Japan’s Top Social Media Networks for 2023

Posted By Jim Kersey

Planning social media activities for the Japanese market takes careful consideration. Platform popularity and behaviour can often vary substantially from the global norm, with several quirks and challenges that seem to be unique to the nation.

Depending on how familiar you are with this topic, or how many of our previous reports you’ve read, the data and facts presented in this guide may not surprise you. However, we can help you to understand the why behind Japan’s major SNS trends.

In this year’s report (now our 8th!!), we aim to cover the most recent data and trends for social media networks in 2023, as well as shed light on the bigger picture.

If you want to know how we draw our conclusions at Humble Bunny, head to the bottom of the page for our methodology and sources, otherwise, let’s dive in!

Watch the Summary

Japan’s Digital Landscape in 2023

Japan's top social media networks SNS secondary landscape data 2023

Japan's top social media networks SNS secondary landscape data 2023

Monthly Active Users by Platform

*Tap or Hover on the graph below to see details.

Key Behavioural Trends in 2023

Japan's top social media networks SNS behavioural trends 2023

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Japan's top social media networks SNS YouTube trends 2023

While not a traditional social media channel, YouTube’s popularity is important to take note of in 2023. The platform’s features continue to evolve and YouTube video marketing becomes an increasingly viable option for brands looking to build connections with the local population. Most notably, YouTube has overtaken LINE as last year’s top SNS channel in Japan (a position they held for several years!).

Many households in Japan consume content on YouTube as a kind of substitute for TV (aided by the widespread use of smart TVs). And despite the introduction of other streaming options, such as Amazon, Disney+ and Netflix, it is the default service for many individuals and families.

Why? Micro-communities, influencer pages, user generated content and even live TV are all part of the platform’s appeal. And many are drawn by the sheer variety of content to be found on the platform as well as the ability to interact with others as part of interest-based communities .

YouTube Demographics

YouTube demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Source: gaiax-socialmedialab *2021 Data

We’ve seen YouTube’s age distribution shift largely towards young users over the last few years, perhaps as older users still prefer to consume media on one of the nation’s popular TV channels. No doubt popularity has been supported by the many new Japanese influencers and celebrities who made their debut on the platform during the pandemic, pulling in droves of younger fans.

In a nation with a low level of trust for organisations, it’s also likely that large numbers of growingly trusted vloggers and YouTube stars provide an unfiltered way to track current events. And when it comes to product reviews and unboxings, YouTube has become the premier channel for this kind of content and therefore secured a vital role in the Japanese customer journey.

Most Popular Streaming Services in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS YouTube trends 2023

Source: GWI

Predictions for 2023

Brands will be looking to further capitalise on this by sponsoring influencers to feature their content in video blogs. This may be performed formally through transactional agreements or casual “gifting” where brands send out free samples to popular YouTubers in their sector.
As peer reviews and recommendations are perhaps even more important in Japan than in other places around the world, due to higher levels of distrust and uncertainty avoidance, we are likely to see more of this.

HB Pro Tip: Using Youtube video ads at the start of your sales funnel can drive much better performance overall, especially when you are launching retargeting campaigns where you deliver ads to people who have viewed a certain amount of your video on Youtube. Just make sure you feature plenty of domestic appeal and include local models and environments to improve engagement.

LINE Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS LINE data 2023

LINE’s popularity in Japan is huge. Awareness of the app is still low in many places around the world where LINE is merely one of many other messenger apps on the market, but it has become so much more than this to the Japanese population.

Initially gaining popularity in wake of the 2011 earthquake that resulted in thousands of deaths and an almost nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi, many took to LINE (over 50 million in the first year) as a way to stay connected during times when phone lines may be down.

Developed as a way to keep families and friends in touch during times of crisis, its relevance has remained strong in a country where natural disasters are always a possibility. And its usage also spiked during the start of the pandemic highlighting the continued relevance of the platform.

LINE Demographics

LINE demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Source: gaiax-socialmedialab * Data updated in 2022

With such a large user base, covering over 70% of the Japanese population, there’s no surprise that its demographic breakdown is spread fairly evenly – somewhat mirroring the demographic breakdown of Japanese society on the whole.

