I’ve been wondering for a while whether hobbyist anime bloggers are common in Japan. Wow, this post is off to a dry start. Let me give you some context here. Around the anime blogging community (that *I* am aware of), we often speculate or pretend to know things about Japanese culture, norms and society. A lot of hardcore anime fans are by extension, to some degree Japanophiles. I count myself as both an enthusiast of Japanese culture and an adept at pretending to know things. So, I am definitely guilty of some musings on Japanese history and traditions, with very little actual knowledge to back it up.
However, of the blogs I follow, very few are Japanese based, and those that are, are often written by expats. By that I mean non-Japanese immigrants to the island. Naturally, this is probably entirely due to the fact that my Japanese is horrific to nonexistent. I’m sure there are plenty of Japanese language amateur blogs on anime.
But then again, if I resist the urge to do any actual research and simply base myself on potential biased and out of date assumptions, I would have reason to believe that such a thing shouldn’t exist.
Let me explain myself. First, due to strenuous work and school ethic, both anime and general rumors, have all told me that the stereotypical Japanese person, simply doesn’t have the leisure time required to maintain a blog, let alone watch anime on top of that.
I know that a lot of us simply go to school or have a normal 40 to 50 hours a week job, and we barely manage to find the time ourselves. A quick google search tells me that 80 or more-hour weeks are not uncommon in Japan. That’s 11.5 hours a day – if you work all seven days… Yeah, no way am I coming home to type and format a post after that. I’m thinking the commute would be too much effort for me after that.
Then, I have every single post, youtube video and FAQ about life in Japan telling me that anime isn’t really all that popular there. And that it’s probably more mainstream where I am. I still have my doubts about that. Most anime merch doesn’t even deliver to where I live, let alone get sold here, so the market for it doesn’t seem that big. I certainly have never seen anime advertised on a building, billboard, in public under any circumstance… Huh, I guess I have a sore spot there. You learn stuff every day!
Point was though, that apparently anime doesn’t have mainstream acceptance in Japan, and being fanatical about it actually carries more stigma there than most places in the world. As such, locals would be dissuaded to openly maintain anime blogs, lest they were to suffer social disapproval.
I feel that now would be a good moment to remind you all that I did NOT do any research on the subject. I hope that my info is outdated, if it was ever accurate to begin with, but it is based on facts I’ve heard repeated from different sources over the years.
If we take my reasoning to be sound, then for those reasons alone, anime blogs would be less likely to originate in Japan. If you combine those with the fact that a certain amount of *vanity* and *self-centeredness* is needed to honestly believe that your thoughts and analyses are interesting and important enough to share with the world. Then culturally, Japan (and Sweden) would be less likely to have any amateur blogs at all, regardless of subject.
This weirder than usual thought experiment came about because a few months ago, I had a reader reach out to me on Twitter to say some really nice things about my blog. They also let me know that they had a bit of trouble with English as they were from Japan but that if I ever needed help with Japanese expressions and such, they would be happy to lend a hand.
I have to admit, I was so touched and just flattered by this that I may not have properly conveyed how awesome it was. The thought that someone from Japan would make the effort to read my half-baked theories on their own country, and in English at that. Let’s just say it was quite the compliment indeed.
I was about to let my head balloon up to the size of an average hatchback when my Slavic cynicism caught up with me, and my mind quickly went to work finding the loophole. I thought to myself, maybe this reader was trying to find a way to learn English and spotted a show they recognized so they figured it would be a good learning tool. If that is the case, I’m so sorry, I have misled you!
Then I figured, maybe they are just trying to get some reciprocity, but I checked, and they don’t have their own blog! This was a shock.
Finally, the very sad thought dawned on me that there may not be that many alternatives. Of course, there are fantastic professional sites for all your news and information needs. But if you want a more personal and casual approach to the subject, is it possible that there simply aren’t that many options in Japanese?
I don’t know. As I was writing this, I started feeling bad about my own lack of professionalism and did do a little research to find out the answer. I mostly got English language American based blogs or posts about how anime isn’t popular in Japan. It wasn’t a very long research but still, the first few pages of my google didn’t yield any significant results.
So, think about this, fellow anime bloggers. Maybe you’re not just throwing out your thoughts and crazy anime theories out there for other American (European) otakus. Maybe your blog is providing a sense of greater unity to an anime fan in Japan who can’t find such a community in their day to day. As admirers of the culture, that idea has to be deeply rewarding, no?
I know it was to me, so I figured I would share it with you. (I still think some way too nice Japanese reader was just trying to learn English)
47 thoughts on “The Amateur Japanese Anime Blog”
I wonder whether the Japanese blogging community is closer to what happens in anime creators than we are. They probably are.
I assume the average probably is but the superfans know no borders…
I really need to see this.
Looks like fun!
