As a complement to our study on the use of Web 2.0 tactics by the top 100 U.S. newspaper, we took a look at how the twenty largest Japanese newspapers are using the Internet.  Overall, we found that Japanese papers are not taking aggressive Web strategies (except when it comes to cell phones), and are behind their American counterparts in terms of Web offerings.  The study speculates that the lack of adoption of these tools by Japanese newspapers is a result of the structure of the Japanese newspaper industry itself and the unique newspaper culture in Japan.

Here are some of our key findings:

  • Only four of Japan’s top 21 papers are using RSS feeds. In comparison, 17 of the top 25 American papers offered this technology. In both the United States and Japan, none of these RSS feeds included advertisements.
  • Almost all of the Japanese sites had pages dedicated to cell phone access.  From looking at the results it could be argued that the widespread distribution of content via cell phone has made it less neccessary for Japanese papers to use RSS.
  • Just five of Japan’s top 21 papers offer reporter blogs. In contrast, 23 of the top 25 American papers have blogs on their websites.
  • The most widely used Web feature on the Japanese websites was video. Eleven of the 21 websites offer this technology.
  • Just one Japanese newspaper, the Shizuoka Shimbun, required registration to read online content. In contrast, nine of 21 American papers required registration, with some charging a registration fee. The Shizuoka Shimbun’s registration was free of charge.

Here is a graph showing the results of our study, comparing the top 21 American and Japanese newspapers.


You can download our full study here.

You can find links to sister studies performed in the UK, Italy and New Zealand here.