How Japanese Facebook users see Facebook


Facebook doesn't suit the Japanese culture of anonymity graph of japanese statisticsThis survey from Macromill Research takes a look at the latest internet service that is tipped by some to take off in Japan, Facebook, from the perspective of those using it, but these early adoptors seem to be quite different from the typical Japanese.


Over the 26th and 27th of January 2011 500 members of the Macromill monitor group who were also Facebook members completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 69.6% of the sample were male, 1.6% in their teens, 20.8% in their twenties, 35.2% in their thirties, 30.2% in their forties, and 12.2% aged sixty or older.

Note Q1, 31% having lived overseas. This is very high, and although the survey didn’t define how long to count, the Japanese used indicated that more than a foreign holiday or a business trip would count, and even a short-term homestay might be out of scope. This is backed up by the 30% searching for foreign friends, indicating that it is a more internationalised crowd that sign up for the service.

Research results

Q1: Have you ever lived overseas? (Sample size=500)


Q2: Which of the following services do you use? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Mobage Town17.4%

Q3: How do you access Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

From a computer96.0%
From a smartphone22.6%
From a standard feature phone9.0%
From an iPad, other tablet7.4%

Q4: What sort of things do you do on Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Check what my friends have been up to recently50.0%
Search for old friends39.4%
Let people know what I’ve been up to recently32.4%
Search for foreign friends30.0%
Converse with friends on Facebook (via newsfeeds, chat, mail, etc)23.6%
Look for people with similar hobbies22.8%
Upload photos22.0%
Look at famous people’s, corporate fan pages16.6%
Do networking for job seeking, business reasons10.8%

Q5: What is good about Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Lots of users from all over the world63.6%
Easy to find friends because real names are used37.2%
Information is reliable because real names are used34.8%
Can share information easily32.0%
Can communicate in real time30.4%
Can connect with Twitter and other services29.0%
Can communicate through pictures and video24.6%
Can communicate with just one click of a button21.6%
Can study foreign languages9.8%
Highly functional and easy to use8.8%
Has corporate, brand fan pages8.6%

Q6: How did you come to join Facebook? (Sample size=500)

Friend recommended it41.4%
Became a topic of conversation22.4%
Because it’s in vogue overseas12.6%
Was interested in an SNS that used real names8.0%
Throught it would be useful for job-seeking, business4.6%

Q7: When did you join Facebook? (Sample size=500)

2006 or earlier3.0%

Q8: About how often do you log on to Facebook? (Sample size=500)

At least once a day33.4%
Two or three times a week21.8%
Once a week17.6%
Two or three times a month13.8%
Once a month8.2%
Once every two or three months4.2%
Less than that1.0%

On average, people spend 19 minutes per day on Facebook.

Q9: What sorts of friends do you have on Facebook? (Sample size=500)

Mostly people I have met in the flesh47.4%
More people I have met in the flesh14.4%
About the same either way9.8%
More people I haven’t met in the flesh10.8%
Mostly people I haven’t met in the flesh17.6%

Q10: What information have you made public on Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Real name78.6%
Place of birth, school, other past information53.8%
Hobbies, interests50.2%
Current place of residence48.2%
Photograph of face38.6%
Comment, self-introduction32.0%
Place of work17.0%
Telephone number, address, other contact information2.8%

Q11: Do you worry about disclosing personal information on Facebook? (Sample size=500)

Not at all worried10.8%
Not really worried37.6%
A little worried39.2%

Q12: What sorts of things are you careful about regarding Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

Setting up who can access what personal information63.8%
Not casually accepting friend requests from people I don’t know58.0%
To make utterances, behave similar to how I would in a real life situation55.6%
Respect other people’s privacy when uploading photos, talking, etc31.6%

Q13: What do you think regarding the following statement related to Facebook? (Sample size=500, multiple answer)

 AgreeSomewhat agreeSomewhat disagreeDisagree
Just as in real life, it is my own responsibility to manage personal information on Facebook49.0%42.8%6.8%1.4%
I get the feeling of connecting with the world27.6%42.4%24.2%5.8%
Because real names are used, it’s close to the real world23.6%45.4%24.8%6.2%
Doesn’t suit the Japanese culture of anonymity18.2%45.0%30.0%6.6%

Q14: Do you think Facebook will become popular in Japan? (Sample size=500)

Very much so17.6%
To some extent48.2%
Not much more than it is now11.8%
Don’t know22.4%
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  1. Steven said,
    February 1, 2011 @ 12:00

    The fact that people can post pictures of you and make your name hover over your part of the picture with a link to your profile is a little bit discomforting to me. I think that is a weakness of facebook– especially in Japan.

  2. Karen said,
    February 10, 2011 @ 23:01

    @Steve – If you know how to use the privacy settings, you can make it so that you cannot be tagged in photos. You also have 100% control as to what strangers can see on your profile. Unfortunately, most people who use Facebook never bother to use the settings afforded to them to keep themselves safe. That’s not Facebook’s fault. It’s the laziness of the user.

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