THE BRIDGE

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Japanese social network for couples marks 5M monthly pageviews

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See the original story in Japanese. Pairy is a Japanese social network for couples. It was first launched back in June of 2012, but Timers, the startup behind the app, has just released a new version of the app. According to the company, its monthly pageviews count hit 5 million recently, and they are hoping for even more potential by adding new features. In recent years we have seen many social networks for people in close relationships, like Path (launched in October of 2011), Couple (November 2010), and Between (February 2011). After you approve a connection request from your significant other on the app, you can create a sharable album, enjoy chatting, find dating spots, and share an event calendar. With this latest renewal of the app, there will be a new feature that allows you and your partner to look back on your memories together. According to CEO Toshimasa Takahashi and COO Koichiro Tawa, the company conducted a user survey that showed users are keen to browse memories of the past. They explained: Almost a half of our female users look back on what they have talked about with their boyfriends using a chat app or Line. But in…

pairy_main

See the original story in Japanese.

Pairy is a Japanese social network for couples. It was first launched back in June of 2012, but Timers, the startup behind the app, has just released a new version of the app. According to the company, its monthly pageviews count hit 5 million recently, and they are hoping for even more potential by adding new features.

In recent years we have seen many social networks for people in close relationships, like Path (launched in October of 2011), Couple (November 2010), and Between (February 2011).

After you approve a connection request from your significant other on the app, you can create a sharable album, enjoy chatting, find dating spots, and share an event calendar. With this latest renewal of the app, there will be a new feature that allows you and your partner to look back on your memories together.

According to CEO Toshimasa Takahashi and COO Koichiro Tawa, the company conducted a user survey that showed users are keen to browse memories of the past. They explained:

Almost a half of our female users look back on what they have talked about with their boyfriends using a chat app or Line.

But in terms of looking over memories, the Line mobile app or existing social networks would probably suffice. This is why the startup has added a new feature to the app, allowing users to plan a date with their partner online. They added:

We are also providing third party information about possible date spots. We conducted a survey about the “couples market” and learned that it is worth as much as 1.3 trillion yen (approximately $13.27 million) if you include things like restaurants, hotels, and gifting etc. Our app allows users to arrange reasonably (priced) but remarkable date planning.

The duo previously worked at Japanese ad agent Hakuhodo back in 2010. They submitted a business plan for the original concept of the Pairy app at the company’s in-house business contest. They went on to launch the startup together with three engineers who previously worked with DeNA, and subsequently it was chosen for the first batch of Docomo’s incubation program.

Since the app targets a very niche demographic, it will need a more deliberate monetization models than conventional social media such as Line or Facebook. Although typical social media apps highlight their messaging or chatting features, it is interesting to see what the newly added date planning feature will bring to this app.

pairy_dateplanning

Japan’s love of ‘Now’ on Twitter, and the app that ranks top trends

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Keyword Now is a very simple website that allows you to find the most talked-about topics in Japan. As Twitter became more popular, people started ending their tweets with the word ’Now’ as a way to express what they are currently up to. The site crawls the web every hour to find out what’s popular, and lets you see the trends by hour, day, or by week. By tapping on a particular topic, you can further search Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, or find images. You can also see a list of related news articles for a given topic, removing the hassle of searching and finding relavent news yourself. Keyword Now is interesting in that it reveals that people are still very much influenced by TV and old media. Many of the topics that appear in the app’s trending list comes from TV shows being broadcast. For example, this morning in Tokyo, there was a talk show called Sawako no Asa, or Sawako’s morning. The guest today was well-known violinist Taro Hakase, and his name appears in the top ten hourly rankings. This one-stop news app is very simple. It can be really handy as a way of keeping up to date…

KeywordNow

Keyword Now is a very simple website that allows you to find the most talked-about topics in Japan. As Twitter became more popular, people started ending their tweets with the word ’Now’ as a way to express what they are currently up to.

The site crawls the web every hour to find out what’s popular, and lets you see the trends by hour, day, or by week. By tapping on a particular topic, you can further search Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, or find images. You can also see a list of related news articles for a given topic, removing the hassle of searching and finding relavent news yourself.

