Monthly Archives: February 2009

Blogging in Japan 2

This was supposed to be the part two of the Social Media in Japan Article, but I have to say blogging is still not as social as other systems like Mixi and Facebook. So this is the part Two article about Blogging in Japan, here is the info:

Japan is the largest blogging community in the world. According to Technorati’s State of Live Web 2007 report, the Japanese language is the most used language in the blogosphere (37%), followed closely by English at 33%.


The Japanese ministry believes that in two years about three million people will be maintaining active weblogs, 6.8% of the Internet-user population the same proportion as in the U.S..

Another cool thing to observe, according to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report.

  • 24 of Asian blogs are paid to do product reviews.
  • They are more concerned about identity


Why is this important? Well first let talk about paid to do product reviews.

In Japanese people are very concerned about information, there are not very spontaneous buyers of technology. They read a lot about it, and are always searching for new data and specs. It is very easy to find big product brochures more focused in presenting details then design as said in this article. So probably companies are going to reach bloggers to make good reviews and advertise their products.

Now let’s talk about blogging about identity in Japan. Have you ever heard about Hikikomori? Wikipedia defines is as:

“Hikikomori (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり, Hikikomori?, lit. “pulling away, being confined”, i.e., “acute social withdrawal”) is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive individuals who have chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement due to various personal and social factors in their lives. The term hikikomori refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general as well as to individuals belonging to this societal group.

This is a major problem in Japan, I’ve hear that there is a lot of programs to develop social skills to prevent Hikikomori, but still I have to say Japanese people (not all of them) have a hard time to socialize in the outside world. The internet and videogames create a safe environment, they can express themselves and be whoever they want in this virtual worlds.

All this creates a fake ambient awareness and a lot of parasocial relationships (relationships with fictional characters, like those on TV or books). In some ways this can be a positive way to developed social skill, but the rules are different in the outside world and much harder to go through.

Oh and here is just another cool thing to say about blogging in Japan, actually Microblogging in Japan. According to the graph bellow

Most of the tweets are made through mobile phones of course.



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How to sell Music in Japan

The music market in Japan is fascinating.

I just read in Tokyomango (great blog by the way) that Ayumi Hamasaki is realizing her new album in a USB Drive.

I’ve read some bands doing this also, it is a great way to sell music, adding different content together with the music, like photos, videos and news.

But how do you sell music in Japan?

Well here are some pretty clever ways

1 – Mobile

Japanese people are addicted to mobile tools, so is obvious their most important music player. The Data is kind of old but below you can see the music download providers in Japan.

Japan Gold Disc Award Title Downloads, by Provider (2004)

2 – Anime

I like Japanese music, and the best way I know to find new band is trough Anime opening and closing themes. Almost in every season the producer change the titles as away to promote band, and singles.

Here is a small list of great bands in discovered with Naruto and Bleach:

Orange Range

Hearts Grow



Inoe Joe


3 – Video-Games

They is a great variety of music games in Japan. Drum, guitar, Taiko DJ ETC simulators and Dancing games are updated regularly with the latest hits, a great way to the bands interact with their fans.

This is an image of my favorite music video-game, I always play the Super Marios Bros. Theme.

4 – For last and not least: Karaoke

Karaoke culture in Japan is huge, I don’t know if its targeted more for older guys, but when I was in Japan I went twice a month to a karaoke house.

I great thing about Karaoke is that bands can let their fans learn the songs while having fun, If you sing it twice at Karaoke I will probably be singing it walking in the streets.

Karaoke is also a great example of marketing entertainment, sell products with fun and entertaining strategies.

Sorry for the crapy post… I really busy this week. But soon more news.


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Social Media in Japan

So is finally time to talk about social media in Japan. First I think is adequate to point some unique characteristics of Japans Social Media Market.

Japan has about 120 million residents and 2/3 of it are connected to the internet, this large penetration of the internet in society hasn’t invest much on it, only half of Japan’s 4000 companies spend more than $100k on the internet at all and there are more mobile internet users than wired in Japan.

