Lie-ins at the weekend not too popular

It’s been quite a while since I’ve translated a survey looking at how Japanese spend their early mornings or similar topics, but this survey from goo Research, reported on by, into this matter revealed suprising results.


Over the 2nd and 3rd of April 2012 1,104 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.8% of the sample were male, 16.1% in their teens, 18.1% in their twenties, 21.5% in their thirties, 16.3% in their forties, 15.9% in their fifties, and 12.1% aged sixty or older.

The weekend waking times are surprising for me on two counts; first, although personally I wake at 5:30 on weekdays, at the weekend I catch up by sleeping in to 11 am to 12 am. Second, when I stayed in the company dormitory, although I was always close to last out on weekdays, leaving at 10 am on weekends I was one of the first people out. Thus, I believed what the average salaried worker would physically need to sleep in on weekends to catch up on weekday sleep depravation.

What Japan thinks of recent news topics

Do you agree with directly electing the prime minister? graph of japanese statisticsNRC, Nippon Research Centre, a member of Gallup International Association, recently published the results of a shallow but broad survey on recent news topics.


Between the 29th of February and the 12th of March 2012 1,200 people between the ages of 15 and 79 randomly selected from a geographically-sorted residents database were asked to complete a survey, the results of which were weighed by overall national demographics. 50.7% of the sample were female, 6.3% in their teens, 32.9% in their twenties or thirties, 33.8% in their forties or fifties, and 27.0% in their sixties or seventies.

To explain a few of the topics that you might be unfamiliar with, in Q6 currently, if a female member of the royal family or one of the two other aristocratic families marries a commoner, she becomes a commoner too. Given the lack of males in the current line of succession, the plan is that if one of the females marries, her husband will join the royal family. This is separate from the question of a female emperor – I think the current system allows it, but male heirs take priority.

Q8, direct elections for the prime minister, would need the constitution to be amended, and I thought a fundamental feature of any parliamentary system was that the prime minister is chosen by the elected members of the chamber. Are there countries where such elections are held?

Q9, One Osaka, is the most important grassroots political movement, nay revolution, in Japan today. The charismatic leader, Toru Hashimoto, an ex-lawyer and TV celeb, actually has a vision, and recent opinion polls in the Osaka area have indicated that his party (which still has no national policy documents, let alone candidates) could win around 80% of the seats. Ampontan is quite the fan, and has many articles on the man, each much more informative that all the professional English-language press put together.

2009 top news stories in Japan

It’s getting towards the end of the year, so let’s have a look back at the top news and items from 2009 in this survey from Marcomill Inc.


Over the 4th and 5th of December 2009 1,000 members of the Macromill monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sexes were split exactly 50:50, and 25.0% were in their twenties, 25.0% in their thirties, 25.0% in their forties, and 25.0% between 50 and 69 years old.

My top news would be the DPJ’s victory, the arrest of Ichihashi, and the press reaction to the Noriko Sakai drugs bust. Top topical items would be the iPhone 3GS (I’m surprised it didn’t make it), the 1,000 yen toll road traffic jams, and the Odaiba Gundam. What’s yours?

Majority of mobile news readers don’t read newspapers

Do you read a physical newspaper? graph of japanese statisticsHere’s a very interesting survey from Point On Research, reported on by, into reading news on mobile phones.


On the 10th of Novermber 2009 800 mobile phone users completed a mobile pone-based questionnaire. The sample was exactly 50:50 male and female, 25.0% in their teens, 25.0% in their twenties, 25.0% in their thirties, and 25.0% in their forties.

I’ll add a caveat that as well as the survey being for mobile phone users only, these mobile-only surveys tend to favour heavy users rather than just the average mobile phone user, so there is a degree of bias here.

I can get headlines for free from my mobile phone, but I never find it worth the bother – on the way back home from work I can just peer at other people’s evening papers, and anyway I usually get home in time to see 10 or 15 minutes of news, so I can quite happily live without the latest headlines on my mobile.

Yahoo! JAPAN’s 20 most clicked-through headlines of 2008

Yahoo! JAPAN recently annouced the results of a number of their “Best of 2008”, and one of the categories was the most clicked-through headline from Yahoo! News. The data was collected from all headlines displayed through Yahoo! NEWS between the 1st of November 2007 and 31st of October 2008.