KeywordNow-app

Keyword Now is interesting in that it reveals that people are still very much influenced by TV and old media. Many of the topics that appear in the app’s trending list comes from TV shows being broadcast. For example, this morning in Tokyo, there was a talk show called Sawako no Asa, or Sawako’s morning. The guest today was well-known violinist Taro Hakase, and his name appears in the top ten hourly rankings.

This one-stop news app is very simple. It can be really handy as a way of keeping up to date on the latest happenings, since the app covers anything from world news to politics to gossip – so you’ll have no shortage of material for chatting at the water cooler at work, for example. I can also imagine people using this app to find topics for the popular curation site Naver Matome .

Keyword Now is available on the web, as well as on iOS.

Now with 21M users in Japan, Facebook looks poised for a serious push

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Thanks to Serkan Toto for pointing out some updated user numbers for Facebook in Japan. He cites the company’s managing director in Japan, Atsushi Iwashita, who disclosed to The Nikkei that the social network has 21 million monthly active users in Japan. That’s up from 19 million back in February. Serkan relays lots of other juicy stats (check them out here), but perhaps the most interesting tidbit was that Facebook plans to double its sales force in the country over the next year, and start TV advertising in the country. In Japan, TV advertising often proves as a key catalyst for social services (see Line) and games (see Puzzle and Dragons). If it does the same for Facebook then this could means a huge boost for Zuckerberg’s network. We have seen lots of interesting social media campaigns in Japan leveraging Facebook recently, and that’s only going to continue. In terms of Facebook’s own ad business, COO Sheryl Sandberg pointed out recently that companies here are really starting to come on board: I was actually in Japan and Korea, meeting with advertisers just a few weeks ago, and we are seeing companies that really weren’t doing much with us a year…

nikkei-trendy-facebook-japan
Photo: Nikkei Trendy

Thanks to Serkan Toto for pointing out some updated user numbers for Facebook in Japan. He cites the company’s managing director in Japan, Atsushi Iwashita, who disclosed to The Nikkei that the social network has 21 million monthly active users in Japan. That’s up from 19 million back in February.

Serkan relays lots of other juicy stats (check them out here), but perhaps the most interesting tidbit was that Facebook plans to double its sales force in the country over the next year, and start TV advertising in the country.

In Japan, TV advertising often proves as a key catalyst for social services (see Line) and games (see Puzzle and Dragons). If it does the same for Facebook then this could means a huge boost for Zuckerberg’s network.

We have seen lots of interesting social media campaigns in Japan leveraging Facebook recently, and that’s only going to continue. In terms of Facebook’s own ad business, COO Sheryl Sandberg pointed out recently that companies here are really starting to come on board:

I was actually in Japan and Korea, meeting with advertisers just a few weeks ago, and we are seeing companies that really weren’t doing much with us a year ago increasingly adopt us as part of a core part of their spend. So I remain very optimistic about our growth across Asia and the rest of the world.

Another Facebook exec Brad Smallwood, the company’s head of measurement and insight, will be speaking at AdTech Tokyo 2013 next month as well, recently announced as a keynote speaker. So if you’re in town at the time, be sure to check it out.

In Japan, a social network where single women can vent frustrations

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Earlier today I wrote about a unique Japanese social network focused on souvenirs. And here’s another strange one. Amaryllis is a social network that allows single ladies in Japan to vent about their life. The community was first launched back in Feburary, and Tokyo-based Zappallas, the company behind this unusual social network, recently unveiled mobile apps for iOS and Android. The company created the community so that single women could vent anonymously about their everyday life as a form of stress relief. Amaryllis is designed for easy use, providing just three main features: Boyaki (which means grouch), ‘Tamariba’ (or ‘gathering place’), and Following. Using the Boyaki feature, users can freely express anything or complain about whatever they want because comments and sharing are not available. If you come across someone you think is interesting, or if you are concerned about the same issues, you can follow her. In the gathering place, single women can post questions to other women. It’s interesting how by using illustrated characters for avatars, their anonymity is more protected, allowing them to express themselves without any reservations. Some examples of topics I found on the gathering place include: A text just asking ‘What Are You Up…

Amaryllis

Earlier today I wrote about a unique Japanese social network focused on souvenirs. And here’s another strange one. Amaryllis is a social network that allows single ladies in Japan to vent about their life.

