Japanese Jazmine revolution springs from TwitCasting
Published: February 24, 2014
How Tokyoites checked their gubernatorial candidates
The election for Tokyo governor took place few weekends ago, and the candidates were desperate to get their name on voters mind. Tokyo is the biggest urban region in the world in terms of GDP with 1.9 trillion US$. In comparison to countries, it slips in at 15th highest just short of Australia and above Mexico and South Korea. It is pretty big deal to be the head of this gigantic metropolis.
Use of internet for election campaign has long been prohibited in Japan. Candidates were not allowed to update their website, blogs, or any social media during the election period, until election of the House of Council in 2013. Like all the first timers, it was used quite awkwardly and not much result was seen. Almost a year has passed, and this time around we saw the candidates utilizing the tool likes of Facebook, Twitter and TwitCasting to communicate with voters in a tangible way.
Although Facebook is widely used amongst the candidates, overall penetration rate in Japan is relatively low at 17%. Average “Like” on 4 biggest candidates’ posts was about 500. The runner up, third and fifth candidates, Kenji Utsunomiya, ex-Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and 35 years old serial entrepreneur Kazuma Ieiri all broadcasted every single day of campaign period, using live streaming app TwitCasting gaining more than 1,200,000 viewers and 150,000 comments.
Candidates used TwitCasting to livestream public speeches and discussions. On top of those, the app allowed the candidates to have realtime communication with the voters in slightly different manner than text-based SNS. When candidate look in to the screen to read viewer’s comments, it gives viewers similar experience of having a real conversation with the broadcaster. Tech entrepreneur Kazuma Ieiri used hashtags on Twitter to gather petitions and policy ideas from Tokyoites. He then brushed up the ideas while livestreaming on TwitCasting which summed up to 63 hours of broadcast and 120 policies to govern Tokyo. Hosokawa broadcasted 39 hours livestream with 450,000 viewers in total and his Twitter account added 30,000 followers during the period. The rival candidate who did not use TwitCasting only gained 2500 followers.
Other Japanese tech companies also contributed to the election. The well known 6 Japanese Tech companies formed a coallition to promote the campaign, and sponsored a public discussion of 4 biggest candidates gaining 20,0000 viewers, in comparison to 120,0000 viewers of TwitCasting without any partnerships.
TwitCasting lifts young voters
Contribution of younger generation was one of the highlights of the election. The youngest candidate Ieiri met up with the rival candidate, Morihiro Hosokawa in the midst of the campaign period, and during the meeting Ieiri taught Hosokawa, 43 years older than Ieiri, how to broadcast and effectively communicate on TwitCasting. The lesson lead Hosokawa to livestream every day after the meeting.
Use of Internet for campaign also gave younger voters stronger awareness about the election. The election day was visited with the biggest snow storm in decades which dropped the overall voting rate significantly. The rate of 20 and 30′s
did not drop as much as upper generations, 80% of users are 20′s and 30′s and 40% are resident of Tokyo. It is safe to say that the social media in political campaigns will be more influential in the country that is already wired flawlessly. TwitCasting definitely played a part in this election and even more in the future.
TwitCasting” is service to let you stream live video.TwitCasting was launched on Feb 2010, and it has more than 5 million as of February 2014. Our service is polular in Japan basically, but has a large number of users in Brazil, Mexico and other countries.
Phone: +81-80-5477-8579(Yoshitaka Yanagida)