This amazingly detailed theme park map is what Tokyo Ghibli Land would look like

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RocketNews 24:

At the Ghibli Museum in Mikata, Tokyo, in an enchanting building designed by Hayao Miyazaki himself, you can wander among sketches and storyboards, gaze up at the iconic Robot Soldier standing guard on the building’s roof, and learn about the history of animation.

What you can’t do is ride a Laputa roller coaster, a Sea of Decay log flume, or a monorail shaped like the Cat Bus, because a) Mr. Miyazaki would probably hate that and b) Ghibli is presumably doing pretty well out of its other endeavours and doesn’t feel the need to build an actual amusement park just yet.

So, alas, these beautiful plans for a full-blown theme park by Japanese artist and Studio Ghibli fan Takumi won’t be being realized any time soon. Which is a shame, because Takumi’s incredibly detailed Tokyo Ghibli Land is one theme park that we’d happily pay through the nose to visit.

Takumi posted his beautiful plans to Twitter on January 31, along with some pretty serious-sounding statements of intent.

And we are seriously impressed with the attention to detail in these plans.

At the centre of the imagined park is Calcifer as a Ghibli-style house with pipes and chimneys poking out all over the place. His lolling tongue rolls out onto Kingsbury Square, named after the fictional town in which Howl’s Moving Castle is set:

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Of course, guests to Takumi’s Ghibli Land park would need accommodation, and the artist has included Hotel Adriano (from Porco Rosso), and the Aburaya Bathhouse (Spirited Away) for guests to choose from. Leading up to the Aburaya Bathhouse is a beautiful homage to the street scenes from Spirited Away, the aptly named Buta-kui Food Court where you can (of course) eat like pigs:

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Elsewhere, there are other cool little details, like a Forest Animals attraction guarded over by Shishigami and occupied by a whole host of mythical creatures, and an Aviation Museum holding flying machines from a Flaptter (Castle in the Sky) to Jiro’s Birdplane from The Wind Rises. Snaking around the whole site, of course, is a Cat Monorail made up of five stuck-together Cat Buses.

▼ Shishigami (Princess Mononoke) and friends.

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▼ The Aviation Museum and Cat Monorail. We wanna go!

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Clockwise from top left: Hotel Adriano (Porco Rosso); Automobile Mountain (with a gun-toting Dora from Castle in the Sky); Laputa Labyrinth; Hatter hat shop (Howl’s Moving Castle); Uncle Pom’s Planetarium, Flying Flaptters and Tiger Moth Adventure 3D (Castle in the Sky); Therru’s Dragon (Tales from Earthsea).

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▼ Shishigami’s Animal Forest (Princess Mononoke); Zeniba’s Cake Factory, Aburaya Bathhouse, and Eat-Like-A-Pig Food Court (Spirited Away); Mei’s Acorn Hunt (My Neighbour Totoro); Jiro’s Bird-Plane (The Wind Rises); Atelier Antique Shop (Whisper of the Heart); Yakul Carousel (Princess Mononoke); Calcifer Talk (Howl’s Moving Castle). Centre: Irontown (Princess Mononoke).

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▼ Sea of Decay Cruise (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind); Koriko town and Gutiokipanja (Kiki’s Delivery Service); Cat Monorail; Aviation Museum.

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▼ Arrietty’s dollhouse; the Marsh House (When Marnie Was There); Sousuke’s Pop Pop Shop (Ponyo); Susuwatari Mansion (i.e. Mei and Satsuki’s house); Safflower Picking (Only Yesterday); Princess Kaguya’s Bamboo Grove; Fujimoto’s Twenty Thousand Leagues and the Devonian Period Aquarium (Ponyo); The Cat’s Office (The Cat Returns); Manpuku-ji Temple (Pom Poko).

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Top 5 Miyazaki films for those who have only seen ‘Spirited Away’ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

By now, you’ve probably heard of the legendary filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki and his award-winning animated film Spirited Away (2001)Some other Miyazaki fan-favorites that come to mind include My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving CastlePrincess Mononoke and Ponyo (If you haven’t seen these yet — go watch them! They’re classic Miyazaki and beautifully rendered).

