As a student of Japanese Studies, have you ever found yourself thinking, “What on earth do Japanese people think about (insert your topic here)?” or “How many Japanese people actually do (insert social habit here)?”
If you haven’t discovered the long-running blog, 世論 What Japan Thinks yet, you’re in for some enlightenment that could help flesh out your own observations about Japan.
Since 2005, 世論 What Japan Thinks has been regularly filling its’ archives with a wide breath of surveys and polls. Ken Y-N, the Scottish blogger behind WJT, tracks and translates recent opinion polls and surveys into English from a pool of Japanese sources including Dimsdrive and Goo ranking. It`s easy to lose a few hours browsing the archives.
Looking at WJT is an exercise in interpreting survey data, but with a touch of personal humor and entertainment. Every entry begins with a breakdown of the survey or ranking’s demographic. In addition to his English translation, Ken also supplements the data with tables and charts, helping the viewer visualize the percentages better. The layout of the blog is straightforward and there is a search bar.
There is a little bit of everything so even the casual viewer will find an interesting entry. Since the surveys are often internet-based, there tend to be many surveys related to how Japanese users view mobile phones, internet technology, online social networking, and blogging; for examples see surveys about Twitter and mixi.
If you look, you might also find a survey related to questions that have arisen in your own everyday experiences in Japan. For example, during the influenza scare of 2009, for almost 5 months the students in my English class wore a mouth-obscuring mask everyday. This was kind of frustrating for encouraging clear English pronunciation and I actually started to forget what their faces looked like. So, I was quite intrigued to see this survey about influenza prevention habits, mostly among adults. Masks aren’t necessarily a part of everyone’s habits, it seems.
I highly suggest visiting 世論 What Japan Thinks, subscribing to an RSS feed, or liking the facebook page. It`s an excellent resource for entertainment, information, and going beyond the generalizations about Japan, as shown in current market research.