Twitter in Japan

Yes I confess, I am very much addicted to twitter now.
First it was, Mixi, a Japanese SMS, then came Facebook, you know what that is,
and now  Twitter, a new microblogging service that’s the hottest net trend in the
whole world, EXCEPT for Japan so as to think.

Here in Japan, blogs are a huge part of netizens in Japan, but their way of
blogging is very different to the blogging elsewhere since they blog in very
short articles. So short, that when tweeter came in, nobody saw the need of it
since most of them were already microblogging in their own blog!


For example,  this photo on the side is Miki Fujimoto’s official blog.
One of the top celebrity bloggers in Ameba Blog, and is known to
write multiple article in her blog, but each one only consists of 1 or more pictures and a small comment.

But like me, there are also many Japanese who have fallen in love with twitter as well, although the majority are IT related people.

Some of the famous Japanese twitters:


@Kohmi(Kohmi Hirose) tweets in Japanese

You could say that this lady started the Twitter boom in Japan by accidentally pronouncing “Twitter” as “Twihhihiii” (in Japanese the letter “t” looks like the “ヒ” in Katakana with the sound “hii”.
Apparently all of her devoted fans and people who read her tweet loved it and started using the service.

She’s a very famous Anime singer and didn’t miss this chance to make her own “Twitter Song”

You can listen to the “Twihhihii song” here


@kazuyo_k (Kazuyo Katsuma) tweets in Japanese

She’s the actual business guru that has revolutionized the way in which businessmen manage their time. She has many best sellers and I could say she’s also a trend setter in all-things business.

Since she joined twitter, many 25 – 35 year olds have followed.





@dannychoo (Danny Choo) tweets in English

Danny Choo is not Japanese but is one of the most famous guys in the Otaku-net world. It all started with his stormtrooper dance,
also becoming a successful entrepreneur in Japan.

How Twitter started in Japan

It all started on May 14th, 2007, where an event for hardcore net users called Blog TV  “Twitter Night” was organized. They did an online interview to Evan Williams (founder of Twitter) and that helped to ignite the boom on hardcore users.  You could say it caught fire in April 2009, where interestingly is the time when TechCrunch had announced that Google was going to buy Twitter.(take a look at the Google Trends graph).

Unique visitors to Twitter From Japan
On 2008, noticed the increment of unique users in Japan and decided to team up with Digital Garage to provide a Japanese version of it (  remember this being top news on CNET Japan and also pointing out that the Japanese twitter was the only one with a big ad on the right column. Good thing that monstrosity disappeared. LOL

As you can see, some of the data shows interesting things about what kind of Japanese use twitter. (Source: Google Ad Planner)

gender on Japanese twitters age on Japanese twitters

Now, check out this Google Trends graph.  It is showing the word “tweeter” as a google trend. It goes parallel to the amount of people signing up for twitter.


A: Google in Talks to Acquire Twitter

B: Ashton Kutcher Marks his 1,000,000th follower on twitter

C: State Dept. urged Twitter to reschedule maintenance

D: Tetsuya Komuro’s (famous japanese singer-producer) twitter account turns out to be fake

E: Theft of Twitter Documents From Google Apps Raises Cloud Security

F: Twitter hit by denial-of-service attack

Twitter vs. Timelog and Mixi


Twitter has strong competition in Japan since it already has a arch nemesis called Timelog
a service that was made in 3 days by a Japanese programmer called Tatsuya Hattori (ironically he also has twitter)  who saw twitter and thought it would be a great service to provide in Japan.

Turns out that Timelog is a lot more felxible than twitter and is specifically for the Japanese market so that gives it an edge.


Mixi on the other hand is a SNS similar to facebook but with a lot more security involved register.
You have to have a Japanese phone and an invitation from someone already using mixi to use this service. Once inside, you can make your own profile and join groups as in facebook, but the difference is that, you can make your own blog and mini blog inside it too. Mixi blogs also tend to be short so I think this is a competitor for twitter as well.

Inside Mixi looks something like this:


Top Ten Japanese Twitters

Location: Okazaki, Aichi, Japan

Followers 586,405
Location: 東京

Followers 91,540
Location: 日本の空

Followers 77,596
Location: 東京都千代田区

Followers 72,561
Location: 東京都

Followers 59,929
Location: tokyo

Followers 58,808
Location: ネットのなか

Followers 57,599
Location: 東京都渋谷区

Followers 56,338
Location: Tokyo

Followers 55,211


Location: tomigaya shibuya tokyo

Followers 44,775


These stats and all are just for now since the numbers are changing constantly.
I am thinking that twitter will grow a lot more in the coming months in Japan
since it’s still “hype” to have twitter right now (at least for the 25+ group).

Japan was also a slow starter on Twitter but as soon as more celebrities and politicians
start using it, it will spread like fire.

Politicians wanted to use twitter as a tool for their campaign in this coming election on August 30th but the Japanese constitution prohibits any political campaign on the media. That is why all of these %$#&%$ politicians are waking me up at 9am every morning with their speakers. Hopefully it will change on the next elections.

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