But apart from these five, how many other Miyazaki films are well-known? With so many Miyazaki films, the average movie-watcher may not bother with films beyond the fan-favorites, but many of the lesser-known films are definitely worth your time. The more you get into Miyazaki’s world, the more curious it gets.

In honor of famous filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki receiving an honorary Oscar last November 8th at the Governors Awards ceremony, here are five of our favorite Miyazaki films that often fly under the radar.


 

1. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

http://www.ifccenter.com/films/nausicaa-of-the-valley-of-the-wind/

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is Miyazaki’s second feature film, and its animation, especially in the 1980s, is impressive. In fact, this is the very film that led to the creation of Studio Ghibli. The film is set a thousand years after an almost-apocalyptic war forces mankind to live in a polluted forest filled with huge insects. Luckily, the princess of the Valley of the Wind recognizes the importance of preserving the forest and its environmental significance.

 


 

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

http://geekimprovement.com/movies/movie/kikis-delivery-service/

Kiki’s Delivery Service is often known as the most popular with mainstream audiences, but it’s on this list because many core Miyazaki fans may not regard it as such. While there might be less drama, the basis of the film is its focus on character. The story is of Kiki developing a sense of independence and confidence though her delivery service (by broomstick) in a faraway city.

 


 

3. Castle in the Sky (1986)

http://www.mildlypleased.com/2014/02/miyazaki-month-castle-in-the-sky/

Castle in the Sky is an epic fantasy story with beautiful animation adornment. Not only was it Miyazaki’s third feature film, it was also one of the first to put Miyazaki on the map for being an excellent storyteller. The film is of an orphan girl who inherits a crystal that links her to Laputa, a legendary kingdom. During the adventure, she crosses paths with a brave young man, evil forces and ancient technology.

 


 

4. Porco Rosso (1992)

http://studioghiblibackgrounds.tumblr.com/post/29551707131/porco-rosso-more-for-portlybibliophile-image

Often referred to as Miyazaki’s strangest movie, Porco Rosso is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Kiki’s Delivery Service. An Italian pilot/bounty hunter has a curse that gives him a pig’s head in place of a human head. As he navigates his life in the early 1930s, Miyazaki gives us plenty of gorgeous airplane and aerial shots.

 


5. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

https://mubi.com/films/lupin-iii-the-castle-of-cagliostro

Right to the beginning is Miyazaki’s first feature film Castle of CagliostroLupin III is a criminal genius and sly thief who accidentally steals counterfeit bills from a casino. He traces the money to a small country, where he and his ninjas team search for a fortune and save a damsel. As Miyazaki’s first film, the animation techniques are a bit unrecognizable, but there’s something about all Miyazaki films (this one included) that capture a sense of wonder and adventure.

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Five Hollywood movies with a taste of anime/Japanimation

 

Homage Matrix DVD

RocketNews 24:

 

What do you think of when someone mentions Japan? Anime certainly may be one of the things that comes to mind with all the Japanese animations being seen around the world in recent years. In fact, those of us here in Japan are often amazed by how passionate and knowledgeable some foreign fans are about Japanese anime.

So, we guess it’s not a complete surprise if some Hollywood movies seem to have been influenced by Japanese anime. Movie creators would have watched anime too, and I think we all know to a certain extent how some anime or TV programs, especially ones that we saw as a child, can grab our imagination and never really completely go away.

Well, we happened to find a post on information-compilation site Naver Matome that listed some Hollywood blockbusters containing what seem to be subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) tributes and references to Japanese anime, which we thought would be fun to share with you. Let’s take a look below at the movies that were mentioned in the article.