The community was first launched back in Feburary, and Tokyo-based Zappallas, the company behind this unusual social network, recently unveiled mobile apps for iOS and Android. The company created the community so that single women could vent anonymously about their everyday life as a form of stress relief.

Amaryllis is designed for easy use, providing just three main features: Boyaki (which means grouch), ‘Tamariba’ (or ‘gathering place’), and Following. Using the Boyaki feature, users can freely express anything or complain about whatever they want because comments and sharing are not available. If you come across someone you think is interesting, or if you are concerned about the same issues, you can follow her.

In the gathering place, single women can post questions to other women. It’s interesting how by using illustrated characters for avatars, their anonymity is more protected, allowing them to express themselves without any reservations. Some examples of topics I found on the gathering place include:

  • A text just asking ‘What Are You Up To?’ is annoying
  • What kind of posts turns you off on social networks?
  • This couple really pissed me off

There is a character called Mitsuko on the site who works like a guide to Amaryllis. She posts questionnaires about all kinds of topics ranging from gossip to love issues to an annoying boss.

This sort of secret venting is a surprisingly popular vertical in Japan. There was a mobile social network called ‘Boys Farm’ by CyberAgent a few years back. It let women talk about guys, and actually refer to them by name, disclosing their real identities. That proved to be controversial, and the site was subsequently shut down within a week. Readers may also recall that I wrote about Japanese microblog Arrow’ back in April. That platform allows users to vent their stress toward a single random stranger. There is also an anonymous Q&A social network called ‘Hatsugen-Komachi’ which is wildly popular too. It is operated by a major newspaper company here in Japan.

Will this anger-release niche work out for Amaryllis? We will have to wait and see!

Top 10: Fun Facebook apps from Japan that tell you more about yourself

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Some of our readers may remember our April Fool’s Day post on crazy apps from Japan. Since then I’ve come across another series of interesting apps which in many cases leverage Facebook and peoples’ relationships on the social network. Behind them all is a single company called Eureka. And here are the apps that they’ve come up with, in no particular order. 1. Group Date Forecast¶ In Japan people don’t often go on blind dates, but instead they opt for group dates called ‘Go-kon’. There’s a person in charge of the girls side and and one for the boys side, and they are the ones responsible for bringing the hottest friends to group date. Group Date Forecast is an app that tells you who you should bring among all your Facebook friends, creating the ultimate go-kon team. 2. Facebook Invoice Checker ¶ ‘Facebook Ryokin Checker’ can roughly translates as ‘Facebook Invoice Checker’. The app calculates how much your usage fee would amount to if Facebook were a paid service. Japanese people tend to be a little more willing to pay for web and mobile services, so this idea really makes you appreciate a free service like Facebook. My invoice was…

Some of our readers may remember our April Fool’s Day post on crazy apps from Japan. Since then I’ve come across another series of interesting apps which in many cases leverage Facebook and peoples’ relationships on the social network. Behind them all is a single company called Eureka. And here are the apps that they’ve come up with, in no particular order.

1. Group Date Forecast

In Japan people don’t often go on blind dates, but instead they opt for group dates called ‘Go-kon’. There’s a person in charge of the girls side and and one for the boys side, and they are the ones responsible for bringing the hottest friends to group date. Group Date Forecast is an app that tells you who you should bring among all your Facebook friends, creating the ultimate go-kon team.

Go-kon-startingmembers

2. Facebook Invoice Checker

Facebook Ryokin Checker’ can roughly translates as ‘Facebook Invoice Checker’. The app calculates how much your usage fee would amount to if Facebook were a paid service. Japanese people tend to be a little more willing to pay for web and mobile services, so this idea really makes you appreciate a free service like Facebook. My invoice was 112,900 yen!

