Facebook Japan Replaces Its Head Following To Mixi

3 days ago we reported that Mixi is to have a young new president. Now Facebook Japan announced that a new president, according to Markezine [J]. Same as Mixi, this is the first time of presidency change.

Atsuhi Iwashita, who is going to take the president seat on May 20, have served as CEO for Interbarnd’s Japan arm since 2010. Before that, he worked for McDonald Japan as a Chief Marketing Officer.

Facebook once passed Mixi by number of active users, but recently the number dropped down from its peak, at least on the number Facebook itself shows on its advertisement tool. Mixi shows gradual decrease but not such big so at this point which social network is bigger in Japan depends on which research you rely on.

Facebook Japan Lost 13% Users Last Week

Facebook’s own advertising tool (and Socialbakers who records its chronological changes) showed that the number of active users in Japan dropped to 13.8 million on Feb. 19, 2 million down from 15.85 million on the former week. It was 12.9% down as low as the end of August 2012. From the peak, 17.1 million on December 27th, 3.3 million users, 19.3% of all, turned inactive.



Well, I know that the ads tool number is not perfect, often showed unrealistic up-and-down. And there were not any Facebook-related bad news last week so I guess that most of them did not leave Facebook last week but they gradually stopped using it for weeks. Anyway, that stats is the one always used when discussing on Facebook’s rise, or fall.

US Facebook has been reported its slight decline after taking up over 50% of population, however, in Japan’s case, the penetration rate is still around 10%, and less than 20 million level, where other major social medias like Mixi, Gree and Mobage (and maybe Twitter Japan) got stuck after showing great growth.

Facebook in Japanese apparently is falling out of media’s favor, which has been grabbed by fast-growing Naver Line.

One Social Network, Two Different Stories: Qualitative Analysis of Facebook Users in Japan and the US

Since we are getting ready to conduct a large scale cross-cultural survey about social media, as a first step, we qualitatively analyzed how Americans and the Japanese use Facebook. Although qualitative studies are sometimes overlooked because of the small sample size, they tend to provide a deeper understanding of the phenomenon that is studied. To understand the underlying reasons behind why people from different cultures use Facebook differently, we sent an open ended survey to 25 Japanese and 28 American college students. The results were quite interesting and here are the most surprising differences:

#1 HUMOR! When we asked “what kind of messages and photos do you usually like?” The majority of the open ended answers in the American sample included “funny ones” and “humorous messages”. There was almost zero reference to humor in the Japanese sample.

#2 PROFILE PICTURE! When we asked what the respondents thought about Facebook accounts with no profile pictures, most of The American subjects stated that it was “creepy” and “strange.” On the contrary, most of the Japanese respondents thought this was normal and they would think the account owner has privacy concerns.

#3 PARENTS! Facebook hasn’t been used by the older generation in Japan bu we asked how respondents would feel about friending their parents on Facebook. Almost all of the American subjects mentioned that they were already friends with their parents on Facebook. Strangely, most of the Japanese respondents indicated that they would definitely not want to be friends with their parents on Facebook since it would be very embarrassing. Japanese subjects also did not mention family members when explaining what kind of pictures they upload or what kind of messages they post while most of the American subjects did.

#4 PROFESSORS! Two thirds of American students thought it was a bad idea to friend professors. On the other hand, two thirds of the Japanese students thought it was good.

#5 RESPONDING! Perhaps the most important difference was the attitude toward responding to every single message on one’s Facebook wall. The question was “Do you usually respond to every single comment on your status or photos? (e.g. you post a photo and someone comments “you look nice in the picture” and you comment “thank you”) Why or why not? Most of the Americans said they don’t do this because “..they don’t comment just for the sake of commenting.” On the contrary almost all of the Japanese participants thought it is impolite to not to respond to every comment. It also looks like ignoring the person who left a comment.

#6 SMART PHONE! Similarly, both American and Japanese subjects thought PC was more convenient than a smart phone when it comes to using Facebook. While nobody in the American sample showed a preference for smartphones, about a quarter of the Japanese participants thought smartphones were more convenient than computers to log on to Facebook.

#7 UNTAG! Almost all of the American respondents reported untagging a picture of themselves whereas the majority of the Japanese respondents never untagged themselves. While some respondents in the US sample mentioned employment related concerns we suspect that Japanese users don’t untag themselves because they’re not tagged by others that often.

This was my students’ term project. You can see their presentation here http://www.slideshare.net/adamacar/facebook-use-in-japan-and-the-us

Facebook Opens The World’s First Official Navigation Site For Japan

When Japanese are asked why Facebook, the world-level phenomenon, has not taken off in Japan yet, many answer that its user interface is hard to understand, which is strange because the UI did not keep away people in many other countries.

There might be some cultural issues which make it difficult to attract Japanese. An answer from quite uncertain direction is a newly launched information site Facebook Navi(f-navigation.jp).

“The world’s first official Facebook Navigation site” is a site contains the following items,

  • What is Facebook?
  • Facebook usage manual
  • Editors’ choice of Japanese Facebook pages
  • Editors’ choice of Facebook Apps

As Facebook has been translated to Japanese in 2008, all of these items must be well covered on Facebook itself, with using its social graph recommendation.

According to the about us page [J], this site is “the only one navigation service authorized by Facebook around the world”. The site is managed by Nabi Un’ei Iinkai(Navi management committee), which is noted that “there are no capital or administration ties with Facebook, Inc.”.

The lead managing company displayed is All About, Inc., which runs All About Japan [J], Japanese version of All About.

Having another official (but not related) site may show that Facebook admits that its own site is not self explanatory for Japanese. But not only Facebook can be blamed for its lack of localization, as Twitter, very successful in Japan, also has been having TwiNavi, Twitter Japanese navigation site [J] run by a subsidiary of Digital Garage, Twitter’s Japanese partner.

Different from Twitter, TwiNavi seems not so successful for me and I am unsure if it really helped Twitter’s popularity. But some net-illiterate people might became to know how to use Twitter via there, it is better than nothing. Facebook Navi could be another “learning from antecessor” idea from what Facebook saw Twitter’s Japanese success.

Facebook Japan Holds An New Coupon Service Launch Event In Shibuya

Facebook Japan is running somethinga launch event of its new coupon service now 3 p.m. on 7th in Shibuya, in front of young people’s landmark Shibuya 109 apparel mall.


This morning, Nikkei reported [J] that Facebook is going to begin local coupon service in Japan.

Nikkei was correct. The new service is “Facebook Check-in Coupon”, the Asia’s first localization of its Facebook Deals.

Just after the 30 minutes event, Their official introduction on Facebook [J] has been posted on at 15:30.

The event features Shelly, an American-Japanese model, and Yuji, an another American-Japanese model.

Shelly and Yuji were reported to explain [J] to audience that Facebook is a service which you can easily share photos and movies, you can tell friends that you joined an event. Funny thing is that the audience had been requested not to take any photos or movies during the event!

[FYI] Shibuya 109 on Google Street View,

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This small space is often used by many companies/brands, because so many people walk around the crossing.