Why Facebook will never catch on in Japan.

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Facebook has a project to translate Facebook into a bunch of different languages.  It’s a volunteer effort, because what’s the point in paying people to translate the social network into a language that nobody is going to use?


The problem with Facebook in Japan is that Japanese people are not geared to share the way other people are.  If you’ve ever used Mixi, you’ll see how private Japanese people.  Most user pictures are of celebrities or their cats.  They tend to hide most of their personal information, and post irregularly.


The beauty of Facebook is how open most people seem to be on it.  You can get someone’s IM name, email address, home address, phone number, website, see what people they used to sleep with, and a myriad of other “good to know” information.  You don’t see this stuff on Mixi or GREE.  You also have to get invited to use Mixi.  You can’t just show up and create an account.  Granted, it isn’t hard to find someone with an invite to give, but most Japanese social networks are privacy freaks and won’t allow you in unless somebody will vouch for you.  Maiko Haaaan!!!, a film last year, about a guy who wants to see maiko in tea houses, can’t get in because he doesn’t know somebody who already goes there.  It’s the same principal.  Japanese people always wants you to be introduced by somebody.  Nintendo’s frustrating friend codes and the system of arranged marriages further illustrate my point.  Japanese people are not keen on taking things they feel are private and sharing them with their social network friends, let alone make them available to the public.


But what do I know?  They sell dog porn at the video store here.  And those girls blog and link to their movies.


Written by Brandon

April 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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