Facebook-invoice-checker

3. What if I was the Heroine?

This app creates a correlation diagram for an imaginary TV drama that casts you as the hero or heroine. Based on your interactions with friends on Facebook, it creates this fun diagram. In the three weeks after its release, the app was liked by 140,000 users, creating attractive illustrated diagrams with funny and catchy titles to boot.

Drama-correlation

4. What is your May Blues?

Titled ‘What is your May Blues?’, this app diagnoses what sickness you might have in the month of May. Why May? Well, ‘May Blues’ is a term commonly used by Japanese people, and it refers to the lack of motivation or passion that people often feel in May. April marks a new year at school or work, and after a busy first month, people sort of burn out. This app helps you deal with the affliction with a positive attitude.

May-Blues

5. Excuse for tardiness

Excuse for tardiness is a Facebook app that gives you good excuses for being late for work or other important occasions. The app gives you three questions to answer, like ‘do you watch the late night comedy shows?’ or ‘how many alarm clocks do you have in your room?’ Upon answering these questions, it tells you which excuse you should use — but it is presented in manga form! The app was developed for a female skin care company Dr. Ci:Labo, so the excuses tend to be a little on the cute side. When I tried it, I got “Because the cat I saw on the way to work was soooo cute”.

Excuse-for-tardiness

6. Facebook Omikuji

‘Omikuji’ is a paper fortune that you get at the beginning of the New Year at shrines in Japan. The app is no longer is service since it was provided only at the beginning of the year, but it’s a pretty interesting idea all the same. Although ‘Hatsumode’ (or the first shrine visit of the year) is a common ritual for many Japanese people, some might not be able to make it. For these people, the Omikuji app lets them to do so online. The app racked up over 250,000 Facebook likes within ten days after its release.

Facebook-Omikuji

7. Choose Friends with Flawless Skin

To help launch a new makeup powder from Clinique, Eureka developed an app called ‘Chose a friend with flawless skin’. The app works very simply. It asks you to choose five of your friends who you think have amazing skin. This made for great viral content because no one is unhappy to hear compliments about their complexion. The app has been since taken down from Facebook too, since it was for a time-specific campaign.

Tamago-hada

8. Honest Valentine Forecast

‘Honest Valentine Forecast’ analyzes your friendships on Facebook, and creates a map of how this year’s Valentine’s Day will turn out. In Japan, typical Valentine’s gifts have always been chocolates, and in Japan, girls give it to boys instead of the other way around. Since there’s a culture of even giving Valentine’s chocolates to co-workers at the office (a gesture called ‘giri-choko’, where ‘giri’ means ‘a sense of duty’). Honest Valentine Forecast predicts who your secret crush is, and who you should give some chocolate to.

Valentines-chocolate

9. Todofuken Love Map

‘Todofuken’ means ‘prefecture’ in Japanese, and this Todofuken Love Map alllows users to ask questions about love that they would hesitate to ask openly. Questions such as ‘what is your breast size?’ or ‘do you have lucky underwear?’. Interestingly, the user generated results of the questionaire are shown on a map. This app is mobile only, and is the only one on our list not integrated with Facebook.

love-map

10. How many would confess love to you?

This app hypothesizes a world that consists of only 100 men, and shows how many of these men will profess their love to you (referred to as ‘‘Kokuhaku’’ in Japanese) — possibly taking inspiration from the famous book If the World were a Village.

Kokuhaku

For many of these apps, the company will require you to you like their page first before you try them out. This is not a tactic I’m particulary fond of, but the ideas are sort of fun and they’re sure to bring you and your friends some laughs.

Hey Stinky! Japanese website sends anonymous body odor notifications

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The humid summer in Japan makes many of us extra conscious about how we smell. Perhaps you’re packed into a rush hour train huddled among bunch of people without much space to breath. But that situation might be even more difficult is when you know someone — maybe a co-worker or a friend — who is struggling with a case of body odor. Maybe they’re not even aware of it themselves. You may not want to tell the person directly, and you certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings. In this sort of situation, Wakiga kokucchi might be the easy solution you’ve been looking for. The website’s name roughly translates as ‘Coming out with armpit odor’, and it works in a very simple way, sending an anonymous email to the recipient when you input their email address. Just chose the location of where the person resides, and the email is sent out. The recipient will never know who it was exactly who sent the mail. So far, there have been 74 people who have been notified of their smell by Wakiga Kokucci. This sort of service is a little bit harsh but maybe in some serious cases, it might be…

Kokkucchi

The humid summer in Japan makes many of us extra conscious about how we smell. Perhaps you’re packed into a rush hour train huddled among bunch of people without much space to breath. But that situation might be even more difficult is when you know someone — maybe a co-worker or a friend — who is struggling with a case of body odor. Maybe they’re not even aware of it themselves.

