Russell Willis
Russell Willis grew up in London, Beckenham, Purley, Selsey and Broadstairs, Kent before spending 30 years in Tokyo. He 
has been a full-time entrepreneur since 1993.

Early Years
Russell started publishing magazines in 1983 at the age of 15, putting out a profitable annual tourist guide for Broadstairs in the UK. At  the same time he put out fanzines about comics with contributions from the likes of Alan Moore, Posy Simmonds, Warren Ellis and David Lloyd. After a stint doing community magazines he became the publications editor at the University of East London Students Union in 1988. He revolutionised the position and brought computers to the Union for both the publishing and accounting departments. 

Educational Publishing and Business in Japan
He moved to Japan in 1990 and was a teacher for a few years in Japanese secondary schools and for the British Council's Cambridge English School. In 1993, he set up a multimedia development company in Tokyo which produced customised language-learning software for universities with Canon. He went on to publish a large number of successful language learning software products, including Finding Out, a joint-venture with Macmillan described by Japan's Modern Education Newspaper (Gendai Kyoiku Shinbun) as the “best language learning software for children available”. His  Speak! software (which pioneered speech recognition for learning languages) was chosen by Apple to appear with its CEO as part of a MacWorld Expo Keynote. Russell produced CD-ROMs and magazines for the British Government and websites, podcasts and audio books with clients ranging from Tokyo University to the Nikkei Weekly to TIME magazine.

The Bookworms apps he originated and produced with Oxford University Press reached No.1 in both the iPhone and iPad iTunes charts in Japan after previously topping the education charts.

He was the managing director of the leading Tokyo-based web portal, eigoTown.com for over 10 years, where he led the original development of the award-winning education site. He is the founder of ELTBOOKS.com, one of Japan's largest resellers of language learning materials with sales in the several millions of dollars and over 10,000 school customers.

He was managing director of Guinness World Records Japan in 2008/9 where he developed the Japan business plan, hired the current managing director, and created valuable new revenue models including the mass-participation certificate for individuals. 

Russell consults on a range of publishing, production and marketing areas for organisations that have included Pearson, Oxford University Press, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 

He conceived and developed the Oxford Phonics World iOS and Android app for Oxford University Press which has been included in Oxford’s best-selling  book of the same name since 2019.

Graphic Novels
Russell founded SEQUENTIAL, the acclaimed iPad app for digital graphic novels and edited and published expanded digital editions of works by Eddie Campbell, David Hine, David Lloyd, Terry Wiley, Neil Gaiman, Gilbert Shelton and Posy Simmonds. In that area he has created products for the British Library, the BBC and the London Book Fair.

Along the way, Russell was a Special Advisor to the English-Speaking Union of Japan for 8 years and a long-serving judge for their university debating competitions (along with the British Ambassador to Japan). These competitions featured teams from Waseda University, Keio University and Oxford University, amongst others. He also created and organized over 80 international social events at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, each with 200~500 participants. He has managed Facebook sites with over 300,000 members. He has appeared on TV numerous times and is an accomplished public speaker having been invited to speak at numerous events ranging from San Diego Comic-Con to the London Book Fair.

Russell is married with two children and now lives mostly in the UK.

• A digital archive of the Infinity comics fanzine Russell did as a teenager is now available on the Fanscene website.