LINE’s vision to become an all-encompassing hub for serving its user’s digital needs has also broadened its value as a tool for both young and old. For instance, it now offers classic social media features such as media timelines and news sections, as well as cashless payment functionality (made even more attractive by coupons and loyalty programs through LINE Pay).

LINE Manga, available on the LINE messaging app or as a dedicated app, has also become Japan’s largest digital comic service offering users an easy and convenient way to read manga and novels on their smartphones.

In short, LINE has evolved significantly since the days when it was just a messaging app and with people using it for an increasing number of reasons in their day to day lives, it has attracted a growing number of businesses and brands who want to capture the attention of LINE users who use this space.

Top LINE Trends in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS LINE trends 2023

Predictions for 2023

We predict we’ll see a growing number of brands adding LINE advertising as a complementary component to their Japanese marketing strategies. Many are likely to leverage it as a powerful customer retention tool to deliver text-based updates relating to store updates, incentives (coupons and flyers) and company news.


Japan's top social media networks SNS Twitter data 2023

Japan is Twitter’s second-largest market after the US and many have commented on the intriguing fact that it dominates over Facebook in terms of popularity (which bucks the global trend). A few likely reasons for this are:

  • The Twitter app offers better online anonymity compared to Facebook while still allowing people to engage in online conversions. 45% of users prefer to be anonymous on social media according to data from GWI. People still want to voice their thoughts and concerns and millions of tweets go out each day from all kinds of users, supporting the platform’s vibrant ecosystem of interactions.
  • Over 92% of the Japanese population live in urban areas and spend a huge amount of time on busy public transport between home and the office or school. Apps that have always had a smooth mobile UX like Twitter, which offers users bite-size chunks of content, are incredibly convenient when people are on the go.
  • Japanese celebrities, politicians and notable figures are among the most popular accounts in Japan and are highly active as users (updating their posts once or more a day). As such, Twitter gives users a glimpse into what’s going on in their world (and more importantly, makes it easy to do this quickly).

Twitter Demographics

Twitter demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Source: gaiax-socialmedialab

Twitter’s growing popularity across a wider range of ages in Japan has prompted brands, influencers, and marketers to reconsider Twitter as a way to connect with audiences both young and old. The prominence of politicians and government spokespeople on the app has brought many older users to the platform, historically considered almost unreachable on Twitter before.

The delivery of fast (sometimes immediate) updates and news about important issues in Japan, as well as the participation of many of the nation’s most influential politicians, celebrities and brands, makes Twitter a unique place for citizens to find out what’s going on, supporting the platform’s ongoing popularity.

Top Twitter Trends in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS Twitter trends 2023

Predictions for 2023

We predict that businesses will continue to take advantage of Twitter’s large user base through customer retention tactics, however, we also suspect that more marketers (especially those actively engaged in market research) will use Twitter as a social listening tool.

Unlike Facebook or Instagram, most of the content shared and consumed on Twitter relates to opinions. By carefully monitoring conversations and looking for key trends and themes, brands can better understand the way people think and feel about certain topics, which can then inform communication strategies used both on Twitter and more widely across their other touchpoints.

HB Pro Tip: When building your Twitter strategy, consider making around 80% of your Tweets about your “local environment” such as current events in your company, industry, city or country. Even tapping into seasons and the weather can drive much better engagement, as well as useful customer information about stock, opening times or holidays. The remaining 20% should then highlight products and services.


Japan's top social media networks SNS Instagram data 2023

Instagram’s pleasing UX on mobile phones, the potential for anonymity, and highly visual and aspirational content has made it popular among the Japanese population.

The ecosystem of communities on Instagram is now more varied than ever, with classically popular categories on the platform such as beauty, fashion, travel and food now joined by other interest groups such as gaming, wellness and social justice.

Instagram’s video features (Reels, IGTV and Stories) also give the platform more modern relevance, allowing people and brands to publish candid glimpses into real life and behind the scenes.

