Most popular social media in Japan in 2021

Published by Krows Team on

most popular social media in japan
most popular social media in japan

Which one should you be using for your business?

So, you finally decided to move on and to conquer the Japanese market for your business?

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That’s great!

Japanese consumers tend to have a high purchasing power and will pay the price if your product/service is good enough.

Also to be known, if your product is successful in Japan, you will have a higher chance to be popular on other markets from East Asia as the country is seen as a trust trial for others.

Good right?

Problem is, competition is fierce and you will need to be as close as possible to your final client.
Being everywhere can be a waste of time and efforts, you need to focus most of your efforts in the social networks where your customers like to be.

If you’re targeting a senior audience, chances are that they will not be on TikTok…

If you just want to know what are the popular social networks in Japan, here they are!

japanese social network
As of Nov 2020 Source: InstaLab

So should everyone be on Line? Probably not.
Each business needs to be on the platform where their target is but not only…

Social media in Japan: Line

line social media in japan

Line, the most used VOIP app in Japan.
Almost half of the population use it.

line social media japan
Source: InstaLab

“Ok Krows Digital, obviously we should be promoting our business on Line right? We can target everyone, that’s amazing!”

Well, as we said earlier, Line is a messaging app more than a social network, it means that you can publish posts, like and comments but most people will only talk with their friends.

Who should use Line?

You should use Line if:

  • your target audience is:
    • broad
    • 50+ years old
  • your customers can contact you directly through Line (you can create a Business account) for:
    • support
    • questions
    • additional services
  • you need more Brand Awareness than proper conversions.

What we mean with this last point is that Line would be a good platform to keep your brand in front of a large audience but it will not be the best platform to use advertisement as conversions (a visitor doing something valuable like purchasing your product on your website or contacting you) will be limited and hard to track.

If your brand is one that uses visuals heavily, you can use them on Line but people are not on the platform for the WOW effect.

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Social media in Japan: YouTube


youtube in japan

Who doesn’t know YouTube? For a long time it seems that Japanese people didn’t!
The Japanese audience has a strong interest for the platform, especially for learning content, but only for the last few years.

most popular social media in japan

Source: InstaLab

As you can see the main audience for YouTube is around 20-30 years old.
A great platform to aim at a young active audience.

Who should use YouTube?

There are 2 different ways to use YouTube for your business:

Create a YouTube channel.

youtube channel

You can create a channel where you will be able to upload videos explaining your concept or showing your values.
Many things are possible and it is up to you to provide the best content that will get enough engagement (likes, comments, shares) to allow your brand to be visible by the largest audience.
The main problem for a brand who wants to grow a channel is that you will need:
– to come up with highly relevant videos for your audience (answering questions, funny, discovery…)
– keep engaging with your audience
– upload videos on a regular basis
This last point is certainly the one that will keep many brands away from creating a YouTube channel!
To grow organically on the platform, it is not enough to just post one outstanding video and do nothing for weeks/months…
You will need to have a planning for releasing videos and try to respect it the best you can.
Nevertheless, if you succeed in growing a YouTube channel, you will certainly have the best existing tool online to get people in front of your business!
So think about it!
Best suited for:

  • answering questions your audience may have
  • entertaining potential customers
  • explaining concepts surrounding your business/market
  • brands that focus on photography, gaming, learning or any visually oriented content

Promote on YouTube with advertising

We will not go here in details about the different type of ads but pretty much, the real interest here is:

  • to use visually appealing (banners or videos) ads
  • to target the audience that is the most interesting for your brand
  • to get visitors (to your website or others) without requiring a large YouTube channel
  • to have control over your cost per conversion!

Using ads can be more expensive than developing a YouTube channel but it gives you more control and a faster return on investment compared to a YouTube channel that can take months or years to grow!
For many brands, YouTube is one of the best platform to use but you need to figure out if it is better to grow a channel or to promote through ads.

Social media in Japan: Twitter

popular social media in japan

Ahh Twitter in Japan. Quite an interesting platform!
As you have seen before, Twitter is the 3rd social network in Japan at the moment.

most used social media in japan

Source: InstaLab

One big reason for this: anonymity

As you might know, Japanese society works as a collective group and not on individuals.
Sharing your opinion about politics or other is not a common thing.
Twitter allows Japanese people to share their opinion anonymously.

What is the use for Twitter in Japan?

  • Share opinion
  • Read the news and react to it
  • Mix with people of the same opinion
  • Search for job (seems logical if you think that job seekers don’t want to show they are looking for a new job…)

Who should use Twitter?

It can be a tough job to make good use of Twitter, growing a community around your brand requires as much dedication (even more!) than building a YouTube channel!
Popular Twitter accounts share info at least 2 or 3 times… a day.
The alternative (or addition) would be to use Twitter Advertising.
Promote on special hashtags or focus on specific categories.
The user profile is mostly around 20 to 30 years old.

The platform is good for:

  • political
  • career
  • info related to trends
  • illustrators and overall visual businesses (an interesting point is the number of Japanese illustrators sharing their work on Twitter and not on Instagram!)