 

1. Clash of the Titans 

Homage Titan DVD jacket

This visually stunning action adventure film is a remake of the 1981 classic based on the famous Greek myth of Perseus’s battle with the sea monster Kraken. In the 2010 remake directed by Louis Leterrier, the Olympian gods don’t wear traditional Greek robes but are instead clad in costumes that resemble medieval armor. Leterrier has said in an interview with the Japanese media that the armor-like costume was inspired by the anime Saint Seiya, which also borrows heavily from Greek legend and in which the characters battle with each other wearing special armor called “Cloths”. Leterrier says he is a huge of the anime which he saw in his native France and had thought the Cloths looked so cool that he wanted to pay homage to the anime in his movie. (Personally, this bit of information made me smile because it just so happens that I actually saw Saint Seiya on TV in France — although it was called by the fancier sounding French title Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque— when I home stayed in the country for about a month a long, long time ago when I was still in high school.)

 

▼Characters from Saint Seiya wearing their Cloths

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It’s hard to believe the popular anime, based on a manga of the same title, is now more than 20 years old! Back then, at least to me, the graphics seemed to be of very high quality by the standards of the time; okay, so the guys looked hot/cute/beautiful in their armor-style suits.

 

▼Zeus in his armor-like costume in Clash of the Titans — do you see a strong resemblance?

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2. The Matrix

Homage Matrix DVD

Many of you have probably seen this hit sci-fi movie, which caused a sensation in many parts of the world with its innovative story and stunning visual effects when it was released in 1999. It’s considered a classic cyberpunk movie, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the creators were inspired by anime of the same genre in making the film.

As those of you familiar with Japanese anime may expect, Akira and Ghost in the Shell are anime that are often cited as having influenced The Matrix.

 

▼Akira and Ghost in the Shell, both cyberpunk anime that likely had an influence on The Matrix

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Homage Ghost in the shell

The super-human powers exhibited by some of the characters in the Matrix are certainly evocative of parts of Akira, and Ghost in the Shell seems to have been even more of a strong influence, including the visual concept of a cable being connected into the neck, as well as the cinematography in some of the chase scenes. In fact, the directors of The Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers, have said that they were so impressed with Ghost in the Shell that they wanted to make a live-action movie like it and even gave a video of the anime to the creative staff when making The Matrix as an example of the kind of world they wanted to create. Oh, and speaking of Japanese influence, did you know that the falling green digital code that appears in the movie contains mirror images of Japanese katakana letters?

Well, I certainly think the Wachowski Brothers succeeded here in making a film that leaves a strong and lasting impression. The Matrix is a movie that kind of gets to you, isn’t it,when you start to wonder about whether the world you live in is … well, really real?

 

3. Avatar

Homage Avatar DVD

This is another mega-blockbuster many of you will have seen. Although the plot, which involves greedy business and military oppressing and attacking an indigenous tribe for materialistic gain, is not particularly original, the movie does create a whole new world visually unlike any we had seen before. And that’s definitely something Hayao Miyazaki, anime producer and cofounder of Studio Ghibli, also excels at. James Cameron, who directed Avatar, admits that he is a big fan of Miyazaki’s films.

As such, it is no wonder if there seem to be parallels between Avatar and some of Miyazaki’s works, be it the industry/technology vs. nature theme, the uniquely vibrant colors or the amazing, speed-filled flight scenes. Movie fans have also been quick to point out that the presence of a strong, attractive female lead character is another element Avatar shares with many of Miyazaki’s works, particularly bringing to mind San in Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind — both young women who battle fiercely against armies possessing sophisticated technology to protect the precious natural environment around them.

 

▼Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both films featuring young, strong heroines fighting to save the world they live in

Homage Princess Mononoke

Homage Nausicaa

There are also many visual details in Avatar that are reminiscent of images from Miyazaki’s anime, like the floating islands of rock that bear a noticeable resemblance to the floating castle Laputa in Castle in the Sky, or the supernaturally powerful tree with healing tendrils, which is a concept that also appears in Princess Mononoke. I’m sure it’s a testament to the creative genius of James Cameron and his team that they succeeded in making such a beautifully unique and thoroughly engaging movie while at the same time incorporating elements that we have seen before in some very well-known anime films.

