A recent Wall Street Journal story by Yukari Iwatani Kane suggests that blogs are a bigger cultural phenomenon in in Japan than the US:
Blogs, in particular, are contributing to the vast reservoir of online content. Stories that incorporate the Internet and that unfold in its anonymous, abbreviated writing style are proving to be especially popular — perhaps because they represent real, spontaneous conversation, not an author’s massaged prose.
Blogs are even more popular in Japan than in the U.S. It may be that they represent an appealing outlet in a culture that discourages public self-expression. Japan produced 8.7 million blogs at the end of March, and the U.S. an estimated 12 million blogs — making blogging far more popular in Japan, taking the countries’ relative populations into account. An estimated 25 million Japanese — more than a fifth of the population — are believed to read blogs.
Books based on blogs — which some people have dubbed “blooks” — appeal to Japanese who rarely go online as well as to heavy Internet users. “Even people that are on the Internet regularly buy books to read on trains,” says Taichi Kogure, a marketing specialist for Ameba Books Ltd., which published “Demon Wife Diaries.”
Thanks to Stowe for the pointer.