The Social Media landscape in Japan


TikTok analyst Ichika is one of our talented social media consultants and now she gives a brief overview of the social media platforms in Japan. Social media plays a very important role in the lives of Japanese people and in this article you will find out more about the digital landscape and social media recruitment in 2022.

Anonymity is important

Before I start talking about social media and trends in 2022, it’s important to understand the reason why Japan is so high the internet penetration. Japanese people are very shy and not so good at expressing themselves. As Yukino wrote in her article last week, we’re not trained to vocalize our opinions. Anonymity online has opened up new doors in Japan. We can use social media platforms to share ideas, or opinions and interact with other people. It’s way easier for the Japanese people to use social media to express themselves rather than doing it in person! That’s why social media is very important for our lives here.

Facts about social media in Japan

The most popular social media networking app for Japanese people has been Twitter because of the anonymity it offers. With close to 60 million active users, there is no doubt that Elon Musk will work hard to keep the Japanese on his side as he completed a $44 billion takeover of the social media company. It’s a perfect app for a tech-savvy and mobile-friendly country like Japan with usability, easy to share news and it has a strong connection with the American continent.

I do though believe the younger generation is more active on Instagram and TikTok especially as influencer marketing has increased significantly. Instagram keeps growing and it’s very female-dominated. We love daily stories post and I think we have the highest engagement rate in the world also because some of the influencers and celebs are adored.

There is no surprise that YouTube is the most used social media platform in Japan, and it keeps rising in number of users and viewers, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Training videos, cooking programs, game shows, music videos, etc. You name it, we watch it all!

Please forget about Whatsapp. The Japanese love Line, the super popular messaging app which plays a key role in the life of a Japanese person. It gives you the latest news, social media features, banking and payment options, LIVE TV streaming, games and entertainment, and a platform for eCommerce. Facebook? It’s more like our Linkedin, it’s mainly used for networking in business-related matters.

My job at TikTok in Tokyo

I have worked as a Quality Analysis and Strategy Evaluation analyst for TikTok’s Live streaming videos. My main duty is to check and monitor live streaming videos by ensuring and evaluating the delivery of the content reviewed in the Japanese market. I provide a QA report to supervisors and structured feedback to external stakeholders every day. I also provide root cause data analysis and key action plans to help build scalable and effective labeling processes. I have managed to gain social media trends from being a QA at TikTok as I have been always exposed to learning about what’s trending on the top social media channel. Therefore, I hope to utilize data analysis skills and creativity in my next job as a social media manager.

Forecast of social media in 2023

I don’t own a crystal ball or a magic wand like Harry Potter. However, I believe we are already seeing a trend that will continue with great impact in the years to come. I would say video content will still be huge in 2023 such as TikTok and Reels (Instagram). I also think that paid advertising will be a must! Since TikTok has been taking over social media, I would say there will be more similar apps/platforms in the market, also because short videos will be valued even more than right now. I think there will be more live-streaming to sell stuff, promote something, or simply just interact with the audience.

I know iGaming companies like will push hard on social media and reach out to new potential users by promoting the latest casino bonuses, new promotions, promote partnerships with celebrities and influencers. A challenge but a cool challenge for creative people like myself.

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Sponsoring influencers in Japan

Influencers are usually found through YouTube or Twitter in Japan. Japan is such a unique market compared to the rest of the world since we are very much into wacky and pop content.
If I could sponsor 3 different celebrities on social media, I would have invested in a mix of young gamers, and well-known sports athletes and include female representation.
I would like to focus on streamers but most of the influential (well-known) streamers are more focused on other games rather than igaming. Therefore, I think I would choose sports players (could be former sports players) who are active on social media.
I wish I could afford Naomi Osaka! The Japanese people love sports like tennis as Kei Nishikori is a darling of the nation after successful years on the ATP tour. Naomi who is of Japanese and Haitian descent, was only 20 years old when winning the US Open final versus Serena Williams! An incredible successful athlete who is currently going through a bit of a rough patch but is one of the most marketable athletes in the world.
I wouldn’t mind working with top golfer Hideki Matsuyama because Japan is obsessed and so proud of his achievements on the golf course on the ATP tour.
Football player Daisuke Nasu, who retired after the 2019 season with Vissel Kobe, has his own YouTube channel with close to 400,000 subscribers. I see plenty of potential here.

Masakiyo Maezono and Karina Maruyama

I believe this duo below would be a good fit for ambitious companies.

Masakiyo Maezono is a former football player for our national team and has 125k followers on Instagram. He often appears on TV shows, famous for his personality. Maezono is one of the real J-League personalities and we have seen his face on commercials, food products, in newspapers, and TV game shows. Everywhere! Maybe he is over-exposed and known for self-destructive behavior and off-field antics but he has impressive media handling skills and he understands the social media world.

Karina Maruyama is a former football player and national team hero with 79 appearances. Very active on social media. She would be a nice fit for a brand ambassador as I think it’s nice to have a female influencer for the diversity. Her fame came in the World Cup in Germany in 2011 as she got the legendary match-winning goal against Germany in the quarter-finals. A special goal for the country, wonderful moments, and Japan’s tournament victory increased the attention for female sports in Japan.

The importance of social media recruitment

Various social media platforms play a big part in the hiring process and it’s important to post content that will engage candidates.
LinkedIn is a platform for professional connections and more Japanese people start to realize it is a must to be there if they hope to secure a job opportunity in Europe and launch their iGaming career.

Twitter is a sure bet. It’s super popular, and it’s very easy to post and engage with job seekers.
Since everyone seems to use Instagram these days, scrolling around on the app all day, then that makes it a great platform for job seekers to find job specs and new open roles advertised. YouTube will increase video content publication tools and as a TikTok’er we see that younger professionals tend to spend more time on TikTok nowadays.
Social media recruitment is a trend that will increase in 2022 as it makes you reach a larger pool of talent.

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