Every day, you can find new and interesting ways to practice Japanese. There are plenty of ways to find Japanese to read, and a few to find language partners. Twitter has always been popular in Japan, and an easy and free way to get a stream of modern Japanese, but sometimes you want more than 140 characters of text.
That’s where “Twitcasting” provides a cool alternative. You might already have heard of Periscope, which is popular in the United States, or Meerkat, its competitor. Twitcasting is similar - allowing you to watch live video-streams uploaded by users all over Japan, famous and, well, not-so-famous. Though Periscope is growing fast in the West, in Asia, Twitcasting has been growing since 2010 and has over 10 million users already! Since 80 percent of those users are in Japan, and most of the rest in Brazil, it’s gone relatively un-noticed in the West.
TwitCasting actually has two different apps — one for broadcast and one for viewing — and allows both broadcasters and viewers alike to chat with one another. It was created by Moi Corporation, a Japanese company. Users go to Twitcasting for a variety of reasons. Some people enjoy live streaming and chatting with the Twitcasting community. Users enjoy sharing their live moments and some interact with viewers while they do daily routines, such as applying make-up, cooking, commuting, chatting, and singing karaoke. Twitcasting’s custom-made encoder makes it possible to livestream almost anywhere as long as there is the slightest of 3G reception.
When former AKB48 idol Tomomi Itano went solo, she streamed promotional videos for a new single on both YouTube and Twitcasting. While only about 4,000 people watched her 37-minute YouTube stream. 22,000 tuned in for her six-minute Twitcasting broadcast. Maco, a popular Japanese singer who covers western artists, asked her Twitcasting followers to support her new album after it was released. It hit number one on the Japan iTunes charts that day. Pop culture icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is also a user, and the service has even been featured in a film and a hit manga.
Even Japanese politicians have gotten on board. In last year’s National Diet elections, five parties used Twitcasting to reach voters. A stream by one candidate had over 170,000 viewers. A different candidate in the race for Tokyo governor attracted nearly half a million viewers. Twitcasting’s official Twitter account (@twitcasting_jp) is the third-most followed account for Japanese-language web services and apps, with 1.2 million followers. Only smash-hit mobile game Puzzle & Dragons and Twitter Japan have more followers, with 1.7 and 1.5 million respectively.
Twitcasting is available on iOS, Android, and PC - and it’s free to watch!
Interested? Give it a try - here’s a link to some popular Japanese feeds:
Tech in Asia