海外諸国では誰もが当たり前に、そしてオープンに使っているSNSやセルフィーだけど、最近はここ日本でもだいぶ浸透してきている様子。自分をさらけ出して注目を浴びることに抵抗を感じやすい日本という国において、これはとても大きな変化だと思う。そこで今回は、私が日本のSNS時代を観察してきて感じたことをご紹介。日本人はどんな道をたどって“オープン・マインド”になってきたのか。そんな日本で今フォローすべきは一体誰なのか? ──そのあたりを、みなさんと一緒にシェアしてみたいと思う。

As the rest of the world embraced social media and selfies, it seemed oversharing might not ever take off in Japan. Until it did, in a BIG way. This is such a huge change, especially for a country that has a massive aversion to putting oneself out there, or getting attention at all. I’ve been a part of the SNS era in Japan from its start until now, and I’d like to share about what I’ve seen and felt in my own experience of it. Let’s look at the rocky history of SNS in Japan, and why it’s finally embracing it fully now.



It seems like it was just yesterday that young Japanese netizens all hid behind a proverbial wall on 2chan-style message boards and crude blog sites like Ameba with usernames like nekokun5464. Oh, how times (and apps) have changed!

When style bloggers started to blow up around the world in 2010, many lamented that there weren’t any world-famous bloggers from Japan. It was debated and complained about ad nauseum, but the consensus was generally the same: Japanese girls were too shy to bare their closets AND their souls, which is what it took to be at the top of the game. In fact, the scene was so empty and devoid of young oversharers that listicles on top Japanese “bloggers” or had to resort to regular celebrities to fill their quotas until the blog boom ended and Instagram took over.

最初はSNSとの付き合い方が苦手だった日本。mixiを覚えているだろうか? 知り合いとネット上で”ともだち”になり、写真や近況や趣味嗜好をシェアできるソーシャルメディアだが、ミクシィでは相手のページを訪れると”足あと”がついた。これがニックネーム文化の要因ではないかと思う。中には、毎週ニックネームを変え、プロフィール写真にはモザイクをかける人もいたが、これでは”ともだち”を続ける方が難しい。誰が誰だかわからなくなってしまうのだから。そのため、世界的なFacebookが上陸すると、mixiは影を潜めることとなる。



Japan has had a tempestuous relationship with social media since its inception.Only oldies in Japan will remember Mixi, the Japanese version of Myspace. The social site allowed people to become friends with people they knew, and leave slightly stalkerish “footprints”on other people’s pages. The problem was that since everyone used indiscernible nicknames that changed every week and mosaic photos of pets, it was impossible to truly keep up with friends because you didn’t know who was who. When Facebook launched, Mixi bit the dust.

But it wasn’t easy for Facebook either, no not at all. In fact, when Facebook announced that people could no longer use their Mixi-style nicknames and had to use real names instead, it seemed the whole of Japanese society pushed back. Many Japanese people live and die by their online nicknames In fact, if you listen to the radio today, you will find that most callers young and old even still use cutesy nicknames when calling in to request songs.As for Facebook, while it became cool for hipsters to be “mysterious” and hide behind artsy user photos and strange nicknames in the West, this behavior and aversion to being in the public is instilled into Japanese at the cultural level.

Privacy is taken VERY seriously in Japan. In fact, unlike most countries in which photographs taken in public are legal, in Japan it is illegal to take photos of someone else without their express permission, no matter in a public or private space. The “kojinho” or personal privacy law even makes it difficult to write in one’s own name on any kind of document, legal or not. This has undoubtedly affected the growth of social media, as exposing others and even oneself had been seen as something vulgar and risky, to boot. In fact, if we are talking strictly by the numbers, then the number one most popular social media app in Japan would be Twitter. Yes, in fact Twitter is so popular in Japan, there were rumors that Japanese telecom giant Softbank would buy out Twitter last year. With that said, the popularity stems from the truth that only 3.6 percent of Japanese twitter accounts use their real name. Users can bare their soul, but comfortably hide behind that proverbial wall.

では、何が変わったって? Instagramが起爆剤となったが、大爆発とまではいかなかった。でもそれは確実に、ゆっくりと燃え上がったのだった。最初の頃は、絵文字やスタンプで顔を隠したり、プリクラのように加工されたりした写真が主流だった。

インスタをきっかけに注目されるようになったり、仕事が来るようになったりする機会が増え、いよいよインスタの革命が始まった。「プライベートなので」とレンズを嫌がったセレブリティや芸能人たちさえ、インスタを始め出した。今、お金と目=市場は、 Instagramにある。


So then what DID change? Well, Instagram changed the game. But it wasn’t an explosion at all, it was absolutely a very slow burn to the top. At the beginning, Japanese users continued to hide behind emoji stickers on their faces, and over-edited face filters emulating the Purikura sticker booths.

