Is Japan just too sexy to be social? Or is there another explanation? Speculative reasons for such a poor show on these very popular sites fit nicely in to the category of ‘cultural differences’. According to some it is the instinctive need for privacy that discourages the Japanese from turning a molehill of vaguely known people into a mysterious contact mountain. At first glance this is a very admirable quality and it almost, almost makes us westerners take a good look inwards at our loose and unrestrained online behaviour and do some ‘friend cleansing.’
The statistics are interesting however, with Japan coming in third after China and the US for having the highest internet usage in the world, the relatively low figures of users on these social networking sites should be a concern only for the networking sites themselves. For companies or networking sites that want to have an impact worldwide, it goes without saying that they have to learn to tailor their procedures and systems to be appealing to all, taking into account different cultures and needs.
However, most of them are not localized, even though the main menus are translated by volunteers. Current Japanese users are English-friendly techies and enjoying English-origined applications. But most people do not like any English menu/contents on website except something used as design accent (roman alphabets are thought as “cool” for Japanese youth. As some western people love Chinese letters tatoos).
If, even if Facebook can get attentions of Japanese developers, and let them make all-Japanese facebook applications, then another problem comes up. What happens if a Japanese user invites his/her English friend to the Japanese application? System localization does not cover application menu localization, nor application contents localization." (RCRWireless)