LINE is Japan’s most popular instant messaging platform and it came to its place on top via cute emoji “stickers.” But maybe you’ve had enough of the cutesy bears and sparkling hearts. Maybe you need to let out some emoji anger when your girlfriend is being a bit clingy with her texts. Fear not! The LINE stickers of your dreams have been released and they are just as tough, and occasionally gruesome, as you want them to be! Welcome into the ring, Street Fighter II!
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Sep 25, 2014
When the son of the deposed king of Nigeria emails you directly, asking for help, you help, right? Well if you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, you know emails from a far away member of any royal family will obviously lead to some kind of scam. Unfortunately, those types of emails seem to pop up in our inboxes every other month. Don’t you just wish there was a way to get back at these people for trying to leech off of us honest, hard working folks?
Well, we’re happy to report that our Japanese reporter, GO, found a way to get sweet, sweet revenge on one scammer he encountered online, trolling so hard that the scammer gave up in a fit of rage. This is his story.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Sep 20, 2014
With the goal of being the first in line to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, Mr. Sato, our most outlandish reporter, parked himself in front of the Marunouchi Docomo store on September 15. After several nights living on the streets, finally the day had come! On the morning of September 19 at 8am, Mr. Sato, blue slime costume and all, purchased his coveted Apple gadget, but not before meeting famous actors and taking center stage in an interview. Here is his story.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Sep 19, 2014
With the release date of Apple Inc’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus still unconfirmed in China, buyers from the world’s largest smartphone market have been finding other means of procuring the much anticipated devices. It’s reported that Chinese resellers snatched up pre-order iPhones within hours on Apple’s Hong Kong website, hoping to sell the phones in China for as much as four times the retail price.
According to reports by Twitter users, buyers from China have also made their way to Japan with the goal of smuggling the iPhones back into China for resale. At the Ginza Apple Store, it’s estimated that as much as 90 percent of the more than 400 people waiting in line to buy an iPhone 6 are Chinese.
Aug 8, 2014
Remember when “poking” your friends on Facebook was a trendy thing to do? I feel old now just by recalling how my schoolmates and I could spend the entire evening “poking” each other online, refreshing the browser page every few seconds in attempt to return a “poke” at the fastest timing possible. Well, the younger generation who only got on Facebook in the recent year or two probably wouldn’t have an idea what I’m talking about since the trend has died down.
But you know how trends are revived every once in a while? “Poking” is now back with a new force, this time on the globally popular free messaging mobile app, LINE. Sorry to dash your hopes if you were looking forward to giving your LINE friends a cyber poke because LINE users are “poking” their favorite (or least favorite) anime characters and celebrities instead!
Aug 2, 2014
Last month, we brought you news of a scam wherein users of Line, a free messaging application popular in Japan and South Korea, were being tricked into buying prepaid cards on behalf of friends whose accounts had been hacked. Thankfully, Japan’s Line users were just as wily, and set to trolling the hackers in return, sending goading messages, irritating emoticons and even nude pictures, but the scamming still continues, with the app’s makers struggling to stamp it out.
But as these hackers descend to new levels of douchery, legitimate Line users are levelling up their troll powers, like this Twitter user who managed to get the scammers to abort by feeding them a tale of woe.
Jul 27, 2014
Bullying has been a problem in Japan, as in many countries, for quite sometime–and like many other countries, cyberbullying is the latest permutation of the issue. While cyberbullies in the west may be using Facebook or Twitter, it seems that the focal point of digital harassment in Japan is the messaging app Line. Regardless of the medium used, there’s no doubt that bullying is traumatic for those on the receiving end.
Sadly, despite numerous public education campaigns and class lectures, bullying isn’t simply going to disappear. Perhaps the deeper issue is one of empathy–we like to think that a bit more understanding would help reduce the problem. And a recent viral webpage does just that, showing how painful it is to be on the receiving end of digital harassment. However, the surprise ending is what really got people in Japan talking.
Jul 11, 2014
Although still relatively unknown in the West, Naver Company’s Line is by far the most popular messaging application in Japan right now, with millions of active users. But when an app comes to be embraced by so many people, it’s often only a matter of time before someone with too much time on their hands decides to spoil the fun for everyone by hacking users’ accounts in an effort to make money.
Cases of Line accounts being taken over have been on the rise since May this year, with many people claiming to have received messages from both anonymous users and those already in their contact list, asking them to purchase pre-paid WebMoney cards and send a photo of the card’s number over to them so that they can claim it.