You may not want to tell the person directly, and you certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings. In this sort of situation, Wakiga kokucchi might be the easy solution you’ve been looking for.

The website’s name roughly translates as ‘Coming out with armpit odor’, and it works in a very simple way, sending an anonymous email to the recipient when you input their email address. Just chose the location of where the person resides, and the email is sent out. The recipient will never know who it was exactly who sent the mail.

So far, there have been 74 people who have been notified of their smell by Wakiga Kokucci.

This sort of service is a little bit harsh but maybe in some serious cases, it might be a reasonable way of informing without disrupting your relationship with that person.

The site wisely provides some tips and cautions for using the service. It is best not to use it with someone who is already aware of their problem. Furthermore, the site will not be responsible for any subsequent troubles that occur as a result of using the site.

In Japan, beers are born out of general elections

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After the emergence of the popular girl idol group AKB48, ‘Sosenkyo’, or ‘general elections’ became a common tactic for brands and companies to obtain user feedback in the form of votes. Companies have always sought feedback from customers in more traditional ways such as postcards or surveys, but now these interactions are online. One company that has excelled in leveraging online tools is beverage company Sapporo Beer. Sapporo Beer chose Facebook for its social marketing initiatives, with campaigns called ‘Hokkaido Likers’ and ‘Hyakunin Beer Lab’ (‘Hyakunin’ meaning ‘100 people’ in Japanese.) The idea was to not just to sell beer directly, but to create trends surrounding its products. Hokkaido Likers began back in April of last year, and on the Facebook page local writers and photographers are encouraged to post photos or information specific to Hokkaido. Everything is posted in Japanese, as well as in English and Chinese. The total number of likes now exceeds 800,000, which is a significant following. The Hyakunin Beer Lab launched last September. That initiative aimed to create a new line of beer based on user feedback. Every Friday night, users can join a live meeting to discuss the new beer product in Facebook comments….

100-beer-lab-

After the emergence of the popular girl idol group AKB48, ‘Sosenkyo’, or ‘general elections’ became a common tactic for brands and companies to obtain user feedback in the form of votes. Companies have always sought feedback from customers in more traditional ways such as postcards or surveys, but now these interactions are online. One company that has excelled in leveraging online tools is beverage company Sapporo Beer.

Sapporo Beer chose Facebook for its social marketing initiatives, with campaigns called ‘Hokkaido Likers’ and ‘Hyakunin Beer Lab’ (‘Hyakunin’ meaning ‘100 people’ in Japanese.) The idea was to not just to sell beer directly, but to create trends surrounding its products.

Hokkaido Likers began back in April of last year, and on the Facebook page local writers and photographers are encouraged to post photos or information specific to Hokkaido. Everything is posted in Japanese, as well as in English and Chinese. The total number of likes now exceeds 800,000, which is a significant following.

The Hyakunin Beer Lab launched last September. That initiative aimed to create a new line of beer based on user feedback. Every Friday night, users can join a live meeting to discuss the new beer product in Facebook comments. Sapporo Beer also held offline meetups and invited the more active users within its Facebook group to get involved. There were over 100,000 users participating in the campaign, and many elections were held to decide on the type of the beer, the name, and its label. After many Friday night meetings, the company found that people want to relax and drink beer, not with friends, but alone. After all the responses, the resulting beer was a little expensive — but it sold out a fews days after it hit the market.

