Can I Become “Big in Japan”?

Can I go to Japan, reinvent myself and then suddenly become someone famous and special?

People throughout the ages have tried to reinvent themselves. Many do it when they leave home to go away to university. People do it when they move to a new city or get a new job. Others may travel to a new country to do it.

There are definitely some people out there asking themselves this question. There are also people out there asking that question to YouTubers and bloggers in Japan.

I suppose people can do this. I also suppose it really depends on what you think Big in Japan means. Does that mean that you can come to Japan and get lots of notches in your bedpost? If so, maybe yes. Then again, maybe no.

If you come to Japan and are visibly different in appearance, you’ll get noticed easier. You’ll stand out from the crowd a lot more than in your home country. That may be a good thing and sometimes not. That may also make out stand out even more to possible partners.

Tom Selleck made it “Big in Japan” in 1992!

If that’s Big in Japan for you, I suppose maybe you’re aiming a little low.

If becoming Big in Japan means becoming a YouTuber and making lots of money with the millions of subscribers you’ll get, then maybe you’re living a pipe dream!

It was a lot easier 8 years ago to get lots of YouTube subscribers in japan because there were very few people doing the YouTube thing. Now it seems that almost everyone who comes here to work or live starts a YouTube account and video blogs. Most of the videos simply blend into one another and for the most part all seem the same. It’s really hard to get noticed at all on YouTube in 2017 so don’t bank on becoming an overnight success. If you’re in your early 20’s and very attractive, you may have a chance of doing well. If you’re a middle-aged guy with a receding hairline (sounds a lot like the author), then being a YouTube superstar is a little harder to achieve.

Is being Big in Japan all about getting on Japanese TV? If so, there are definitely opportunities, but in a recent video by YouTuber Michaela, she explained the reason why she quit TV in Japan was because they never paid her! She was a regular on local TV shows in the area of Japan she lived in, but those appearances weren’t paid. They basically promised to elevate her status and notoriety, but for no money. I suppose that’s a lot like being a writer for the Huffington Post. It’s a no pay gig (for many of their writers) and basically all you have is bragging rights that you blog for Huff Po! Watch the video…it’s at the bottom of this post!

There are definitely chances for people to get into the entertainment industry in Japan or be “Big in Japan.”

Is it easy? The short answer is “No.”

If you want to be a successful blogger you need to be a good writer first. If you want to be a successful YouTuber you need to have amazing storytelling and editing chops. Being young and attractive helps a lot too. Having some sort of amazing skill wouldn’t hurt either. Those who make unique videos or have a cool angel may be successful as well.

Can you become a famous actor or TV personality? Things may get a little tougher then, but there are talent agencies you can join (haven’t heard many positive things about those though).

There are those out there in the world who really want to be famous. There are those who think that coming to Japan can be a short cut to achieving this success. It does happen for some people, but there is definitely no guarantee.

On that note, I’ll just post this and continue being a “Regular Guy in Japan.”


Here is the video made by Michaela about quitting TV in Japan. Great FYI video about how TV shows try to exploit YouTubers in Japan! This is a very interesting video. 


On a much less serious note…


The writer:

Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Kobe, Japan with his family.

Follow him on Twitter: @madformaple




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