Have you ever looked at Japanese people using SNS, and feel a little bit different?

Since I moved to Japan, I have been connecting with Japanese friends through SNS a lot, especially Instagram. I realized that the way they use SNS is different. At first, I thought it might just be because of each country’s different cultures. But seems like my other international friends think that the Japanese way of using SNS is so unique too. So today, I will show you some characteristics points of the Japanese way of using SNS from my own observation.

1. They barely post pictures of their faces (Especially selfie pictures)

When I check out my Japanese friends’ Instagram accounts, I can barely see their pictures. Most of the time, they will post pictures of nature, travel, café, food, or their pets. I once asked my friend for the reason and she said because she’s not confident in her look, so she will never ever post a picture with only herself. And I think most of the other Japanese think like this too. They see the people who can post their pictures publicly as the person who has high confidence in his/herself.

2. Their usernames are normally complicated, or include numbers

You might often see Japanese SNS usernames containing numbers and ‘_’. It’s very common that I can’t help but question this pattern. Some of the numbers in their usernames are their birthday, for example; sakura_0321 or 11_miyu_02. For username with some other numbers, I think there are basically 2 reasons behind it. First, the Japanese name is very common. One girl can have the same name as another 5 girls of her classmate. Such as Mayuka, Yuna, Yumi and so on. And on SNS, the same username cannot be used again. Therefore, they need to add some mark or number just to make it different from other Mayuka. The second reason is that the Japanese are well aware of the security while using the internet. They don’t want random people to find their accounts easily, so the name has to be a little bit complicated or hard to find.

3. They hide other people’s faces in the picture/story

As Japanese people concern a lot about privacy, if there are other strangers’ faces in the picture, they will censor it or hide it with stickers. In fact, not only stranger, sometimes even their friend’s face has to be censored as well. The interesting part is that they don’t even have to ask that person if they should censor it or not. They just do it naturally as others.

4. They are very polite when commenting on someone’s post

From my perspective, I see that Japanese people don’t really like to comment on each other’s posts. And if they do comment, they normally comment politely even they are friends. Sometimes on Twitter, Japanese people even ask for permission before retweeting. I was very shocked about how polite they are. They are well aware of politeness both in real life and on SNS.

5. Japanese girls usually post a special kind of picture using “Purikura”

Purikura or Japanese photo booth is very famous among Japanese girls, especially high schoolers. The uniqueness of photos from this booth is that the faces and background will be edited a lot. Your face will look smaller, and your eyes will look bigger. I saw these kinds of pictures a lot in my Japanese friend’s account. It’s very unique and we can know immediately that it’s Japanese. It’s also a very fun activity to do with your friends!