Born in 1979 in Fukuoka, Japan. From 1999, he went backpacking throughout Asia, traveling from Shanghai to Istanbul. After coming back to Japan, He entered the Japan Academy of Moving Images to study documentary. In 2002, he directed Hataraku hito biro he (For Those Who Work), his first documentary film on the labor movement of the Miike coalmines. In 2004, he directed Haikei Ningen sama (Dear Respectful Humans), a documentary film on a homeless man in Shinjuku, Tokyo, as his graduation project and started his career as assistant director at a TV production company.
Matsubayashi subsequently provided news coverage for Japanese television, including elections in Afghanistan (2005) and the Free Ache Movement in Indonesia (2006).
In November 2006, he started a documentary project on the former Japanese soldiers in the Thai-Burmese border area. In 2009 it was completed as the documentary Hana to Heitai (Flowers and Troops) which was released theatrically in Tokyo and across Japan. The film was acclaimed and received the Yamaji Fumiko Film Prize and the Tahara Soichiro Non-fiction Prize. In 2011, he had been filming water issues on Hachijo Island, a southern island of Tokyo, until the East Japan Earthquake spurred him to go to Fukushima.