Often coined as a content wonderland, Japan has certainly had an interesting 2023 as it’s the first time the country has had its borders fully opened for an entire year since the pandemic. While we have seen some abhorrent behavior from overseas streamers and YouTubers, the local creator community are, for the most part, individuals who produce entertaining yet respectful commentary on the country in which they live. To wrap up the year, we spoke with several Japan-based content creators to get their thoughts on how 2023 was for them and what their audiences can expect moving into the new year.
Akasan, Comics and Anime Reviewer at Comics Plus!
“[Moving forward in 2024], I’ll try to minimize the amount of work for just one platform and invest in other platforms. There’s only a few opportunities that come up every year and a lot of the bigger platforms such as Twitch and YouTube have really made it harder to grow without being somewhat controversial. I also plan to find other forms of social media to grow a bigger audience.”
Check out Akasan on YouTube.
Blu and Grey, Twitch Streamers at Blluist
“As gaming content creators, this year was full of amazing releases so it was a blast to venture through so many great titles with the community. Offline events like Tokyo Game Show that were affected by Covid came back this year and that was another great experience to have.”
“[In 2024], IRL streaming will definitely continue to grow. Despite the bad apples we have seen in the news, there are a lot of creators who do it well and in a positive manner. We’ve noticed personally that outdoor content does well. It’s interesting how a mundane walk through a neighborhood in Tokyo can turn into an adventure of unpredictable events by streaming it.”
See Bluist on Twitch.
Ebunnybee, Singer, Voice Actress and Twitch Streamer
“An increase in events and in-person activities in Japan has caused me to prioritize my social life and mental health over content creation. Maintaining a balance has always been a challenge, but being fulfilled in my personal life has positively impacted my headspace when creating content. When it’s time to sit down and create, the quality is far better this way. While short-form video content will continue to take priority for most, I feel like a good amount of social media users in Japan may journey into platforms that offer live interactive exchanges with content creators, for example TikTok Live, Twitch, YouTube streaming.”
See Ebunnybee on Twitch.
Gigguk, Anime YouTuber and Podcast Host
“2023 has been a very busy year for me in terms of content creation. Even if the focus hasn’t always been on online content but trying to push myself with different kinds of content like live shows. I want to continue pushing myself to explore things outside my comfort zone. I have some big projects scheduled that I’m excited to work on in the coming year.”
Gourmetmei, Food and Drink Twitch Streamer
“[In 2024], I just want to keep a schedule of streaming once a week and become more consistent. Ultimately, I want to get better at chatting and cutting fish all at the same time! Hopefully, I can also learn how to build a community that appreciates the same things. With more foreigners moving to Japan to join the workforce or even study abroad, I feel like there will be a lot more people picking up their phones to create content about Japan. I hope people can make more content outside of Tokyo though, since it’s really getting too crowded with residents and tourists. The more interest in Japan, the better it is for businesses!”
Follow Gourmetmei on Twitch.
June Lovejoy, JAV Model, Producer and Cosplayer
“2023 was less about creating content and more about guest appearances and making connections or networking. Within my own content I have seen a switch in focus from NSFW to SFW work. It wasn’t a planned change, but rather happened organically, I was able to start properly running my fan clubs like Patreon and my online news site Tokyo Love District, but 2023 was definitely a year spent making many connections and nurturing relationships within my industry. I have never felt comfortable IRL-streaming in Japan and I fear as a result of people like [Johnny] Somali or other nuisance streamers, IRL-streaming will become more and more difficult to do in Japan. I wonder how this will affect my friends who IRL-stream.”
Read our interview with June Lovejoy.
Manu, Anime YouTuber at Ohara The Fox
“September 2023 marked the 5th year anniversary of me starting my first YouTube channel, which against all expectations has allowed me to turn a hobby into a full-blown career, combining many of the things I love the most in life: anime, making films and meeting new people. It has also been the year where I managed to crack the magic 1 million subscriber mark. I am grateful to everyone tuning in to my videos and also incredibly proud of my creative and talented team who have helped me make this happen.
2024 will bring a lot of change to the world of content creation, even more than the previous years. On the one hand, we will see a lot more use of AI in positive and creative ways, but also a lot of purely AI-generated channels meant only for harvesting views. And no matter if TikTok or YouTube Shorts, short-form content will continue its sharp rise and bring out a ton of new talents and new niches. On the other hand, me and many other creators expect to see the exact opposite trend to happen for long-form content, where we think that people who might be exhausted from the flood of short-form content will be looking for longer, slower-paced and much more in-depth videos to enjoy.”
Follow Manu on YouTube.
Sam Lucas, Professional Driver and Drift Car Digital Content Creator at Sammit
“2023 was a new experience for me. Becoming a new dad really challenged me and it has definitely helped steer my content this year. I really like where things are going. I think right now is an exciting time to be in Japan. Many things seem to be starting to catch up with the rest of the world and whether you see that as a good or bad thing, it’s something that’s exciting to see and will bring change to the content we film here. Expect more opportunities and more Japanese brands and companies getting behind your favorite creators.”
Check out Sammit on YouTube.
Andrew and Meng, LGBT Digital Content Creators at Tokyo BTM
“We have had many opportunities to collaborate with other creators this year and we have also been able to do a lot more vlogging due to Covid restrictions lifting. Separately, we have noticed that our channel growth has been slower compared to 2021 and 2022. It may be due to Covid calming down and people not being in front of a screen as much. Other platforms also have been more focused on shorter video content, which is challenging for long(er) video creators like us.
[In 2024] we want to hit 100,000 subscribers! Please go and sub now haha. Apart from that, we want to explore vlogs a bit more than what we have done before. Now that Japan is open again and mask restrictions have been lifted, we are seeing a huge increase in Japan tips videos, travel vlogs and recommendations.”
Read our interview with Tokyo BTM.
Tristan Junker, Subculture YouTuber at Around Akiba
“ was a year full of both growth and change for our channel! We had grown significantly viewer-wise in the year prior, and with plenty of new eyes on us, we decided to start changing up our formula a bit. We have more staff on board now and a whole network of amazing and talented content creators in Japan, so we’ll do our best to amp up the production quality of our videos, upload more frequently, and bring the kind of content people both abroad and in Japan want to engage with!”
“I think there are more eyes on Japan and Japanese content creation now more than ever, so I feel like 2024 will see even more aspiring content creators coming to Japan. With tourism in full swing again and content creation taking the mainstream too, I’m predicting that businesses and events will start growing in scale and hosting more enticing aspects to draw in content creators. Regardless of what 2024 brings, you know we’ll be there!”
Check on Tristan on YouTube.