 

4. Real Steel

Homage Real Steel

Perhaps befitting a movie set in a world where robots programmed to engage in boxing matches in place of human boxers, Real Steel is another film that contains images and references evocative of Japanese anime, which is after all, famous for its robot/mecha genre, among which some hugely popular anime such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion can be counted.

What could be more symbolic than the fact that the robot the main character comes into possession of is named Atom? Although the name may not necessarily ring a bell with those of you outside of Japan, Atom is actually the name by which Astro Boy , the iconic anime robot character, is known in Japan. I’m sure a lot of Japanese movie viewers smiled at that, since we all love Astro Boy here in Japan — in fact, I think most people over a certain age can sing the anime theme song completely by heart.

 

▼Astro Boy, or Atom as he is known in Japan

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Another anime that viewers of Real Steel may be reminded of is the classic Tetsujin 28-go, which was released in the United States as Gigantor. The design of some of the robots in Real Steel seem to bear a certain resemblance to those in the anime, and what’s more, the robot in Tetsujin 28-go is controlled by a young boy, which is also the case in Real Steel.

 

▼Tetsujin 28-go, the original Japanese version of Gigantor

Homage Tetsujin

Of course, for those of us in Japan, it was also good fun to see some other references to Japan as well in the movie, albeit not necessarily anime-related, such as one of the robots being initially set to be controlled in Japanese, and the young boy managing to give some commands in Japanese, saying that he learned the words playing Japanese video games. Well, you have to admit it is kind of nice when your country receives a positive nod of recognition in a big Hollywood movie.

 

5. Transformers 

Homage Transformers

I guess this sci-fi action film can be considered as receiving a kind of honorable mention here, as the movie is not exactly a work containing Japanese influences but rather based on a franchise that started as a line of transforming robot toys that was produced jointly by a Japanese and American toy company, so the series does have a good part of its origins in Japan.

 

▼Transformer toys from Takara Tomy

Homage Transformers toys 1

Since then, it seems that the whole franchise, including the animated series, has been a combined effort between American and Japanese companies with South Korea involved as well in the animation.

 

▼One of the earlier animated versions

Homage Transformers animated

Some fans also seem to think that the basic concept and some of the designs of the original Transformer toys were likely influenced by the anime series Macross.

 

▼The Macross anime series — the robotics certainly look sophisticated

Homage Macross

The Transformers anime was certainly a hit in Japan, but the question of whether it is technically an American or Japanese series still appears to be a subject up for debate even today. Well, either way, it’s certainly been a good source of entertainment for us, and we can’t complain about that.

 

Check out this link:

Five Hollywood movies with a taste of anime/Japanimation

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Anime news: Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray collection to be released with special bonus content

 

RocketNews 24:

Miyazaki DVD box

We’re sure many of our readers have seen films by Hayao Miyazaki and know first-hand what it is like to be utterly drawn in to the fantastic yet convincing world he creates. Now, it’s unlikely anyone familiar with Miyazaki’s works will dispute that he is a giant in the anime industry, but a new DVD collection which has recently been announced reminds us just how much of a giant he is.

That’s right, a collection of anime films directed by Miyazaki will be released on June 18, and we have to say the list of movies it includes is impressive. What’s more, the films will all be in Blu-ray and come in a fancy package with extra bonus content! What fan wouldn’t want one of these, right?