As more young women and men began seeing an uptick in attention and job opportunities by being on Instagram, the revolution began. Celebrities, notoriously sheltered in Japan, even began joining, using it to replace their corporate-sponsored blogs. The money-and attention- was on Instagram now.

Before, it was unheard of to talk about a relationship publicly, both for celebrities and even plebes (this is the country where it is common to be invited to a colleague’s wedding without knowing he even had a fiance). But young “it” girls and boys laid bare their snuggles online for the world to see and benefitting from the attention. Ryuucheru +Peco are the epitome of Instagram celebrity-turned-real-celebrity and Yuka Mizuhara and her new beau Shohei Kemba being a couple open online nabbed them features in high-fashion magazines. When “neo-gyaru” Insta-icon Alisa Ueno posed with a new boyfriend in LA, it was reported as tabloid fodder.

「日本の女の子たちが、プライバシーという檻から羽を広げ脱出し始めた。そしてどんどんオープンに!」──そんな時代がいよいよやってきたのだ。24hで消えるInstagram Storyとライブビデオの登場は、さらに写真やビデオをアップすることへのハードルを下げた。これが最大のポイント、そして変化の理由だと思う。インスタストーリー(またはSnapchat)によってライブパフォーマンスや尖ったファッション、本音の露出が増えたし、アンダーグラウンドなスターの発掘もしやすくなった。そう、今の日本の若い世代は、自分を丸出しする#freakにハマるように、サマになるようになってきたのだ。これまでは基本的に欧米かアジアがブロガーたちを登場させてきたが、これからはまだ新鮮なところがある日本ではないかと思う。これは、注目されるべきユニークな若者たちにとってある種の好革命期だと思う。そして「自分自身をPRすることを恐れないで」と、ここにメッセージを込めたい。(「日本人はクリエイターとしてとても才能があるけれど、PRが苦手だから本当にもったいない!」という決まりをぶっ壊してほしい!)

最近の私のお気に入りアカウントは、リアルな自分を丸出しするセンスのいいsunnyさん。ぜひフォローしてみて! 彼女のアカウントにはワンダーランドが広がっていると言えるし、そんな世界を知れば日本のSNS領域もそれなりに広がっていくと思う。

Now, you might be asking “but you said Japanese girls are letting loose and getting freaky”. I did, and it’s true! Thanks to the launch of Instagram Stories and Live video last year, more and more are becoming comfortable with putting themselves out there. You can find live performances and fringe fashionistas being weird, baring their souls, and becoming bonafide “underground”stars. So now Japanese men and women are embracing social media and letting their own freak flags fly. And we are all the better for it, as sometimes they can be as hilarious as their western or Asian counterparts. I personally think it could spark a new revolution of genuinely unique girls and boys getting the attention they deserve, and teaching a generation that PR isn’t something to be afraid of.

My favorite to watch now is Sunny, who isn’t afraid to put her real self out there. As her world becomes more open to viewers, the SNS world in Japan does, too.

ミーシャ ジャネットファッションディレクター / ジャーナリスト

ワシントン州生まれ。2004年に東京の文化ファッション大学へ。ジャパンタイムズのライターを8年、日本でも海外でも様々な活躍をしている。ファッションディレクターとして、Nicki Minaj, Capsule, Koda Kumiなどにコスチュームをつくり、ランウェイと雑誌のスタイリングも実施。
日本のファッションをグローバルにするため、日英ファッションブログ「Tokyo Fashion Diaries」をThe Business of Fashion.comでローンチした。テレビでの登場はNHK World's Kawaii International, TBS/YouTubeのTokyo Extraなど。

MISHA JANETTEFashion Director/Journalist

Born in Washington State, Misha moved to Tokyo in 2004 to study at the prestigious Bunka Fashion College. She’s contributed to The Japan Times newspaper for 8 years and writes for many other lauded publications inside and out of Japan. As a fashion director she’s worked on costumes with pop artists such as Nicki Minaj, CAPSULE and Koda Kumi, as well as styling for magazines and runway shows. Her bilingual fashion blog Tokyo Fashion Diaries was lauded by The Business of Fashion.com and is a bridge to understanding Japanese fashion through culture. She appears on TV such as hosting NHK World’s Kawaii International and TBS/Youtube joint TV show “Tokyo Extra”.


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