Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1975. Tsubota made his first films while studying at Tama Art University. His experimental short film Big Spectacle was awarded the Grand Prix at the 2000 Image Forum Festival. He made his feature film debut with Dawn Gray in 2002. His second feature film Miyoko (2009) premiered at the 2010 International Film Festival Rotterdam. In 2012, he went to the United States for one year under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists. His third feature The Shell Collector (JC 2016), starring Lily Franky, also screened internationally. What Can You Do About It? is his first feature-length documentary. In addition to directing, Tsubota also works as a production designer, produces commercials and music videos, and writes novels.