There will be eleven movies in the collection — most of them released from Studio Ghibli, but not all — from the very first theater-released film directed by Miyazaki to his latest work, The Wind Rises. Here’s what the box will contain:

 


[11 Miyazaki films in Blu-ray]
– The Castle of Cagliostro 1979 (Miyazaki’s first theater released film)
– Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984
– Castle in the Sky 1986
– My Neighbor Totoro 1988
– Kiki’s Delivery Service 1989
– Porco Rosso 1992
– Princess Mononoke 1997
– Spirited Away 2001
– Howl’s Moving Castle 2004
– Ponyo 2008
– The Wind Rises 2013

[Bonus Disc 1]
– Pilot film from Yuki’s Sun (5 min) 1972 (Pilot for a TV series, entirely storyboarded by Miyazaki himself)
– Three episodes of the TV series Akado Suzunosuke (30 min each) 1972-73  (storyboarded by Miyazaki)
– Promotional music video for the song On Your Mark by CHAGE and ASKA (7 min) 1995

[Bonus Disc 2]
– Miyazaki’s retirement press conference on September 16, 2013 (90 min, uncut)


 

How’s that for a full serving of Miyazkai anime?

And on top of all this, the collection will come in a uniquely designed box made from a special material with Miyazaki illustrations embossed on it.

 

This is what the box is expected to look like, although the actual product may end up appearing slightly different:

 

Miyazaki DVD box 2

Miyazaki DVD box 2 closeup

 

So, fans understandably have reason to be excited about this Blu-ray collection. Unfortunately, though, the collection doesn’t come cheap, at a suggested price of 64,000 yen (US$617) and marked down to 51,192 yen ($494) on Amazon Japan. Some Internet users in Japan have already commented on the steep price, saying that it would be more economical to buy the individual Blu-rays for just the movies that you really like.

Nonetheless, we have a strong feeling that there will be more than enough fans willing to pay that price to be the proud owner of this special Miyazaki Blu-ray collection. Whatever you think of the price, one thing that can definitely be said about the collection is that it’s guaranteed to provide many hours of quality entertainment. After looking at the list of movies included in the collection, we can’t help but be impressed with the volume and quality of the work Miyazaki has produced over the years. The only question we now have is, will Miyazakai remain in retirement, or is there a chance he might make a come back… again? Well, we guess we just have to wait and see on that, and maybe enjoy the movies in the Blu-ray collection in the meantime!

Source: AMAZON.JP via Yaraon (Japanese)

 

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Anime news: Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray collection to be released with special bonus content

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Twitter’s Top 5 Accounts Are All in Japan — Here’s Why

Mashable: 

Japan-twitter-web
During an Aug. 3 airing of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki‘s masterpiece Castle in the Sky, thousands of anime fans watching the broadcast in Japan tweeted in unison to coincide with an exciting scene during the film’s climax.

The resulting spike in Twitter activity didn’t simply surpass the previous “tweets per second” mark. It blew it out of the water. In one moment, the site experienced a whopping 143,199 tweets, more than four times the previous record. The influx of tweets was surprising. The party responsible was not.

Japanese Twitter users have set this record many times, most recently on New Years Eve 2013 when the clock struck midnight in Japan and Korea. A separate Japanese broadcasting of Castle in the Sky resulted in the tweets per second record back in 2011 and, during the 2010 World Cup, a Japanese goal during a match against Cameroon resulted in 2,940 tweets per second, a record at the time.

The tendency for Japanese Twitter users to tweet en masse is interesting, but it’s also indicative of a much deeper relationship between the country and the technology:

Roughly 30% of Internet users in Japan used Twitter in May 2013, compared to only 26% of Internet users in the United States, according to comScore’s 2013 Japan Digital Future in Focus report. (According to eMarketer, the GlobalWebIndex found those numbers to be 36% and 20% respectively for all of 2012.) The U.S.-based Twitter’s S-1stated multiple times that user growth in Japan is expected to exceed growth rates in the United States moving forward, and Twitter has more reach than any other social network in Japan, including Facebook.

Of the Twitter accounts responsible for the most all-time tweets, six of the top seven are Japanese, including all of the top five, according to social media analytics firm Topsy. While some appear to be Twitter bots, these accounts have racked up tweet totals in the millions.

comScore report chart twitter japan

Perhaps Twitter’s popularity in Japan stems from the fact that users can convey much more in 140 Japanese characters than users can with English. Perhaps, as Columbia Business School Marketing Professor Joseph Plummer suggests, the Twitter logo and name ring true with an audience that has eagerly adopted cute characters like Pokemon and Hello Kitty.