Instagram Demographics

Instagram demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Source: NapoleonCat *2022 Data

Instagram still remains one of the best places to target young Japanese women interested in fashion, beauty, music, food and entertainment.

Brands that initially invest a lot in Facebook advertising in Japan, in mirror of their approach taken in other markets, often find themselves shifting budget away from this declining channel towards Instagram, giving them better access to younger and more diverse audiences.

Top Instagram Trends in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS Instagram trends 2023

Predictions for 2023

A few trends we expect to see on Instagram in Japan this year are:

  • Increased budget in video marketing and content, with continued low engagement performance on static images and carousels
  • More partnerships between brands and influencers and digital creators to take the burden of companies producing their own content and the increased performance of UGC


Japan's top social media networks SNS Facebook data 2023

Facebook plays a similar kind of role to the one LinkedIn plays in other nations. It is often the chosen platform for those trying to grow business contacts and sell B2B in Japan. You’ll find many senior-level professionals using it as well as a huge number of business pages.

In many other respects, Facebook’s success in Japan has been modest. It has a much lower user base overall when you compare it to other markets and a dwindling youth demographic.

There are several theories on why Facebook “failed” to capture the Japanese market.

  • Facebook’s real name policy made it harder for Japanese users to fully buy in when the platform came to Japan. Many were concerned about invasion of privacy as well as reluctant to engage in online conversations as themselves (preferring to participate anonymously).
  • Due to the above, the platform makes it easy for old friends, acquaintances and colleagues (or even bosses and seniors!) to add you as a friend. And combined with the fact that declining an invite might be seen as rude (therefore making acceptance necessary), this reduced the freedom and escapism that Japanese people so often enjoy about social media platforms.
  • Other platforms simply fulfil people’s needs better and failing to achieve enough user growth velocity in the initial months and years after launching in Japan may have stunted its long-term growth potential.

Facebook Demographics

Facebook demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Over recent years, we can clearly see Facebook slowly becoming less and less relevant in Japan (at least among younger Japanese groups). There’s no doubt that with visual platforms like TikTok capturing people’s attention through video-based content, Facebook has found it even harder to both retain and attract a younger audience.

The platform still boasts a respectable 26 million MAU and combined with Instagram (which both fall under the Meta advertising platform) it is still a viable option for brands looking to target specific groups of people with PPC ads — especially working professionals with higher disposable incomes.

Top Facebook Trends in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS Facebook trends 2023

Source: Statista

Predictions for 2023

While companies selling to younger audiences are likely to shift their focus to other platforms, those in the B2B sector will find it the perfect space to make connections with high-value customers and clients.

Also, we still see Facebook as an important tool for providing social proof to prospective customers engaged in pre-purchase research. The fact that Facebook uses real names also makes reviews and ratings much more credible and Japanese shoppers are still likely to use it as an important stepping stone in their purchasing journeys.

HB Pro Tip: In general, we recommend developing product-focused campaigns if your goal is generating conversions with Facebook Ads. While motivation and lifestyle-oriented ads can work well too (if you have the right funnels in place and engaging creative content), ads that display your product in detail with a clear UVP added to the caption or text overlay, have proven the most efficient method of generating conversions for the majority of our clients.

Wondering How to Convert Facebook Users into Loyal Customers?


Japan's top social media networks SNS TikTok data 2023

In a nation of short attention spans, where bite-sized media space segmentation is widespread, the simple usability of TikTok and its trend-orientated, video-first approach seems to have fueled its success in Japan.

With the platform itself based around videos of 15-second intervals, maxing out at a total of 60 seconds, you could say TikTok is a crystallisation of the long-term trend that has already been taking place towards the demand for more user-generated video content.

