Why LinkedIn is Important?

LinkedIn and Japanese

I have never used LinkedIn before, and it has never caused trouble in my professional life in Japan. I know the name LinkedIn itself as that noteworthy logo design disseminated into every web pages, though nobody around me had used or just have a login account without frequent use. Admitting that my ex-job was nothing to do with the cutting edge of IT field, I cannot believe that is the reason why I don’t familiarize to it.

While I was looking for, I encountered a very interesting page, Why Japanese Don’t Use LinkedIn, authored by James Riney, a CEO in Head of 500 Startups Japan, a global venture capital seed fund.

“Imagine that you are at a conference in Tokyo. As is the custom in Japan, for each person you meet, you formally exchange business cards by bowing and making it clear to them that you have thoroughly read their card before gently tucking it away. This is an important gesture. Not just because someone told you it was the custom in Japan, but because you have no idea who this person could be. Perhaps, he could be the former CEO of Toyota, so you figure you’ll play it safe and find out later, looking him up on LinkedIn.

You get back to your hotel with your stack of business cards and start searching names in LinkedIn… but “no results.”

2 hours later you get 5 friend requests on Facebook from people you met that day. “Why are they adding me on Facebook?” you think. “Don’t they know not to mix personal with professional life?”

Just looking at around me, I can say YES, that many of them didn’t make a definitive distinction in their social field. In fact, according to the LinkedIn company outline as of May 2016, the world user of LinkedIn reached over 433 million, whereas Japan has just more than 1 million. Considering its population of around 120 million, and the number of users in only HongKong has already the equivalent volume of Japan, it is apparent how Japanese doesn’t familiar with LinkedIn.


In the article above, James stated mainly three reasons as bellow.

  • As of the Japanese culture, many still seek the lifetime employment, and therefore it is even risky when their bosses see the completed profile of their people. Like, “He really intends to do job-hopping? I am not gonna let him!”
  • Because Japanese tend not to show themselves so openly, a profile sheet in LinkedIn that users are given to show their career accomplishments makes them feel like a kind of pressure.
  • Business in Japan is often done based on closed relationships, and building those relationships requires tight bonding. Sharing personal lives with one another is a good way for that, so Facebook is the enough tool to do so.

First reason might come up with the idea of job liquidity, as its rate in Japan is still lower than other countries because job security is a tradition. Therefore, for most people except for some fluid market like IT or something, it is not necessary to use LinkedIn.

The second one is, maybe, right. Japanese are modest culture, or perhaps, just sensitive to the reputation of people around him/her. “It’s displeasure to be thought if my ex-colleague look at my profile and view it as a flattering or make fun of it.”

In the third one, summing up “Facebook is enough, isn’t it?” As for me, at least until now, I was also a part of it. But wait! Do you know what the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn is?

Difference Between FaceBook and LinkedIn

Facebook is a California-based social site, with more than 1.78 Billion users around the world. Business pages had more than 25 million, but in most cases, users utilize it as a daily or social connection tool. Therefore, their capital source is more depending on the PPC advertising on their vast user basis.

Whereas LinkedIn, also coming from California, in a unique position, No.1 professional network site.The latest acquisition of Slideshare will also compliment this strategy. Slideshare is the professional sharing platform for PowerPoint, so if the user starts posting their best slides on their profile, it will make their profiles much more valuable. As a result, it will likely attract more professionals’ attentions into LikedIn.

Based on these skill dataset collected in this way, LinkedIn assesses and gets them straight with its strong data analysis skills and capabilities, which will be monetized by the corporate recruitment, so their business is perfectly matching to the B2B marketing. Given the recruiting industry is a $120 billion, the scattered systems or companies are standing in this field, and the countless professionals are finding their ideal jobs, demand for the LinkedIn will be rising more and more.

Due to its nature of LinkedIn, it is not clear that their reach will go beyond the professional, like a part time job or blue-collar workers, as their calibers are difficult to be qualified or standardized. Even though considering service of LinkedIn is filling a huge need for this recruitment industry, it will surely be more thriving in the future. In sum up, for the people who has a professional, or even seek to become a professional, LinkedIn has already been a necessary tool.

So, now isn’t the time to say that it is embarrassing to reveal your profile. Why not use LinkedIn?

( LinkedIn Profile: Toshiaki Kanayama )



Toshiaki Kanayama

Toshiaki formerly worked for the FMCG company in Japan as a quality engineer and had been managing a wider variety of product quality relating jobs with group members, involving in more than 200 testing phase of the new products, etc. until March 2015. While this period cultivated the ability of how to convey the information to nurture the understanding among the team in a various way, Toshiaki realized the power of data analytics exerted on the business and the lack of his insight concerning the business aspect. It leads him to study in the MSc in Digital Marketing Strategy at Trinity Business School from September 2016.