Hmm I think the reason Japanese blogs aren’t so easy to find is because you probably have to search for them in Japanese. The only Japanese anime fans I know are YouTubers, but I’m sure there are more than a few who blog as well.
I did but it’s still me google with the me skewed algorithm
“I need to see this – this girl is so expressive”
Actually I Am was fun to watch — in large part because of how Youko Shiragami’s expressiveness!
Good to hear
From my experience, Japanese people seem to be big on LINE/Whatsapp/Twitter…short form or private social media. Some Japanese people I’ve tried to trade details with in the past year or so have Facebook/Instagram. It’s rare that Japanese people have a Tumblr or blog, but Tumblrs normally act as digital portfolios of art (as Tumblr tends to be) and anime blogs that do exist are often restricted to certain kinds of formats which are less intuitive for those who’ve grown up with the non-Japanese way of blogging.
The Japanese language is able to cram in a lot more meaning into one sentence than English is, so a post’s body will often be over before it hits 1000 characters…that’s why Twitter got so popular in Japan, by the way.
It’s noted that anime often is aired at night because only the committed stay up that long just to catch a show, aside from long runners and/or children-oriented shows, which is probably a reason why people don’t bother blogging about anime as a single entity…they’d be too sleepy afterwards. (That is, if they’re not using streaming to access their shows.)
Then again, this is only me observing Japan from the outside and knowing enough of the language that I can understand snippets of things without thinking too hard…
I’ve looked at a few blogs while looking for spoilers or to see the status of a manga. Most seemed to be pretty short (lengths of posts I mean). But I figured aniblogging is probably not as big of a scene for two reasons: a) streaming is still mostly for the West, b) NicoNico gets that type of immediate reaction and community spirit.
Part of my affection for Uta no Prince-sama comes from the fun of watching it on NicoNico, with all the jokes and squeals flying across the screen, so I imagine that it’s like that for other people.
Or maybe I’m just weird.
So I don’t think it has much to do with Japanese work-life balance or culture. None of the comments so far have given any examples, but there are thousands. This page aggregates a huge amount of anime blog content in Japanese:
The Japanese-language anime blogging community looks broadly similar to the English one: news, impression posts on recent episodes, series reviews, and personal media diary type stuff.
There are probably three reasons you don’t see much of it:
1) the Japanese-language blogging community is probably smaller than the English one. Some 450 million people live in the Anglosphere, before even counting former colonies like India or the Philippines. English is also the global language, and many non-native speakers like yourself use it in their blogs. By comparison, Japan has about 130 million people and shrinking and the Japanese language has little reach outside of Japan itself.
2) contrary to Japan’s high-tech image, it’s web infrastructure is abysmally outdated. Opening a lot of Japanese websites is like time traveling twenty years… into the past. Many Japanese bloggers use platforms that just aren’t common in the West. Seriously, ignore the language barrier and just pass your eyes over that Blogmura link… the layout is awful!
3) you probably didn’t search in Japanese! Try Googling アニメブログ and you’ll see plenty of stuff. Chrome’s built-in translator is flawed, but usually good enough to get the gist of whatever you find.
So basically, Japanese-language anime blogging exists, it looks much the same as in English, and you probably don’t notice it because it’s hidden behind the language barrier and Japan-specific web platforms. There certainly isn’t a dearth of online community for Japanese anime fans.
That’s great to hear
Thank you so much for the link, I’ll have fun attempting and probably mostly failing to go through them later. And this is fantastic info. Thanks again
So what I’m getting from this is-
I should try and follow a Japanese blog to practice my Nihongo? 😀
well…yeah. Don’t you?
I’ll preface this by saying that I absolutely do not have an encyclopedic knowledge about anime/otaku-centric blogs written in Japan by Japanese people, so take this with a grain of salt. But in my admittedly limited experience, I’ve found that while there might not be a ton of anime-specific Japanese blogs out there (at least in comparison to what the English-speaking fandom is used to), there are a lot of blogs that talk about anime in relation to other things – particularly manga, games, and figurines. I’ve also found when I’m reading Japanese blogs that are specifically about anime, they’re often not about all anime in general but rather one specific show or franchise, like Free or Love Live or Pretty Cure.
Well that makes sense
Here’s what I know about Japanese blogs: …
You’ve gotten some interesting coments, though.
Me too…thank goodness I have awesome readers
I feel like anime is more of an underground thing in Japan. It may not be as socially acceptable, so they may not want to announce that they watch it by having a blog. Either that or they enjoy it, but maybe they’re not as serious about it as some North Americans or others are. For some reason we seem to like to rip everything apart and analyze it… Maybe they just take it for what it is… Entertainment… And leave it at that.