You’ll notice that all of them are basically domestic stories, and most of the topics are either (or both) entertainment or death-related. You will note that nothing about politics, such as the minor matter of a change in prime ministers appears in the list, but in Japan’s defense I wonder if because these topics might have multiple reports, the clicks per story get diluted.

Click-through each link to find some English reporting on the story.

Checking internet news in Japan

A bit of a straightforward (read: rather dull) survey today, reported on by and conducted by Marsh into news sites.


Between the 26th and 30th of June 2008 300 members of the Marsh monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sample was exactly 50:50 male and female, 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, 20.0% in their fifties, and 20.0% aged sixty or older. Presumably teenagers were judged not sufficiently interested in news to bother asking…

In Q1 it might be surprising to western readers that there is not a separate category for television station-related news, as we have the BBC, CNN, and MSNBC, to name just a few high-profile television-related news sites. In Japan, two issues are that most of the television stations are owned by newspaper groups anyway, and their news tends to expire very quickly. In addition, portal sites are favoured by such a vast margin not just because everyone uses Yahoo! for everything, but also that few newspapers put more than a few paragraphs per story online anyway, so by reading the newswires through a portal one doesn’t really miss out on anything.

News site usage patterns in Japan

How often do you view internet news sites? graph of japanese statisticsNot too surprisingly, Yahoo! comes out on top as the most frequently used news site in Japan, but there are still many interesting results in this survey from MyVoice into news sites.


Over the first four days of April 2008 14,913 members of the MyVoice internet community successfully completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 1% in their teens, 15% in their twenties, 37% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 17% in their fifties.

I am glad to see that the top complaint is the lack of information in articles; most Japanese articles are just two or three paragraphs long and as a user of Google News one finds very similar reports in different papers. Google News also reveals another problem, namely that articles often expire really quickly; even after only a few hours a lot of the links on Google News lead to error pages.

For English news on Japan, I recommend the appropriately-named News on Japan as a useful aggregator of news, although in a few months there may very well be a new challenger in this market…

Television for hard news, internet for softer topics in Japan

From where do you mainly get your politicial news? graph of japanese reported on an interesting survey recently conducted by Cross Marketing Inc into news consumption. Between the 10th and 12th of January they interviewed 300 mobile phone users from their monitor group; the sample was split 50:50 male and female, and 20.0% aged 18 or 19, 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, and 20.0% in their fifties. Note that the full survey (available at a fee) covers many genres of news other than just the politics and technology groups featured in this article.

In particular regarding political news coverage, the results presented here have data points that are reassuring and others that are a bit depressing. The good news is that a relatively small one in five uses the internet as their primary politics news source. Whilst there are exceptions, like my favourite, Trans-Pacific Radio’s Seijigiri, certainly in the English-language world the perception I have is that many people gravitate towards the sort of site. The bad news is that television is the most popular medium. Although I am in no way an expert on Japanese television news, not even a regular follower, I do get the impression that mainstream bulletins have little or no analysis, and there are few in-depth current-affairs programmes to rival, for instance, Newsnight in the UK, although I do hear that that’s gone downhill recently.

Personally, about the only current affairs program I enjoy (even though it is a little celebrity-heavy at times they at least give the lightweights little air-time, but that Kevin guy makes me want to throw stuff at the telly!) is “Bakusho Mondai’s Hikari Ota’s If I Were Prime Minister…”. That’s a login-free New York Times story, and it describes the show far better than I could. It’s worth catching every Friday 8pm to 9pm on NTV.

Newspapers on return home, news surfing before bed

About how often do you read newspapers? graph of japanese opinioninfoPLANT recently performed a survey into the consumption of news. Over a week at the end of October 5,973 people, 62.1% female, chose to complete the public survey available through iMode.

Although infoPLANT used its usual method of collecting self-selecting respondents through NTT DoCoMo’s iMode mobile phone menu system, thus resulting in a bias towards those who are heavy users of mobile phone, the data forms an interesting point of comparision to a recent translation of a more balanced survey of the news consumption habits of the average person. We cqan immediately see from the pie charts that there are a quarter less daily paper reader amongst the mobile phoners, but even though there are presumably a lot of heavy users in this sample, newspapers still outdo all internet-based web services put together.

The survey also looks at iChannel, a new non-free but low cost service from DoCoMo that pushes headlines to mobile phones. I tried out a free preview of it but it seemed rather ordinary, and being a stingey git, paying a couple of hundred yen per month was just a bit too much for me!