Between the records, the adoption, and the million-club tweeters, it appears that Twitter has staying power in Japan. And the Japanese culture is, in many ways, structured to support the service that relies on short, text-like messages.

The Culture

For starters, the Japanese were very early cellphone adopters, particularly when it came to accessing the Internet over a mobile device, says Thomas LaMarre, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who focuses on the history of Japanese media. While many Americans didn’t have Internet access on their phones until the late 2000’s, Japanese mobile users were surfing the web as early as the late 90’s, he adds.

By the time Twitter came along in 2006, people in Japan were already sharing status updates and posting messages on another social network called Mixi. This precursor to both Facebook and Twitter required a Japanese cellphone number, keeping the network restricted to those in the country, while simultaneously making it necessary for users to have a mobile phone.

It was an environment ripe for a service like Twitter.

The Japanese use their devices differently than mobile users in the United States. It’s not uncommon for commuters in Japan to travel more than an hour each way to and from work on crowded, public transportation, says Plummer, who has done business in Japan for years. That leaves a lot of time to stare at your phone and update your followers.

japanese-subway-crowded

Talking on your phone in public is frowned upon, and LaMarre says that when cell phones first became popular, it wasn’t uncommon for people to hide their faces with newspapers or magazines if they ever did need to make a call in public. Adds Plummer, “You could hear a pin drop on Japanese subways and trains. Even today, the Japanese get really aggravated at Americans who, of course, think nothing of talking on a cellphone in a subway station or the lobby of a restaurant or the train.”

In addition to Twitter’s mobile-friendly functionality, Twitter offers Japanese users another important luxury: privacy. Unlike Facebook, which works hard to ensure users are logging in with their true identity, Twitter affords users anonymity by hiding behind an avatar, an aspect of the service many in Japan find necessary, says Plummer.

And as much as it seems that Japan was built for a service like Twitter, the microblogging site is working hard to keep its relevance in the country. Twitter will be reliant on other Asian markets to help boost growth and revenue figures, making Japan an important foothold in the region.

In South Korea, Twitter faces “intense competition” from a similar mobile messaging service provided by Kakao, according to Twitter’s S-1. In India, many users are operating on phones with “limited functionality.” In China, Twitter is blocked. (A 2012 study from the GlobalWebIndex reported that in spite of this, China was still Twitter’s largest country by total users.)

Twitter listed Japanese social messaging service LINE in its S-1 as a competitor, and there’s little doubt that others will continue to surface across Asia. Twitter did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, although there are many indications the company values its Japanese user base.

Twitter launched its Japanese version in 2008, and following the 2011 tsunami that ravaged the country, Twitter built an emergency alert feature in Japan almost a year before doing so in the United States. Japan was also the third place Twitter opened a sales office behind only the U.S. and the UK. In the company’s S-1, Twitter wrote, “we have recently focused our international spending on sales support and marketing activities in specific countries, including … Japan.”

In Twitter’s “2012 Year on Twitter” review document, nearly all of the moments, trends, and top tweets mentioned were from either the United States or Japan.

Most-retweeted-Japanese-tweet-2012

This tweet by actor Kouichi Yamadera, who does voiceovers for Japanese anime characters, was the most retweeted message of 2012 in Japan.

Twitter’s most active adopters in Japan are, not surprisingly, the countries youngest group of Internet users, who are between 15 and 24 years old, according to comScore. More and more, Japanese youth are growing up with Twitter in their pockets, and common sense says that the result will be a well established Twitter presence for years to come.

Of course, there are no promises when it comes to Japan. In a country where tech trends move swiftly, Japan’s favorite device or product at breakfast could be old news by dinner time. “Whatever is new [in Japan] will either take off and grow, like Topsy, in an extremely short period of time, or it will disappear,” says Plummer. “There’s no slow growth adoption of technology in Japan.”

For now, at least, Japan has adopted Twitter as its own — and the feelings appear mutual.