When you look at the intersection between social media and Japan, things get a little weird. The citizens of the island nation don't behave like the rest of the world does. The Japanese still prefer communications with close friends through text messages and emails via cell phones. That attitude is slowly changing though.
The latest NetRatings study from Nielsen Japan show us that Facebook is slowly rising from where it just a little over a year ago. There was only about 8 million native Japanese on Facebook in May 2011. That number has jumped to 17 million in May of 2012. That represents almost 30 percent of all Internet connected individuals in the country.
The undisputed king of social media in Japan, Mixi, might not be king for much longer. Latest numbers showed Mixi having only about 20 million Japanese users. That's only a 3 million difference and Facebook could easily overtake Mixi within the next few months if they haven't already.
AllFacebook attributes the rise in Facebook popularity to the horrific tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan in March 2011. With the country's major form of communication (cell phones) down, they took to social networking to connect with friends and family. It would also appear that more Japanese college students are using the social media site to look for work.
Facebook is going to have to look beyond the U.S. and Europe for growth now that it's a publicly traded company. Gaining a larger foothold in Asia will definitely do wonders for their user base and might even increase revenue. Of course, there's limited room for growth in Japan for sites like Facebook, so the company should definitely be setting its sights on China. A few deregulations here and there would really help Facebook make a splash in the highly lucrative Asian market.