The U.S. media reported that Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter Inc. said, “It may seem as if Twitter is centered in the United States, but if anything it is centered in Japan.”
Japan’s population is only about one-third that of the U.S., but the number of active Twitter users is said to be about the same as in the U.S.
In this article, I would like to share my opinion on why so many Japanese use Twitter.
One of the main reasons why Twitter is prefered by Japanese so much is the high degree of anonymity that Twitter currently achieves.
Actually, it is impossible for the Japanese to engage in discussion each other. You may say, “What nonsense,” but this is true.
The only languages I can understand are Japanese and English. And English, of course, is not equal to “I disagree with your opinion” and “I don’t accept you as a human being”. This would be the same in many languages, not just English.
In Japan, however, when Japanese people communicate with each other in Japanese language, the two often mean the same thing.
‘I disagree with your opinion’ equals ‘you are bad’
In Japanese society, “I disagree with your opinion” is acceptable in a group wheather or not, is judged by the relationship between the two of you as a preliminary step to scrutiny of the logical structure of the oppornent’s argument and your counterargument.
Rather, the winners and victims are almost always determined in the preliminary stages.
That means logical criteria such as which one is right or which one is beneficial to the society, the company, or the neighborhood community do not work there; it is the relationship between the two persons that is judged first.
Specifically, their variables such as the age, gender, family lines, and social status of both parties, as well as the number of years they have been engaged in the activity, will determine the rough winner. Unfortunately, the logical structure of the argument is not that important.
And needless to say, upward mobility in Japanese society is oriented toward placing oneself in a position that transcends logic and is immune to criticism from anyone.
This system is at work in almost every organizational unit, such as the government, business, and local communitie’s activity in Japan. Needless to say, this system does not always work to Japan’s advantage in competition with foreign countries, and it has been pointed out as the cause of Japan’s downfall.
For example, suppose you criticize the problems of the company you work for on a social networking site. Your boss finds out about it.
What happens next, it will vary from country to country and culture to culture. In the U.S., your boss might call you in for questioning, which could lead to a heated discussion.
In any case, for me, who was born and raised in Japan, this case gives you a chance to explain and fight.
So what happens in Japan, everything is handled behind the scenes. One day it happens suddenly, you may be relegated to a SPECIAL position which you work in a room with no windows and only one phone on your desk. It goes on until you write your resignation letter with breaking your heart off. The phone is, of course, placed there for job hunting.
In other case your name may be added to the list of candidates for the next restructuring.
You are basically not given a chance to explain, but are handled by the system in Japan.
This is not only the case for companies. It can also happen in relationships such as neighborhoods and communities. It is dangerous to carelessly express opinions.
For example, about whether dogs should be trained or raised freewheeling. If someone who disagrees with you is seen as more influential in the group than you, your position can become very bad, and in the worst case, you may have to leave town.
In Japan, since ancient times, this has been called “mura-hachiboku. It is still practiced today in different ways.
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression have no place in a group composed of Japanese people.
Not much has changed since the Middle Ages
Again, the reason why Japanese democracy and freedom of speech in such a miserable state is not simply because the government is evil or incompetent.
The behavioral principles that govern the Japanese mind have basically not changed since the Middle Ages, and this is a very difficult problem that needs to be updated.
Anonymity brings limited freedom
In such a stifling society, it is only right to say “things that don’t particularly make sense but sound plausible”.
For Japanese people living in such a suffocating society, the only place to express their true feelings is on the “anonymous” Internet space.
They express themselves and enjoy communication in a state of complete self-confidentiality.
Please look at Japanese accounts on social networking sites. If you are do not understand Japanese, just look at images. You will notice that they hide very detailed and personally identifiable information.
I once wrote the following article titled “Why Do Japanese YouTubers Wear Masks?
Some of you who reading this article may be interacting with Japanese people on Twitter. Though, I am sure that your cultures are different, I imagine that many of you have wondered why so many Japanese use avatar illustrations or anime characters instead of their own face pictures.
This is due to the social background in Japan, where revealing one’s true face and speaking freely involves great risk.
Although communication in a foreign language is somewhat less dangerous than in Japanese, the situation remains the same: “You are always being watched.
Comparing this to a computer network, Japanese society is similar to a P2P-type network formed by individuals mutually monitoring each other, rather than a client-server type network.
In a P2P network, even if individual computers go down, the network as a whole can continue to operate. The most important feature is that there is no one in charge.
Putting computer network topic aside, in Japan, sanctions for disobedience to “VILLAGE” customs are carried out without being perceived by the parties involved, so one must remain vigilant.
On behalf of the Japanese people, I ask you.
Because of this social background, if you become friends with a Japanese person on a social networking service and want to see his/her face, I suggest that you to offer that to exchange his/her face photo in a way that is private to other users like ‘direct message’ on Twitter.
As I have said repeatedly, persistentlly, many Japanese people are afraid of having their portraits published on the Internet.
Harms of Anonymity
Of course, problems arise because of anonymity. Typical examples are bad users who take advantage of their anonymity to repeatedly slander other users.
Even if an account is deleted as a penalty for malicious behavior, they immediately create a new account and continue the malicious activity.
The authorities are taking this situation seriously and are taking measures to deal with it by amending the law.
Specifically, it has become easier for a victim to file a complaint with the court and request the perpetrator’s Internet service provider to disclose the perpetrator’s personal information.
No adults with opinions in society
Perpetrators typically say childishly,
“I didn’t think I did so serious.
They have found a place where they can freely express their will, albeit imperfectly, while living in a Japanese society that is suffocating to an unimaginable degree.
It was the first time there that they were told “you can say anything you think”, and they were asked, “Who are you?” or “What’s your opinion?”, this is where they were confronted with the question.
And as they searched for the answer, they must have realized that they had nothing that could be the answer. Because all they, or rather all of us, had continued to do since we were born was to do one simple thing: react the requirement of the system.
I think they realized that they had nothing any opinions, and they don’t know who are they?, which means they are infants. And they attacked others and violated their rights like infants.
I believe that these problems are caused by the fact that Japanese society, unchanged since the Middle Ages, has treated as an elite those individuals who “respond appropriately to the rules set by the group.
They are not allowed to question the group to which they belong, nor are they required to have their own opinions.
All they have to do is respond appropriately to the groups demands. Then they can live their life in peace.
Whether or not that is a humanlike.
It’s not just Twitter
These problems are not unique to Twitter, but have been seen on many web services since the early 2000s. It should be noted that they are not outraged that they cannot express their intentions in 140 characters.
As long as Twitter offers anonymity, it will continue to hold a large active users share in Japan.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that the subsequent SNSs that want to challenge Twitter must keep in mind that anonymity is a factor that must not be overlooked if they want to grow their user base in Japan.
Thank you for reading to the end.