You have an opinion to share or want to target a specific audience with an idea? Twitter is for you.

Conquer the Japanese Market!

Get a series of FREE emails that will tell you everything you need to know to succeed in the Japanese market.
No engagement and no spam, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Social media in Japan: Instagram

The most visual social network is well represented in Japan too!

top social media in japan

4th in rank in Japan, this social media is one of the best to use if you are targeting a younger audience or need to present your brand creativeness.

japan most used social media

Source: InstaLab

An interesting point to notice here also is the high number of women in Instagram compared to other platforms.

What is the use for Instagram in Japan?

  • Messaging app
  • Share lifestyle
  • Discover creative/entertaining content
  • Livestream

Who should use Instagram?

Anyone targeting a young audience or possessing beautiful/original/inspiring content should be on the platform.
It can be hard to grow on the platform but with some known techniques it can be done more easily than other platforms.
Also, you can use Facebook Business Manager to get your ads or Instagram account in front of the right audience using the right interests, age range, etc.


Social media in Japan: Facebook

social media used in japan

Once a giant, Facebook is still increasing but at a slower pace than others. Yet, it is still the 5th more used social network in Japan.

Facebook Stats

Source: InstaLab

As you can see on this graphic sourced from InstaLab, the younger audience is running away from Facebook and going straight to Instagram and TikTok…
Some reasons for this are:

  • lack of privacy
  • parents are also on the platform…
  • can’t create your own character (on Facebook you present yourself as… yourself, on Instagram you choose a nickname and share your vision)

Nonetheless, people over 30’s are still well represented on the platform.

What is the use for Facebook in Japan?

  • share pictures of your 2 dogs. Kidding… a bit.
  • Keep contact with your siblings and surrounding
  • Read comment and react on news
  • Join groups of similar interests
  • Find old friends etc.

Who should use Facebook?

Pretty much any company looking for brand awareness!
The platform is main stream enough to have people interested in your business, whatever it is.
Yet, it is still better for brands looking to target senior audiences.
Important notice: like many other social networks in 2021, it is almost impossible to grow on Facebook without promoting with ads your content.

Using 20 hashtags per post is useless, stop doing it, it looks unprofessional…

You want to grow on Facebook, you need advertising.

Social media in Japan: TikTok

TikTok in JapanHere comes a new challenger!
Formerly Musical.Ly bought by their Chinese competitor… TikTok.
TikTok is quickly becoming the 1st platform for the younger audience!
“The online video application TikTok had a penetration rate of almost 48 percent among people aged 13 to 19 years old in Japan as of January 2020.” – Source:
9.5 million users as of January 2019 (TikTok doesn’t disclose their recent stats…)
The format of TikTok’s videos suit well the younger audience:
  • short
  • fun
  • viral

If one understands the tone of the platform, this one can become famous quite quickly.
Some Japanese users are already famous TikTok users like:

  • @hina_yshr. Hina Yoshihara. Japan. 1.9M. followers.
hina yoshihara

@hina_yshr. Hina Yoshihara

  • @shuzo__3120. SHUZO. Japan. 2.7M. followers

@shuzo__3120. SHUZO

Tone of voice

We believe it is important for you, if you want to use TikTok for your business, to understand the style and tone of voice that is used on TikTok.
Here are some examples of successful brands on TikTok.

Who should use TikTok?

Are you targeting a young audience for your business?


You need to be on TikTok!

Yet, like other platforms, there are 2 ways to be present on the platform:

Create your TikTok account

Develop an account with fun and/or interesting content that your audience would like to share with their friends.

Do that every day, if not more!

Same as YouTube but with a faster pace, your brand will need to come up with relevant content almost every day.


Your content doesn’t need to be as long as a YouTube video (TikTok prefers videos under 60 seconds) or as well made but need to be constant.
If you can, go for it if not…

Engage TikTok influencers

Actually even if you create your own account, you should use influencers to get this original boost of visibility for your brand.
There is nothing better than having an influencer your audience trusts to promote your brand.
So start looking for these influencers and get them on your team!

Pinterest and LinkedIn


Pinterest social media

Nothing much to say about it. The platform really struggles in Japan and will certainly not increase in popularity soon.

Avoid it.


LinkedIn social media

Well, LinkedIn struggles as much as Pinterest to grow in Japan but there is an interesting fact about this platform.

LinkedIn is the best platform for recruiting agencies to hire highly skilled bilingual candidates.

Most of the Japanese bilingual employees (mostly in IT, Finance, Marketing, Sales) are aware that international companies are screening profiles on LinkedIn, and they are right!
This is truly niche specific but if you are looking for this kind of people, be on LinkedIn, even though the platform is not growing well.


Now, you should have a better understanding of the coverage of social media in Japan.
If you want to go further, we invite you to join our free series of marketing emails explaining what to do on each platform.
Again it is free and you can unsubscribe at the bottom of any email if you get tired of us!


Conquer the Japanese Market!

Get a series of FREE emails that will tell you everything you need to know to succeed in the Japanese market.
No engagement and no spam, you can unsubscribe at any time.


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