Best Practices for TikTok Content Creation

Shortened to the acronym WTF, these principles are ‘Wish’, ‘Try’ and ‘Fun’:

  • ‘Wish’ — relates to a greater interest in social causes and breaking stereotypes, as well as spreading positive messages with friends. If the cause is something people really care about, users will tend to share content willingly in the hope of doing something good, or at least to be seen as promoting a good cause.
  • ‘Try’ — relates to how users, predominantly younger demographics, love the idea of tackling something new that might be complicated yet also achievable. Embracing such a challenge can fill them with satisfaction and when they nail it, they’ll naturally want to share this with the world.
  • ‘Fun’ — captures the platform’s lighthearted and exciting character, with much of its content not being particularly “deep”. Many TikTok users just want to have fun and to share this experience with others.

Convert Using TikTok Ads in Japan – A Crash Course

TikTok Demographics

TikTok demographics on Japan social media in 2023

Source: gaiax-socialmedialab

Again, this year’s number shows us that it’s still the best online space to reach Gen Z Japanese teenagers. The application enjoys a penetration rate of 58% among people aged 13 to 19 years old! Yet, many Japanese brands have been concerned about this fact, given that the country has one of the most rapidly ageing populations.

It can also be incredibly difficult to produce the kind of content that does well on this platform. However, for brands that have succeeded, a huge amount of interest can be built among Japan’s youngest demographic of SNS users.

Top TikTok Trends in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS TikTok trends 2023

Source: B2BHouse

Most popular TikTok accounts in Japan social media 2023
Source: Insiflow

Predictions for 2023

Many older users and brands catering to an older demographic have been scared to use TikTok. Some see it as too “different” to what they’re used to, while others believe its popularity is only fleeting, meaning investment in time or resources isn’t worth it yet.

With the platform’s continued success, however, and the prominence of TikTok-style trends making their way onto platforms like Instagram, there will likely be a larger migration of users to this channel — even among older generations.

For marketers, the challenge will be to adapt processes and content to match the unique style of TikTok. And as influencer marketing is one of the most powerful tools available when trying to reach new audiences, many brands will be forced to take a step back from the creative process and defer to the experience and insights of their TikToK partners to increase exposure.

HB Pro Tip: Before rushing to TikTok as your next Japanese advertising platform, consider that it is notorious for its lack of options and flexibility when it comes to exactly how ads can be configured and targeted, which may limit your performance potential. Facebook still beats all other platforms when it comes to the sophistication of its campaign manager tools. Having said this, TikTok is a great way to create engagement quicker than any other platform, especially if your product and/or content serves the needs of a younger audience.

Other SNS Platforms in Japan

A few less popular SNS channels that we believe are still worth a mention are below.

LinkedIn As we’ve mentioned, Facebook is a better choice for achieving many of the things you might expect LinkedIn to do. LinkedIn simply isn’t home to anywhere near the volume of potential contacts, networks and businesses as you’d find in other markets for this SNS channel. Some attribute this to cultural factors such as Japanese professionals being less inclined to showcase all their achievements and career milestones openly to the world and the preference to handle work-related-relationships face-to-face.
Ameba Ameba is a micro-blogging site, similar to platforms like WordPress but with a few quirky twists, such as customizable avatars that allow users to socialise with other users in digital environments. Although it has a loyal base of users, platforms like Twitter do a much better job in the micro-blogging space.
Pinterest Pinterest’s user base has grown only slightly compared to last year, but it has done well to cater to a loyal and active following of designers, artists and people looking for creative inspiration.
Clubhouse After the US and Germany, Japan was one of Clubhouse’s largest markets in 2021. However, although awareness has grown rapidly since the platform’s launch, it still only has a modest following compared to other SNS channels.

Key Insights

Japan's top social media networks SNS key insights 2023

Top 5 Reasons People Follow Influencers

Top 5 reasons to follow influencers on SNS Japan user data 2023

Top 5 Reasons People Use Social Media in Japan

Japan's top social media networks SNS user data 2023

Japanese Social Media Trends in 2023

Influencer reviewing branded merchandise on social media in Japan

While not all specific to Japan, below are some key trends taking place in the Japanese SNS landscape in 2023.

Brand Content Becomes More Lifestyle-Focused

Given that interaction with brands on SNS in Japan is lower than the global average, there has been a natural shift towards lifestyle content on social media. To overcome the fact that as little as 4% of people click sponsored posts and only 10% have visited a brand’s SNS page, according to a survey by GWI, it’s important that content appeals to the broader motivations and ideals of Japanese consumers.

