Thomas Crampton

Social Media in China and across Asia

Twitter’s Ascension in Japan

Jul 1, 2010

One of Asia’s great rapid growth stories in Social Media over recent months has been the Twitter’s ascension in Japan. This graphic, from a presentation delivered last week by Nielsen, shows Twitter passing even Mixi, one of Japan’s homegrown social networks.

The success of Twitter runs in stark contrast with other foreign Web 2.0 platforms. Less than 5 percent of Japan’s netizens are on Facebook (compared with more than 60 percent of US netizens); MySpace never broke through to more than 5 percent of the population while more than 35 percent of US netizens signed up, according to ComScore.

I have written about two cultural explanations previously:

Twitter actually means blog: One reason for the possible appeal of Twitter in Japan and Sina Weibo in China is how much can be expressed in 140 characters. Each character in Chinese and Japanese is equivalent to a word, making microblogs more like blogs.

Japanese like to blog anonymously: Or as Aki Akimoto put it to me, Blog Anonymously to Avoid Sushi. Interestingly, the translation of Twitter is “Mumble”.

Some other items on the Japan Twitter phenomenon from an Associated Press story:

- The proportion of Japanese Internet users who tweet (16.3 percent) now surpasses the ratio among Americans at (9.8 percent).

- Tweet examples: Retailer Tokyu Hands uses Twitter to answer queries; Uniqlo has used Twitter in marketing by setting up a virtual queue where people tweet with each other and get freebies; There is a hit TV show featuring characters that tweet; One Tokyo bar features a screen showing tweets along with World Cup games; Among the top Tweeters are pop idols, a former prime minister.

- Nearly 8 million tweets a day are written by Japanese, or about 12 percent of the global total, according to Twitter. Data from Tweet Sentiments, a web site that analyzes tweets, show Japanese are sometimes tweeting more frequently than Americans.

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View Comments for “Twitter’s Ascension in Japan”

  • Lots of thanks for post, I can remark I have done the identical stuff whilst I had the identical problem as the guy that is writing.

  • Kizumi

    several years ago Nakakawa Shouko, the blog queen of Japan, updated her blog 30 times once a day and got nearly 0.2 billion clicks in 2007. The appearance of Twitter enable a lot of people like Shouko update their blogs many times in a day. As a chinese, it's so bad that we couldn't use Twitter as we want to do. Though we got sina microblog,Twitter is still something unreplaceable cause it make us connect with the world. Goddamn GFW!

  • Michaelqtodd

    We love Twitter in Japan! Good article Thomas

  • Um, Michael, your hair is green.

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