Similarly other brands have held these kinds of elections. Haagen-Dazs Japan launched a new website to ask consumers which limited flavor of ice cream they want to taste see on sale again. There are over 24 limited flavors to vote for, and users can do so by signing in with their Facebook, Twitter, or Mixi account. For those who voted for the top flavor, 1,000 ice cream cups would be delivered. There have been over 160,000 votes in the month after the start of the campaign, and so far the number one flavor is Custard Pudding, followed by Chocolate Macademia and Caramel Walnuts follow.

Haagen-Dazs-campaign

Japanese consumers frequently see companies like Sapporo Beer appearing in traditional media like TV commercials or in magazines. But less people are watching TV these days, and they can skip commercials with the push of a button when they recorded videos. Most of the younger generation are online, and brands now have to scramble to adapt to that shift.

Reaching out to women: Shiseido does it well

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One of my favorite makeup and skincare brands is Shiseido. The cosmetics company has a 140 years of history, and is the number one cosmetics brand in Japan, and fifth worldwide. I like the brand not because I’m a devoted Shiseido products user, but more because of the company’s great digital initiatives both online and offline. The most recent such effort from Shiseido is the launch of its Makeup Simulator app, which is used by over 11,000 beauty consultants at Shiseido stores on ‘Beauty tablets’ (iPads). By looking into the screen as you would look into a mirror, the app replicates your face without makeup, using that representation as a base to try on various makeup products. The app cleverly eliminates the hassle of removing your own makeup to try on products. Shiseido’s first skin analysis product was invented back in 1984 and it has been enhanced and upgraded ever since. There are handy skin sensors installed in its Beauty Tablets as well, allowing skin condition to be measured anywhere in the store. The results can be saved, making continuous advising possible. To see many of Shiseido’s unique digital-enabled services, you can visit Shiseido – The Ginza located in Ginza,…

One of my favorite makeup and skincare brands is Shiseido. The cosmetics company has a 140 years of history, and is the number one cosmetics brand in Japan, and fifth worldwide. I like the brand not because I’m a devoted Shiseido products user, but more because of the company’s great digital initiatives both online and offline.

Shiseido-Makeup-simulatorThe most recent such effort from Shiseido is the launch of its Makeup Simulator app, which is used by over 11,000 beauty consultants at Shiseido stores on ‘Beauty tablets’ (iPads). By looking into the screen as you would look into a mirror, the app replicates your face without makeup, using that representation as a base to try on various makeup products. The app cleverly eliminates the hassle of removing your own makeup to try on products.

Shiseido’s first skin analysis product was invented back in 1984 and it has been enhanced and upgraded ever since. There are handy skin sensors installed in its Beauty Tablets as well, allowing skin condition to be measured anywhere in the store. The results can be saved, making continuous advising possible. To see many of Shiseido’s unique digital-enabled services, you can visit Shiseido – The Ginza located in Ginza, Tokyo.

But if you can’t make it there in person, Shiseido offers part of its simulation app over on its website. By uploading your photo on Beauty Check, the simulator analyses the balance of your face, and then according to the type of look you want to try on, it makes suggestions from different Shiseido product lines such as Integrate or Maquillage.

Shiseido is also well known for its social media activities. For example, Majolica Majorca is a makeup line for younger women, popular both inside and outside of Japan. The company operates social accounts on Facebook and Pinterest in both Japanese and English. As you might expect, the company is active on Line too, opening that account back in July of 2012.

There are many apps and services that specifically target females, especially here in Japan. There is much to be learned from Shiseido’s many digital initiatives to better understand how to sell to the female demographic.

This Japanese Facebook app finds you last-minute drinking dates

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After a long day at work on a hot summer day, perhaps you feel like grabbing a beer — but it can be hard to get a hold of friends at the last minute. Now there is an app that helps you find drinking buddies of the opposite sex in your neighborhood. It’s called Kanpai Match (Kanpai meaning ‘cheers’ in Japanese). Kanpai Match is presented as a Facebook app where users can enter information such as their initials, location, topics of interest, and profiles. The app then makes a recommendation everyday at 5pm, suggesting a possible drinking buddy in a nearby place. The app only recommends people of the opposite sex, so this may be more of a dating app than a casual drinking app. After seeing their suggested match of the day, users can push the ‘Let’s Drink’ button to confirm the meet. When a match is completed, the app can be used to send each other messages and discuss the details of the outing. The company behind Kanpai Match is SVC, a company that provides a series of networking apps. Its Tomokore app lets you to discover new friends on popular chat applications like Line, Skype, or KakaoTalk….