New Campaigns for Older Demographics

Until recently, brands have historically found it hard to target certain older demographics through social media. Since the pandemic, a much larger proportion of seniors have taken to platforms like Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends — promoting brands to target these spaces more frequently with marketing.
With Japan’s ageing population and the fact that disposable income is the highest among older groups, dedicated campaigns for older demographics have become much more prominent.

Influencers Play a Larger Role in Trends and Marketing

Influencers and high profile individuals play a key role in both disseminating information such as news and updates that affect their communities, but also in dictating what brands and products are worth buying. Trust for the opinions and endorsements of social media personalities on YoutTube or Instagram is strong and leveraging their credibility is sometimes the only way for brands to get people to take notice of them.

Japanese SNS is a Primary Source for News

Social media platforms are still a primary source for news and immediate answers on a range of topics running from geopolitical conflicts and the pandemic. With the country’s strong distrust of organisations (second to last in Edleman’s Trust Barometer after only Russia), it’s not that surprising that many people look to social media for immediate answers rather than mainstream TV news channels.

Learn More About Japanese Consumers

A Place to Voice Criticism and Concern

Japan has used social media as a safe space for voicing criticism about the government’s handling of various issues. From the pandemic to gender equality, digital platforms are a likely substitute to protests and public gatherings in a nation where preference for anonymity is high. Both government agencies and brands use SNS as a social listening tool to understand public sentiment on a range of issues, with Twitter being an especially important place for getting a quick read on what the Japanese population thinks.

Entering the Japanese Market?

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Japanese SNS FAQs


Do I Need to Work with a Local Social Media Agency?

It’s possible to advertise in Japan through an agency in your home market, however, it’s much better to enlist support from a team who are based in Japan and have strong English-language skills. Buying media space is also incredibly tricky without a good level of knowledge of the local market.

How Do I Achieve Engagement on Japanese SNS

When you take the time to really understand the kind of content users enjoy consuming on each individual SNS platform here, engagement can be incredible. Most platforms are now heavily saturated with high volumes of paid or sponsored ads, but if your content is good (creative, original, appropriate for your audience), social ads can still be your most important tool for growing interest in your brand in the way you’d always dreamed.

How Expensive Is It To Advertise On Japanese SNS?

Marketing and SM managers should understand that realistic budgets need to be set to generate enough conversion velocity if you want to see results. You are at least looking at a likely 10-15% increase on ad spend based on our experience.

Does Japanese Social PPC Work?

While it always depends on your specific product and goals, marketing on social media is still an important component for foreign brands entering the Japanese market and does work for companies who commit to the process. For instance, ecommerce success can involve a good level of initial brand building to support later stages of the customer journey such as retargeting and Google Shopping and Search Ads.

Do I Need to Adapt My SNS Strategy for Japan?

It’s still shocking how many foreign brands use the same approach to social media marketing here that they do for their other markets, despite knowing that the interests and behaviours of people are unique enough here to warrant fresh thinking and new social media strategies for any brand. As long as you commit to this process, success is achievable.


To draw accurate year-on-year comparisons and to track trends more realistically, we rely on many of the same data sources used in last year’s report, with updated figures for 2023. However, where the same sources have not been available, certain data points have been substituted for the most recently available data.
These sources include a range of publicly available surveys as well as official company and government data sets. And where numbers alone have not been enough to paint a full picture of Japan’s most important social media trends, we’ve added our own understanding of the local context gathered from extensive social media marketing activities on behalf of our clients.


  • Statistics Bureau of Japan
  • World Bank
  • Statista
  • LINE
  • NapoleonCat
  • DataReportal
  • Gaiax-socialmedialab
  • Statista
  • B2BHouse
  • Insiflow
  • Edleman’s Trust Barometer
  • Insta Lab SNS Data 2022
  • GWI – Market Snapshot 2022
  • Carter JMRN
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Similarweb
  • eMarketer/Insider Intelligence

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