I really don’t know. There may also be a thriving japanese blogosphere I’ve simply not discovered
Let’s break down “not that popular”… Japan is a country of 126 million people. If even 1% are at least casually interested in anime, that’s a market of a million plus people. In real terms (as opposed to comparative terms), that’s a *huge* number.
That should also be obvious from the number of anime being produced each season. That wouldn’t continue for very long if it didn’t generate income (via sales of source material or anime merch) commensurate with the expense. That wouldn’t happen without a sufficient number of people interested in anime.
I agree. But still, the universe is trying to gaslight me otherwise
The stigma definitely exists, but on the other hand, there’s a crazy amount of beautiful Japanese anime fan art/cosplays/djs out there. I wonder if the responses generated by anime are just more artistic than critical?
That’s a very interesting idea. Quite possible.
Us Swedes do blog, I assure you. We just don’t tell anyone because that would be against Jante. 😎
Very interesting post. I have found some Japanese blogs but not about anime but artists blogs. The pattern is the same for them all; they sort of wither and die because no one reads or comments. And what I can read of the posts it’s not very high quality on the writing. Idk, it might have absolutely nothing to do with anything. Empirically I would need a lot more blogs to say but it was the same for all.
Ohh.. That’s a little sad to hear
It is. It would be interesting to see/read an anime blog. Compare to ours. I’m sure there are differences. I do get visitors from japan on my blog (according to wp) so they are obviously interested.
I think that is why I like the anime that show a bit of the “closet nerds” I think that is the way with a lot of countries though. For some reason we look down on people for getting excited about things haha. So weird.
well I’m Canadian – we’re kind of all dorks here…. I know what you mean though
My Japanese friend used to love watching anime but ever since she went back to work in Japan, she has literally had no time to watch anything due to her workload. So sad 🙁
That is terribly sad…
This was an interesting post, I liked it a lot.
To put it bluntly, there IS a bit of a stigma surrounding anime — or more specifically, otaku — culture in Japan. I say that not from speculation, but rather experience. I am currently based in Japan and conversations do turn a bit awkward when the topic of my ANIME blog comes.
However, the notion that anime is not particularly popular in Japan is a little misleading. I would say it’s as popular as anywhere else. One trip to any of the major Japanese anime hubs — Tokyo’s Akihabara or Osaka’s Nihonbashi — and you’ll see the culture alive and well. Perhaps the issue is Japanese anime fans tend not to be as bombastic as there Western counterparts. Again, going back to the general stigma the medium had.
As for Japanese anime bloggers, they do exist. However, the styles for those sites are vastly different than what Western bloggers use. It takes some getting used to.
Overall, you’re post had a lot of good things to think about.
A fascinating read. Excellent.
Ok this is AWESOME feedback and exactly what I was hoping to get from this post – Thank you so much…
If ever you feel like it – I would love to know what the differences in blogging styles are but I won’t force you to do my research for me…
Personally, I think it’s because anime is accepted in the same way America accepts primetime TV shows over there, which is with mild interest. It’s just not as big of a deal over there because it’s everywhere (because it actually is a big deal but they don’t make a big deal put of the fact that it’s a big deal?)
My personal theory is that Japan has a culture of conformity, so individual bloggers aren’t common, but I know for a fact that Japanese anime forums are chatty as hell. Discussion is plenty, but there’s no one “critic” or “reviewer” that they follow because individuality isn’t very popular.
*out of the fact
Interesting blog. I’ve always just assumed that Japan has pretty much its own internet sites for everything and so they don’t really bother with ~Western Internet~. I like to assume there’s some massive Japanese anime blogging site that’s utterly impossible to discover unless you speak the language with thousands of bloggers talking about anime. Kind of like how there is with their social networking and novel writing sites. I remember reading a thing that said that the Japanese, specifically teenagers spend more time on their phones (in their free-time) then Western kids too, so much so that waterproof cell phones have been common in Japan for a decade because they even use them while bathing. This comment is mostly hearsay and conjecture though so take it with a grain of salt.
Also I don’t know why I said “interesting blog”, I meant “interesting post”… don’t mind me, it’s been a long day.
Are you one of those people who says “Legos” instead of “Lego”?
God know, fuck those people! lol
Oh I’m sure there’s a Japanese MAL site – I guess it’s basically like a blog
It’s an interesting idea, and there’s probably some truth to it. I know I get a few readers from Japan according to the little map widget thingy on the dashboard.
I don’t know how widespread blogging culture in general is in Japan. I know they’re big on social media (“SNS”) but I don’t know whether that expands out into more long-form stuff. The only time I’ve really noticed it — not that I’ve really gone looking, as paltry a knowledge of the language as I have — is on the Final Fantasy XIV official website, where users are able to publish blog posts. A significant proportion of those seem to be in Japanese.
Hmm, maybe there’s a distinction between personal/individual blog and communal page.