Kanpai-Match

After a long day at work on a hot summer day, perhaps you feel like grabbing a beer — but it can be hard to get a hold of friends at the last minute. Now there is an app that helps you find drinking buddies of the opposite sex in your neighborhood. It’s called Kanpai Match (Kanpai meaning ‘cheers’ in Japanese).

Kanpai Match is presented as a Facebook app where users can enter information such as their initials, location, topics of interest, and profiles. The app then makes a recommendation everyday at 5pm, suggesting a possible drinking buddy in a nearby place. The app only recommends people of the opposite sex, so this may be more of a dating app than a casual drinking app.

After seeing their suggested match of the day, users can push the ‘Let’s Drink’ button to confirm the meet. When a match is completed, the app can be used to send each other messages and discuss the details of the outing.

The company behind Kanpai Match is SVC, a company that provides a series of networking apps. Its Tomokore app lets you to discover new friends on popular chat applications like Line, Skype, or KakaoTalk. Another one of its apps is Keijiban for Pazudora (‘Pazudora’ is a sort of Japanese portmanteau of Puzzle and Dragons) which is a dedicated bulletin board where users can find partners to assist them in the game.

How a Japanese women’s magazine is using Google+ to find its next top model

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CanCam is a women’s fashion magazine from publishing house Shogakukan, first published in 1982. The magazine is wildly popular among girls, especially those in their early 20s. The magazine’s circulation was high as 800,000 back in 2006, but it has declined since then. Its popularity was largely due to three popular models who appeared on the cover at the time. And now the magazine is searching for its next-generation model online. To be precise, they’re looking on Google+. Anyone over the age of 13 can participate in the contest [1], simply by posting photos of themselves with the dedicated #cancam hashtag. The magazine’s editors are looking for more than just girls who can pose, but also someone with a mix of talents such as styling, editing, and self-expression. The number of +1s a girl receives in a given day is taken into consideration as the magazine chooses one girl per day. Generally speaking, there are two types of girls/womens’ magazines in Japan: Aomoji and Akamoji. Aomoji are magazine that encourage girls to express themselves uniquely, and Harajuku street magazines or Kyary PamyuPamyu would fall under this category. But CanCam is the latter type, focusing more about whether or not boys…

CanCam-plus

CanCam is a women’s fashion magazine from publishing house Shogakukan, first published in 1982. The magazine is wildly popular among girls, especially those in their early 20s. The magazine’s circulation was high as 800,000 back in 2006, but it has declined since then.

Its popularity was largely due to three popular models who appeared on the cover at the time. And now the magazine is searching for its next-generation model online. To be precise, they’re looking on Google+.

Anyone over the age of 13 can participate in the contest [1], simply by posting photos of themselves with the dedicated #cancam hashtag. The magazine’s editors are looking for more than just girls who can pose, but also someone with a mix of talents such as styling, editing, and self-expression. The number of +1s a girl receives in a given day is taken into consideration as the magazine chooses one girl per day.

Generally speaking, there are two types of girls/womens’ magazines in Japan: Aomoji and Akamoji. Aomoji are magazine that encourage girls to express themselves uniquely, and Harajuku street magazines or Kyary PamyuPamyu would fall under this category. But CanCam is the latter type, focusing more about whether or not boys will like them. So in that sense, Google Plus is a sensible choice for the magazine. Looking at the comments on the model’s pictures, it’s not surprising that many of them are boys.

CanCam’s next generation model audition will start on July 23rd and will run for 100 days. The final winner will receive a 10 million yen contract fee (about $100,000). If you’d like to follow along, you can check out CanCam Plus to see how the audition is going.

On a related note, Google+ has previously been leveraged by Japanese girl supergroup AKB48, as we mentioned in a past article.


  1. Being a Japanese national is not an requirement.  ↩