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Japanese Video Sharing Sites

Revolutionizing Internet Media

It has been over twenty years since the Internet arrived on the scene, and young people nowadays can hardly imagine a time without it. One of the most popular types of websites allows video to be shared.


Comments posted by users run across the footage, creating a sense that they are viewing the movie together.
©Magica Quartet/Aniplex, Madoka Partners, MBS

Communication via VideoVideo sharing websites were launched in the mid-2000s. With a myriad of sites offered in various countries and hundreds of millions of users around the world, they are hardly a novelty. So what is it about Japanese video sharing sites that make them so revolutionary?


Production of a Nico Nico Live original video program. The personalities watch viewers' comments on the monitor in real time and respond to them. ©niwango

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A new Japanese video sharing site was launched in 2006 with an added feature allowing users to post comments that run across the footage. The video's uploader could see the comments on-screen and immediately respond to them. Users can also add comments in real time while watching live videos, which develops a sense of solidarity and fosters communication among viewers—a feature not possible with previous video sharing sites.

The site offers several types of video communication services, all of which allow users to communicate in the same manner. The site provider produces original web-TV programs featuring politicians, TV personalities, and other celebrities. The programs progress and develop in response to real-time communication between viewers. The possibilities of this revolutionary new type of media feature have even caught the imagination of major politicians. Viewers enthusiastically post comments on the programs, knowing that they will be reflected in how programs develop, which in turn makes each program all the more exciting.


Nico Nico Commentary enables users to share comments while viewing TV or listening to radio programs currently on-air. ©niwango

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Besides streaming these original programs, another service allows users to post comments in real time on TV and radio programs currently on-air. Even if a user is watching or listening to a show alone, the feature creates an experience of enjoying it with many other people.

Another service allows users to upload original videos of them talking about their lives, performing a dance, or having a "virtual idol" sing their original songs. It is also possible for users to broadcast their performance live. Other users can, of course, post comments, but they can also create and upload their own videos inspired by them. The original video uploader and other users can again post their comments or upload videos in response. Through these manners the users' communication spins off endlessly.


Claiming to be "the final media," DOMMUNE is a site managed by Ukawa Naohiro, a video creator and contemporary artist. The top page features schedules for talk shows and DJ performances as well as tweets. ©DOMMUNE

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Programs Not Available on TVOne of the advantages of video sharing sites is the fact that unlike TV or newspapers, it is not necessary to have a large number of viewers or readers.

In March 2010, a new live streaming service site was launched. Specializing in music and the arts, the website offers programs featuring notable people who do not frequently appear in the media. The service uses Twitter to enable communication between performers in the videos and viewers. Talk shows featuring musicians, designers and other celebrities as well as performances by world-famous club DJs are offered on a daily rotating basis.

Transforming the Internet into a New Media

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Left: DOMMUNE's unique programs include performances by world-famous club DJs, provided on a daily rotating basis. ©DOMMUNE
Right: A talk show featuring a contemporary artist and an art critic. DOMMUNE offers almost everyday most leading-edge events of the kind that only museums can offer. ©DOMMUNE

The Internet offers many features unavailable in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and television. These include the speed with which a wide variety of information can be disseminated and the ability to search throughout the world for information quickly and almost without limit. However, until recently the only ways for content-providers and users to communicate were essentially unidirectional, as with traditional media, such as posting in comment sections or sending emails. And most of the available news has been stories traditional media outlets upload on their websites. The new Japanese video sharing sites are revolutionary because they have transformed the Internet into a completely different kind of media source. (February 2012)

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