Today the Twitter founders and the Twitter team from Digital Garage announced via a live streamed press conference that it is launching its Japanese language version of Twitter. Digital Garage have been working on the Japanese market introduction of Twitter to develop a Japanese language version of the popular microblogging platform. This is the first time that Twitter will be available in a language other than English.
Japan has taken to Twitter at a ferocious rate, with Tokyo being the largest origin city for Tweets in the world (twice that of second placed San Fransisco and New York) using the previous English-only version. The number of Japanese users is growing at an accelerated rate already within the tech savvy community and it is expected that the Japanese version will give an additional boost as it can now support mainstream users. The local language distribution of online platforms has traditionally been a key point to growing larger sites in the Japanese market, with services such as Yahoo and Google blossoming only after they offered the Japanese verison.
The fear however is that Twitter is popular because it is foreign and users feel they are cutting edge because they are using a product that is cutting edge enough to not have been translated yet.
The Japanese Twitter will also have another first. It will be the first time that Twitter displays advertising within the Twitter page. When you switch to Japanese language, you will see an ad panel above your sidebar.
Initial reaction in the Japanese Twitter community is a lot of chatter but a lukewarm response to the advertising and a good dose of criticism about the quality of the translation.
This is a first release though, so I will reserve judgment. What will be telling is how fast the Japanese user base grows from here.