Is also important to notice that Social Media scene in Japan is totally isolated. Mostly because of language and cultural barriers.

Wikipedia defines Social Media as Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The image below is a brief history of social media penetration in Japan.


As I said before Television is still the major media in Japan, but the world of the Internet is a challenge in this sense, because advertising on the Internet is still small, and advertising space there in most cases is cheap. Japan’s online advertising is taking steps to become a great media between 2004 and 2006 it grew from 3% to 6% of all advertising investments as shown by eMarketer.


And analyzing the 2007 Advertising expenditures in Japan Internet ads rose faster than any other media. The Internet media investment grew 24%. from 2006 to 2007, and for the first time, exceeded expenditures on magazine advertising. It is a big step but if was responsible for only 8,6% for the total expenditures, while TV was 28,5% and Newspapers 13,5%. Click here for the full article – Dentsu: 2007 Advertising Expenditures in Japan.

Through a survey from Goo Research is possible to see which are the most popular Social Network Systems. Thank you very much for What Japan Thinks for translating this research and many other surveys

Are you currently using a Social Networking Service?

Currently using 31.5%
Used to use 10.5%
Never used 43.1%
Don’t know what SNS is 14.8%

Which Social Networking Service are you currently using?

Votes Percentage
mixi 296 86.0%
GREE 36 10.5%
Yahoo! Days 26 7.6%
MySpace 19 5.5%
Rakuten Ichiba Links 9 2.6%
freeml 6 1.8%
livedoor Furupa 4 1.2%
CURURU 4 1.2%
So-net SNS 3 0.9%
Facebook 1 0.3%
CyWorld 0 0.0%
JOCOSO 0 0.0%
SayClub 0 0.0%
Other 57 17.1%

Social Networking has steadily increased in popularity in Japan they provide platforms for the Japanese to socialize interact and communicate online. It is said that the Social Networks offers a safe environment  for self-expression and social development.

Mixi is Japans top Social Network, it is completely build for Japanese people and culture, hardly Facebook, MySpace or Orkut will be able overcome Mixis popularity. In June 2008, Mixi accounted for 12.4 million, or 41%, of the 31 million unique visitors for all social networking sites in Japan. The biggest problem for the penetration of other Social Network ar the language barriers, most Japanese know that Facebook and MySpace have Japanese-language sites.

Another advantage Mixi has is it Mobile platform, most Japanese accesses the internet and engages in social networking via their cell phones.

Mixis revenue comes from advertising. Yahoo! Japan had a 45.1% share of total ad impressions with 13.3 billion impressions, followed by Japan’s Mixi with an 11.3% market share and 3.3 billion ad impressions.

For now this is enough I will try to next week write a part two: focused more on blogging and Micro-blogging and mobile advertising.

Also I found a great Mandala with the Social Media Scene in Japan. Click Here for the Full Size



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What can Naruto Teach us about Marketing?

Yes, it is true, I’m a sort of an Otaku for some mangas and animes, and sometimes I find some really surprising information in some mangas.

I’m going to use Chapter 329 of the Naruto Manga to show some notions of marketing, it’s a conversation between Pain and the other members of Akatsuki about his plans for “global domination”.

Remember that Manga you read from right to left. And sorry for the crappy english

Marketing research always search for reasons for behaviors in determined environments to find patters in religion, ideology, demographic, beliefs, social and cultural aspects.

Internal Marketing it’s when marketers analyzes, aligns, motivates and empowers employees so that the marketing objectives can be reached and enhance consumers experience. Also Internal Marketing works that the how team can understand the true Goals of the company

So it is go to let you employers now what are you doing, how, where and when

The goal of a company are drawn to reach one main objective, and divided in smaller objectives with different actions plan.

The actions have a market background, they have a reason to be the way they are. Understanding the market is also understanding the player of the business.

