The Japanese Web 2004

It’s a little late for 2004 retrospectives, but I thought you guys might enjoy taking a look at what was hot on the web in Japan for 2004. First, the Google Zeitgeist, Google’s yearly ranking of the top search queries in each field, gives an idea of what was popular way back then. I do wish they’d give more detailed and constant statistics instead of just this little bit at the end of the year.

The #4 search query in Japan was 翻訳 (translation), nowhere to be found in any of the other top 10s that I can see. Are Japanese people more interested in learning about the rest of the world? Or is it that they just suck at English???

In a surprise upset, goth singer gackt beat out Bae Yong Joon (The silent-but-deadly Yong-sama) for most searched for man. And despite being kind of off the cultural radar this year (I think?), folk duo Yuzu popped up at #5. Kind of like how Kurt Cobain is STILL the #10 most sought-after image in America.

Next we have Yahoo!JAPAN‘s Web of the Year 2004. There was an ad in my Yahoo!JAPAN e-mail telling me to vote for it, and when I saw the nominees it was surprising how many websites I had never heard of. The list here should be a useful guide to all the most popular and trusted web sites in Japan.

Yahoo seems to have won a good portion of the awards, so who knows how impartial this thing was. But it’s possible that since it was hosted by Yahoo, the people voting already know about Yahoo and its services.

The top “Zeitgeist award” (話題賞) was 電車男 (Train Man), the romantic novel lifted directly from 2ch message boards. I really want to read this, so I have no idea why I didn’t buy it when I was in the country. Anyone coming to DC from Japan, buy it and I promise I’ll pay you back!

Anyway, I’ll leave the rest of it for you to draw your own conclusions. I’ll be using it to check out the links I wasn’t aware of, and I’ll get back to you with some highlights.

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