Note this was totally rewritten in November 2007

After two years running 世論 What Japan Thinks, and with recent coverage in the press, I decided it was time to update this “about me and the site” section. It’ll be in the form of a series of questions and answers.

Why 世論 What Japan Thinks?

I first got the idea for this site after spending at least two years on and off looking for data on Japanese religious beliefs. We have probably all heard the statistic that 80%, 90%, or even 99% of all Japanese are either or both Shinto and Buddhist, but anyone living in Japan soon realises that this figure is bogus; religion observance on the whole is ritual or superstition, and these figures are no more valid than counting everyone in the West who sends a Christmas card as a Christian. So, one day I finally discovered a survey on religious observance, so I translated it and posted it to a bulletin board. It got zero reaction, and I left it at that for a couple of months.

However, on that bulletin board, and in other locations, when debate turned to looking at the Japanese psyche there were so many broad assumptions and personal opinions passed off as gospel with gay abandon. “All Japanese are …”, or the worse “Japanese are…”, followed by gross simplifications or flat out lies. I’d been trying to start a blog for a bit before then, so I thought if I could find out and present the facts it would provide a frame of reference for people, and hopefully make some money too. So, 世論 What Japan Thinks was born, initially as a Blogger blog.

Now, two years down the line, and with over 900 posts, I can look back on what I’ve done and be rather pleased with myself. I’ve also made a few good online friends which, if time permits, I might even get round to meeting in person some day.

Can you conduct a survey for me?

Please note that I do not conduct these surveys I report on, so I cannot perform ones to order. They are performed by major and minor Japanese survey companies and posted as press releases and other public reference materials. I have no special secret data source or other insider information. Please contact these companies for information on how to conduct market research in Japan.

Actually, I do plan one day to sponsor a survey, but that’s another story.

Can I use your data?

The data itself is uncopyrightable according to my understanding of copyright law, so do as you please. My additional text falls under normal copyright law, so you may either quote a reasonable degree of my content or paraphrase as required. Acknowledgement and a URL link are of course most welcome in return.

The limits are: please do not republish the whole article without asking first; please do not republish behind a pay site barrier; and please do not repackage and resell. For example, copying all my iPhone surveys and pasting them into a $50 ebook is out of the question.

Can I ask a question?

Sure, fire away. Email is best, but I don’t guarantee any turn-around time time, but I’ll try my best to answer promptly.

Can I advertise here?

I have an advertising options page here. Custom requests are also welcome, of course.

Can you do some consulting work for me?

I’d love to, but I don’t really have the free time, sadly.

Can you add my site to your blogroll please?

No. To expand the answer, if you write stuff that I enjoy I may add you to my roll, or I may link to you from a story. From a search engine link profile point of view, I think blogroll links are overrated, especially when some sites have hundreds rolling down the page. A single contextual link in an article is, I believe, worth more as Google perhaps filters out the static sidebar links as just noise.

What other sites do you run?

My two main other sites are brainscannr and My Buddhist Name. I’ve also got a couple of other minor ones that don’t do much, and there’s also the weekly What Japan Thinks newsletter.

How much money do you make?

Not a lot, quite frankly! I have two main income streams, AdSense and a certain other scheme whose name I dare not mention, and multiple $10 per month or less schemes from FeedBurner Ad Network to AuctionAds. Counting just translation time I earn under 1,000 yen per hour. I’m still trying to work out how to do affiliate marketing.

Are you really an anti-social git?

“Yes” is probably the most accurate answer, with a tacked-on “…but I’m getting better”. I have very little free time, and what I do have I tend to spend with my wife, so I’m not available to go off to the pub at the drop of a hat. I am also rather horrendously shy, so I don’t acknowledge other gaijin-looking characters I see in the street. However, if you do see me, please come up and say “Hi!”; it would make my day! I used to be a biker and I would always nod or wave to my fellow riders as there is a lot of shared experiences and bonds between us, but I don’t feel that same link with foreigners in Japan.

Looking on the bright side, I’ve made a good number of friends through blogging and I do feel close to them, although (because?) we are separated by an electronic barrier.

Oh, and I don’t do SNS, Twitter, IM, Skype, etc. Sorry! However, WJT does have a FaceBook page that just serves as a placeholder, and I have a personal page too somewhere.


John Wilpers, Global Blog Coordinator, · January 6, 2009 at 14:40

Dear “What Japan Thinks” author,

My name is John Wilpers. I am the Global Blog Coordinator for GlobalPost, a new international news organization set to launch on Jan. 12 (see

My job is to build a list of blogs that will appear on GlobalPost where we will have approximately 65 correspondents in some 46 countries. We are looking for enlightening, informative posts from bloggers writing (in English) in those countries.

I am pleased to extend an invitation to you to have the most recent post of “What Japan Thinks” included on the Japan page of as part of our “Global Blogs” service. (I also wrote you an e-mail to double the chances of reaching you before we launch next week. Please pardon my enthusiasm for getting your posts onto!)

After reviewing thousands of blogs worldwide, we have found “What Japan Thinks” to be one that is thought provoking and gives readers your unique perspective on what life is really like in Japan.

The way it would work if you accept our invitation is that we would use your RSS feed to place your most recent post on your personal page on We would point back to your actual blog for comments and for archives, hopefully driving lots of traffic to your site. Each time you write a new post, it would replace the older one so only one post would appear on

By appearing on Global Post’s exciting new international news website, your words, viewpoints, and pictures would gain worldwide exposure. Your posts would not only appear instantly on but also possibly on the sites of our partners, including the Huffington Post (7.8 million U.S. and 9.7 million global monthly unique visitors) and other news and information websites.

You don’t need to do anything differently. We do request that you consider pointing back to us from your blog (we will send out logos shortly for your consideration).

You should know that we have a few guidelines that we observe here at Global Post:

1) We do not publish racist, sexist, or misogynist comments (unless those comments are the subject of the post).
2) We do not publish obscene language or photos. While we recognize that obscenity can be difficult to define, we know it when we see it and we will let you know if we think you have crossed our line.
3) We do not permit plagiarism. Any work taken from another source must be attributed to that source.
4) We do not publish libelous or slanderous language.
5) We do not tolerate repeated errors of fact or misrepresentations of facts or quotes.
6) We do not publish work inciting violence.

Failure to observe these guidelines would result in the removal of your blog from GlobalPost. We would contact you, of course, to discuss the post in question.

Because we have a broad multicultural audience holding every conceivable political and religious viewpoint, we want to respect their views while also possibly challenging them. We will host controversial work. We will encourage robust debate of the hottest topics. We will not stifle discussion, only abuse of people, belief systems, and laws.

We hope these guidelines are acceptable to you.

I look forward getting your permission to put your RSS feed on our site. Please reply to: Thank you!


John Wilpers

PS If you choose to accept our invitation and would like a photo and a short biography to appear on GlobalPost, please send both to me with your confirmation e-mail or at some time shortly thereafter.

Global Blog Coordinator
The Pilot House
Lewis Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

McAlpine · July 14, 2009 at 07:56

Do you like black people?

Over one in six Japanese want a geiger counter | 世論 What Japan Thinks · November 16, 2011 at 08:19

[…] you haven’t yet done so, take a gander at his “about” page, which includes this […]

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