Are you looking for the best gaming YouTubers in Japan in 2024? Look no further! Japan has a rich history and a long-standing reputation as a global hub for the game industry. Since the 1960s, Japanese companies have produced iconic titles such as Super Mario, Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Animal Crossing. These games have made a big impact on video game enthusiasts all over the world.
In recent years, the gaming landscape in Japan has seen a shift due to the popularity of social media platforms and influencers. Thousands of Japanese YouTubers are now sharing videos, using their channels to show off their gaming skills and thoughts to millions of fans. These content creators have become powerful figures in the gaming community, affecting how people behave as consumers and influencing what they choose to buy.
Japan boasts approximately 16 million PC gamers, contributing to a total gamer population of 55.4 million out of its 126 million citizens. As per research conducted by JapanBuzz, the number of Japanese-speaking gamers on YouTube outnumbers those of Korean and Chinese, with 15,810 speakers compared to Korea’s 3,700 and China’s 3,100.
According to a report, the Famitsu Game White Paper by the Kadokawa ASCII Research Institute, Japan’s gaming industry, which includes consoles, smartphones, and PC games, is worth around 2.03 trillion yen (about US$13.8 billion). A large part of this money comes from mobile games in Japan, specifically around 1.2 trillion yen. In terms of downloads, there were an estimated 620 million mobile game downloads in Japan last year. Out of these, the majority of downloads were made on Apple devices.
The Japanese gaming market is predominantly led by the RPG genre, with action, shooting, simulation, adventure, sports, and puzzle games trailing behind. Puzzle games, in particular, have a huge female fanbase in Japan. In 2024, titles such as Minecraft, Fortnite, and Pokemon appeared in popular YouTube search queries in Japan, underscoring their immense popularity.
So, let’s dive in and explore the most popular YouTube channels for gaming in Japan!
Top 10 Gaming YouTubers in Japan 2024
Category: Nintendo, Comedy, Minecraft
Hikakin, born Hikaru Kaihatsu, is a famous Japanese YouTuber, beatboxer, and co-founder of UUUM, a Japanese media network. He gained fame and recognition after his Nintendo Super Mario Bros. beatbox video went viral in 2010, which now has 55 million views. Hikakin is one of the most famous YouTubers in Japan, releasing videos across his 4 active official YouTube channels, HIKAKIN (His main channel), HikakinTV, HikakinGames and HikakinBlog. With popular Twitter, TikTok and Instagram accounts — He’s respected for his kindness towards others and for having little controversy despite his immense popularity.
HikakinGames, the most subscribed channel in Japan for games, has more than 2,100 videos and 7.5 billion views. He plays a wide range of titles, including Battle Royale, Apex Legends, Puzzle and Dragons, Zelda and the other Nintendo series. Out of all his playlists, Minecraft is the most popular, and the series is known as ‘Hikakura’, a play on his name and the Japanese nickname for Minecraft, “Maikura.”
Category: Game Live, Nintendo, Let’s Play, Horror, Comedy
Hailing from Hokkaido, Kiyo is known for his energetic style of live gaming. With other players, he often plays multiplayer games such as the Super Smash Brothers Series, Pocket Monsters and Detective Conan. He does this by inviting friends on his channel through Wii Party, and IRL games. As a gaming YouTuber in Japan, he is mainly good at games such as fighting games, action games, racing games, and sports games.
Since the beginning of his gaming career, Kiyo was a member of the group ‘Saishu Heiki Oretachi’ with other Japanese gaming YouTubers. A lot of his audience enjoys his funny overreaction, such as screaming during horror games.
His Youtube channel has English subtitles, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for an easy transition into Japanese Let’s Plays. He has recently created his original anime called ‘Kiyoneko’ featuring his cat and daily gamer life. For his discography, he also released most songs in collaboration with his co-gamer Retoruto!
Category: FPS, indie, and VR (virtual reality)
Pocky, not to be confused with the chocolate snack, is a Japanese gaming YouTuber with a distinctive voice known for creating funny game commentary videos. He was once a member of the UUUM agency and has over 3 million subscribers on his official YouTube channel. Pocky started posting commentary videos on YouTube in 2011, and after graduating from high school, became a full-time YouTuber.
He posts a video almost every day, with many of his older videos having English subtitles. He’s a fan of Biohazard and also plays overseas tiles, games that Japanese people play less often. These include games like The Walking Dead and Hitman. Aside from live video games, Pocky’s also posts cooking videos, radio videos, reaction videos and live broadcasts.
Category: FPS, Simulation Games, Live Gaming
This channel is all about live gaming, run by two Japanese YouTubers, with a focus on a slightly older audience. These two real-life brothers go by the stage names 兄者 (Anijya) and 弟者 (Otojya), which mean “older brother” and “little brother” in Japanese. Along with their manager Otsuichi, they create Let’s Play videos as a group called ‘TEAM-2BRO’. They cover a range of genres, including horror, action, and shooting.
Their videos usually centre around horror games, and the editor uses image illustrations to capture their reactions and emotions. The majority of content on 2Bro’s channel revolves around FPS (first-person shooter) games, as both Otojya and his older brother enjoy them. However, they also play city management simulation games and driving simulation games.
If you’re interested in improving your conversational listening skills in Japanese, you should check out their videos, where they play together in pairs or groups.
Category: Comedy, