How many instant messaging services have taken off with the help of smartphones? WhatsApp and Skype are the most widely used throughout the world these days, but here in Japan we use LINE. What might be just another instant messaging service to some has been made into all the rage in Japan’s “cute culture” thanks to wickedly adorable mascots and creative methods of expanding your sticker collection.
Some services are convenient, but LINE is the only one I’ve ever considered to be fun.
LINE has been tearing through the Asian markets since its launch 19 months ago, and the app has just crossed the threshold of 100 million users with more than 400,000 new users joining the fun everyday. To celebrate the occasion, developer LINE NAVER has released a cute video with a mishmash of the company’s most popular characters doing silly things.
Trust me when I say that everything in Japan has a cute mascot. Even the garbage trucks in my neighborhood do. Nothing in Japan is a success if it doesn’t have a cute face to put to it, and LINE has at least five, including the ongoing saga of a rabbit and bear who have a thing for each other. I dunno, but their adventures are priceless.
If you haven’t tried LINE yet, give it a try. It has spread like wildfire thanks to strong word of mouth, especially since it has become a more convenient tool of communication following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. It supports games with a reward system, and new free stickers become available almost every other day to help get your collection started. It might sound cute and childish, but the pull of STICKERS is just too much for some.