Thankfully, most Line users are bright enough to recognise a scam when they see it, and know exactly how to respond…
Police in Mizuho Ward, Nagoya are searching for two men in connection with a robbery/assault that took place on 16 June. The victim, a woman in her 30s, allowed the robbers into her home because she had been expecting a visit from a man she meet on the popular text messaging service LINE.
Jun 17, 2014
On 13 June, the Omotesando Apple Store opened in Tokyo. It was a rare occasion, being the first of its kind to open in Japan since the Sapporo Apple store in 2006. Although no new product was released, an estimated 1,000 Apple fans came out to show their support in true Apple fashion by making a huge line.
We sent our local Apple line-up correspondent Mr. Sato to report from the frontline.
May 12, 2014
The social messaging service Line is a huge hit in Japan. It’s easy to use, free, and even lets you decorate your messages with stickers to add a personal touch.
All of this makes Line great for keeping in touch with your friends or dating partner. As a matter of fact, it might have just become a little too good at keeping you connected to your significant other, with a new set of stickers specially designed for clingy girlfriends.
Feb 6, 2014
Like them or loathe them, social networking services, or SNS for short, have become an integral part of our daily lives and society as a whole. While Facebook, Twitter and Naver Corporation’s Line offer very different experiences, most users will agree that without them, they’d feel lost, or at least have a sudden and unexpected amount of free time on their hands.
Recently, a survey was conducted in Japan which asked respondents about the services they used, asking them which they turned to most often, which they were most careful about using and sharing information on, and which they’d hate to be without. Join us for a peek at the results after the jump.
Dec 19, 2013
I remember the time when, back in junior high school, I was cruelly rejected by the girl I was crazy about. My hopes dashed to pieces, I went home and cried my eyes out. It hurt right down to the pit of my stomach and it took a while for me to get over it, but never once did it cross my mind that I should take revenge for being rejected.
For one girl in Japan, however, the same cannot be said. After having her advances spurned, this female junior high school student decided to get back at the young man she had hoped to form a friendship with. Assembling a violent mob of 20 girls, she went out for payback – and the worst part is, she and the boy had never actually met in person.
Dec 18, 2013
Naver Corporation’s Line has been steadily becoming a juggernaut of smartphone apps in recent months. Starting out as a mild-mannered free text and voice chatting application, it has since expanded into a drawing app, games, and even a recently launched Q&A service.
Now, the company’s free camera app has hit the scene and is causing a bit of a stir for its rumored ability to enhance anyone’s beauty. Our Japanese writer GO, who’s always looking for ways to improve his already stunning features, took it out for a spin.
Dec 5, 2013
Although still relatively unknown in the West, instant messaging application Line is pretty huge in Asia. Developed by the Japanese division of South Korean internet content gurus Naver Corporation, the application allows free digital voice calls and text messaging, and is loved by both Android and iOS users, no doubt in part thanks to the dozens of cute “sticker” icons that users are able to share.
When promoting the messaging app in Thailand, however, Naver seemingly decided to take an altogether different approach. Tugging at our very heartstrings, this ad tells the story of a recently bereaved father and daughter and how through “more LINE, Much closer” they become able to communicate their feelings more effectively. Clever marketing or not, this is a real tear-jerker.
Jul 19, 2013
On Wednesday, we brought you news of a horrific murder that occurred in Hiroshima involving a 16-year-old girl who allegedly beat and strangled an ex-classmate to death in the mountains, hiding the body there. Since both of the girls were too young to have driver’s licenses and suspicious messages were found on the alleged murderer’s smartphone, police suspected that there was another person involved.
Police have now revealed that not one but six more people have been arrested.
A shocking murder case has come to light in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, involving at least two high school girls–one of whom was the victim–and the communication smartphone app Line.
The body of the 16-year-old high school girl was found in the mountains outside of Kure City on July 13, after an ex-classmate was taken by her family to the police to confess.
John Stuart Translations
Jun 4, 2013
With over a billion registered users worldwide, Facebook is the king of online social networking services. In Japan, however, there are signs that its dominance is starting to crumble.
Facebook launched a Japanese version of its website in 2008. Initially, the platform experienced sluggish user growth as it struggled to compete with already established Japanese SNS sites produced by the likes of mixi, Mobage, and GREE. However, after well-known companies in Japan began to use Facebook as a marketing tool, it caught on with the general public and by the end of 2012 had 17.12 million users.
A mere five months later, however, that number has dropped to 13.78 million, a 19.5 percent drop in less than half a year.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Dec 10, 2012
Mr. Sato, you are the man! Not only were you able to obtain a Wii U before the rest of us even had a chance to hold one, but you had the audacity to show up to the release of the Wii U with a Wii U! And to top it all off, you were decked out in your signature look, “Blue Slime.”
Respect where respect is due!
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