YouTube in Japan
The Japanese-language version of YouTube was released in 2007. The website has since become the most popular video-sharing platform in the country, reaching over 62 million monthly active users as of October 2018. Its competitors in Japan include domestic websites such as Nico Nico Douga, known for its bullet chatting feature, and AbemaTV, an online television network. While Japan has a relatively low social network penetration rate when compared to some of its neighboring countries, a survey conducted in 2021 found that YouTube had a penetration rate of over 97 percent among people in their teens and twenties.
“VTubers” as a recent YouTube trend
One recent trend in Japan are so-called “VTubers," which are virtual YouTubers created by motion capture technology. One of the most popular virtual YouTubers is Kizuna Ai, who debuted in 2016 and who is also credited with coining the term “VTuber." In 2018, she was appointed as an ambassador for the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) campaign "Come to JAPAN" in order to increase American tourism to Japan. Other famous VTubers include Kaguya Luna and Shirakami Fubuki.