The market shows us develop good products and services, and the amount of money and man power needed for it to reach the consumers needs.

Monopoly is illegal but in economical point of view is the main objective for every Marketing Strategy to be the dominant player in a product segment.

And I believe that major companies, in some ways, have already conquered the world, just like Pain is trying to do. Example – How About Microsoft, present in 90% of the world computers, the Golden Arches of McDonalds or the black gold of Coca-Cola… they work just like Akatsuki don’t they?

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Advertise in Bento

I once read an article about new media, talking about how we should advertise using day-to-day products and items such as Coffee Cups. I’m a heavy Starbucks drinker and I always repeat to myself “Man this would make a great place to advertise” and also there are a lot of different products that can turn in to media, like Pizza Boxes, Take away Lunch Sacks, Plastic cutlery the list goes on and on.

In Japan there is a product that would make a great media, and is also seen as an art, that right Bento Boxes, there is a lot of ways to build transform the food in to images, here are some examples.

If you want to know more about bento and Bento Art take a look at Anna the Red Blog

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The Rose of McDonald’s in Japan

This is just a fast post, I’ve already said that Mc Donalds do a lot of innovation in Japanese markets, showing new concepts, good use of technology as show here, they made a great campaing fot the Quarter Pounder at it really paid off.

McDonald’s Holdings Co (Japan) said ts consolidated sales in the 2008 rose 2.9% over the previous year, even with the crises and recession this is prof that with a good marketing strategy it still possible to keep market growth .



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Kit Kat in Japan

I’ve been a long time addict of Kit Kat chocolate bars, and when I was in Japan I almost got sick trying to eat all the types of Kit Kats they have.

By a Month ago I was reading an article about Global Marketing and thought to myself: “Wow Nestle does a really good Global Marketing, specially with the Kit Kat Brand”. A global company is one that can create a single product and only have to tweak elements for different markets. For example, Coca-Cola uses two formulas (one with sugar, one with corn syrup) for all markets. The product packaging in every country incorporates the contour bottle design and the dynamic ribbon in some way, shape, or form. However, the bottle or can also includes the country’s native language and is the same size as other beverage bottles or cans in that country.

So I started looking for some material about Kit Kat and cultural tweaks of the product and finally I have it… well thanks for Tokyo5, he really did a great article about the chocolate.

Here is some insights that are really important.

  1. Kit Kat has exclusive flavor in Japan
  2. Japanese Kit-Kat chocolates are a popular souvenir with visitors to Japan from overseas
  3. Kit Kat is everywhere but Japanese people don’t really care about them, but foreigners love it.

Here are some Japanese Kit Kat Flavors

「雪見桜」 (Yukimizakura)

「大学いも味」 (“College Potato flavor”) for College Entrance Exams takers.

「林檎」 (Apple flavor)


「キャラメルマキアート」 (Cafe Latte with Caramel)


「大納言」 (Sweet bean)

ダブルベリー (Double Berry)

「伊藤久右衛門」 (Japanese green tea)

ほうじ茶 (Roasted Green Tea)

苺味 (Strawberry flavor)

Kit-Kat in a jar

きなこ (Soybean flour)

さくらんぼ味 (Cherry flavor)

みかん (Tangerine)

「白桃&黄桃」 (White peach & Yellow peach)

Mild Bitter

Muscat grapes

「おしるこ味」 (Oshiruko flavor)

プリン (Pudding)

すいか (Watermelon)

White chocolate

ゆず (Japanese citrus fruit)

And then there are the “exotic“-series Kit-Kat chocolates:

“Exotic Tokyo”

“Exotic Tokyo; White”

“Exotic Tokyo; Sakura”

“Exotic Hokkaido”

“Exotic Hokkaido; White”

“Exotic Kyushu”

“Exotic Kansai”

I’m also going to try to do an article about Fanta, I had a lot of chasing new Fanta flavors in Japan like Strawberrys with cream, not so good


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