Social Networking in Japan
Whilst there are many popular social networking sites in Japan, including Mixi, GREE, Ameba, Livedoor and more, one site from overseas that is starting to create some interest in Japan is Twitter.
Twitter has been highlighted on the main TV News programs in Japan recently with coverage of the Iran elections, highlighting how news can travel quicker and easier through Twitter than more traditional news media.
A story like the Iran election is useful to momentarily highlight what Twitter has to offer, but when Japanese TV characters start signing up for their own Twitter account you know a social movement is just beginning.
Gachapin, the popular Japanese kids character (the one that most resembles a Barney) from Fuji TV, starting using Twitter at 1:32pm on July 1st 2009 announcing to its followers such gems as “Today’s dinner was hamburger”
The Twitter account for Gachapin can be found at http://twitter.com/GachapinBlog
What is interesting to note is that Gachapin has already amassed over 8,800 followers in just 1 week. Normally it might take an individual a year or more to reach these numbers. Whilst there are many American popstars and celebrities who have over 1 million followers, Gachapin is certainly off to a hot start.
When you consider that Gachapin is primarily limited to a mainly Japanese language audience and his fan base is basically young kids, that 8,800 number starts to look quite impressive.
I am sure that by the end of the year those follower numbers will be climbing significantly. Here is the link to Gachpin’s Japanese Blog.
For those that don’t know Gachapin, wikipedia has a great explanation about his origins. Here is a small excerpt:
The first season of “Hirake! Ponkiki” had the setting in which the Captain traveled to a southern island and brought back an egg from which Gachapin hatched. Gachapin had quite a shy and easy going personality at first. Then he became quite an adventurous character and went on to attempt such sports as skiing, rock climbing, hang-gliding, scuba diving, karate (1st dan in kyokushinkai), gymnastics, bowling, figure skating and even an adventure in a space craft.
Each story was triggered by his interest in environmental problems and enthusiasm for space crafts. On each wrist, Gachapin has seven energy balls that are the source of his bravery and power. It was said that the reason for Gachapin’s phenomenal reflexes was due to the carbohydrates inside these balls.
Another character from the same Fuji TV Kids Club that has started a Twitter account is the Lollipops. The Lollipops are 3 pink bears who made their debut to their favorite song (Crazy For You) from the popular 70’s singing group, Candies. Here is some information on Candies from wikipedia.
Here is the announcement from Fuji TV that both of these characters had started Twitter accounts.
Other famous Japanese Twitter users
What other Japanese celebrities do you know that are using Twitter?