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)

Yes 31.0%
No 69.0%

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

Facebook 100.0%
Twitter 63.6%
mixi 61.4%
YouTube 58.6%
GREE 21.0%
Mobage Town 17.4%
Ustream 14.8%
MySpace 12.6%

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

From a computer 96.0%
From a smartphone 22.6%
From a standard feature phone 9.0%
From an iPad, other tablet 7.4%
Other 1.2%

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

Check what my friends have been up to recently 50.0%
Search for old friends 39.4%
Let people know what I’ve been up to recently 32.4%
Search for foreign friends 30.0%
Converse with friends on Facebook (via newsfeeds, chat, mail, etc) 23.6%
Look for people with similar hobbies 22.8%
Upload photos 22.0%
Look at famous people’s, corporate fan pages 16.6%
Do networking for job seeking, business reasons 10.8%
Other 13.6%

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

Lots of users from all over the world 63.6%
Easy to find friends because real names are used 37.2%
Information is reliable because real names are used 34.8%
Can share information easily 32.0%
Can communicate in real time 30.4%
Can connect with Twitter and other services 29.0%
Can communicate through pictures and video 24.6%
Can communicate with just one click of a button 21.6%
Can study foreign languages 9.8%
Highly functional and easy to use 8.8%
Has corporate, brand fan pages 8.6%
Other 5.0%

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

Friend recommended it 41.4%
Became a topic of conversation 22.4%
Because it’s in vogue overseas 12.6%
Was interested in an SNS that used real names 8.0%
Throught it would be useful for job-seeking, business 4.6%
Other 11.0%

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

2006 or earlier 3.0%
2007 4.2%
2008 10.0%
2009 17.2%
2010 50.6%
2011 15.0%

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

At least once a day 33.4%
Two or three times a week 21.8%
Once a week 17.6%
Two or three times a month 13.8%
Once a month 8.2%
Once every two or three months 4.2%
Less than that 1.0%

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 flesh 47.4%
More people I have met in the flesh 14.4%
About the same either way 9.8%
More people I haven’t met in the flesh 10.8%
Mostly people I haven’t met in the flesh 17.6%

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

Gender 87.6%
Real name 78.6%
Age 69.4%
Place of birth, school, other past information 53.8%
Hobbies, interests 50.2%
Current place of residence 48.2%
Photograph of face 38.6%
Comment, self-introduction 32.0%
Place of work 17.0%
Telephone number, address, other contact information 2.8%
Other 1.6%

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

Not at all worried 10.8%
Not really worried 37.6%
A little worried 39.2%
Worried 12.4%

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

Setting up who can access what personal information 63.8%
Not casually accepting friend requests from people I don’t know 58.0%
To make utterances, behave similar to how I would in a real life situation 55.6%
Respect other people’s privacy when uploading photos, talking, etc 31.6%
Other 2.6%

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

  Agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Disagree
Just as in real life, it is my own responsibility to manage personal information on Facebook 49.0% 42.8% 6.8% 1.4%
I get the feeling of connecting with the world 27.6% 42.4% 24.2% 5.8%
Because real names are used, it’s close to the real world 23.6% 45.4% 24.8% 6.2%
Doesn’t suit the Japanese culture of anonymity 18.2% 45.0% 30.0% 6.6%

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

Very much so 17.6%
To some extent 48.2%
Not much more than it is now 11.8%
Don’t know 22.4%


Steven · February 1, 2011 at 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.

Karen · February 10, 2011 at 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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