tense cause don’t know about the next one) thanks to the generous support of the very understanding and supportive sponsers.(totally not sucking up to them)  Having attended and helped in organizing and running ground ops for different conferences I can say despite the fact that there has only been two conferences the organization and operations are very well thought out(kudos to Kana). I would love to see more CODE BLUE swag but hey it has only happened twice so the lack of swag is understandable.

CODE BLUE 2015 details:
Date : Oct.28-29, 2015
Place : BelleSalle Shinjuku Grand


AVTokyo is the DEF CON of Japan. It is truly a hacker event. AVTokyo is organized and operated by the domestic hacker community. Its held at a nightclub. A couple hundred people show up for this one day event.

Totally unnecessary sidenote: When the nightclub owners heard that it was a hacker event they thought , “Nerds don’t drink” Well last year we almost drank the bar dry. 

AVTokyo’s slogan is “No Drink, No Hack” . While somewhat grammatically awkward the idea is that lets talks shop while drinking alcohol and having a good time. You would be surprised how well drunk people can communicate with each other even tough  they think they can’t when sober.  AVTokyo started as a drinking party after Black Hat Japan. Some of the attendees would get together and exchange ideas and get wasted, this party has grown into the largest gathering of die hard hackers not only from Japan but also other countries.

a)  What makes AVTokyo unique?

Well its in Japan…oh wait …already used this.. hm…Its in a nightclub in TOKYO!

AVTokyo truly has grown to be the DEF CON equivalent here in Japan. Not only are there talks but last year they added sections dedicated to hardware hacking, hardware making (thanks to the support of Tokyo Hackerspace members), a black box penetration challenge and a secret back room for VIP members.  AVTokyo has an unique sponsorship program called “The individual Sponsor Program” , the way this program works is like crowdfunding, if you pledge more than their basic price then you not only get admission to the conference but also you get to be invited to  the secret VIP afterparty and your name(or whatever you want) will be shown on the screen throughout the conference plus you get swag.  They also have regular attendee tickets available.  The organizers are headed up by Tessy from Sutegoma 2 fame and all of them are all well known players within the security industry.  To borrow a quote from a famous  president,” AVTokyo is by the hackers for the hackers”

Bearded Motherfucker and Tessy @AVTokyo 2014

Bearded Motherfucker and Tessy @AVTokyo 2014

b) Elkentaro’s somewhat biased yet hopefully helpful impressions:

AVTokyo is the event I look forward to every year. Its unique in the talk selections and just to be able to see friends and hang out with them truly is an enjoyable experience. AVTokyo does not have simultaneous translation but usually some of the speakers speak in English and most of the presentation material will have English and Japanese versions of their slides shown and thanks to the ever flowing copious amount of alcohol usually language just doesn’t matter. There are usually enough bilingual people to facilitate the discussion. Once again if you want you can just grab me and I’ll translate for you.  Dress code wise its casual, very casual, if you show up in a suit you will stand out although it is up to your preference. If you are the every-day-suit type a person by all means wear a suit. Before you show up grab something to eat cause there usually isn’t any food available but the event is held in the center of Tokyo and you should have no trouble finding anything from Starfucks coffee to something uniquely Japanese. I think you can leave the venue and come back later but you might miss some insanely cool talk about something life altering.

So there you have it a quick write up on CODE BLUE and AVTokyo. Both conferences have a Call for Papers so pick and choose , hell come to both and you will have a good time in Tokyo. You need to convince the corporate brass that you think you need to present in Japan , my suggestion would be pick CODE BLUE, you want to hang out with hackers and exchange ideas or just experience something unique ? Go with AVTokyo.

AVTokyo 2015 details:
Date: November 14 (SAT), 2015
Open 14:00 Start 15:00 End 20:00
Chitose-Kaikan B1F, 13-8 Udagaw-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.DATE: November 14 (SAT), 2015
Open 14:00 Start 15:00 End 20:00

Honorable Mentions:

This post would not be complete without mentioning PacSec.

Organized by Dragos , PacSec 2015 will the 13th time that the PacSec conference is held in Japan, making it the longest running international security conference in Japan. (there might be some academic conferences but I don’t know any so they don’t count)Kudos to Dragos and the organization for never giving up on running the conference in Japan, trust me this is a feat in itself.  PacSec always brings some of the leading researchers from across the globe to Tokyo and also has some leading talks by domestic researches. Also last year’s Mobile Pwn2Own Contest had a prize pool of $425,000. PacSec has always stayed around the same size a couple hundred in attendance making it unique that you can actually talk to everybody there,not only the speakers but attendees and organizers.  I have been lucky enough to be asked to help PacSec by translating their media briefing sessions and every time I go , “hmm? what? What’s that ? I have never heard a talk about that” and am pleasantly surprised.

PacSec 2015 details:
Date: November 11, 12th 2015.
Venue:Aoyama Diamond Hall , Tokyo.

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Posted on 2015年7月9日, 6:30 PM By
Categories: 未分類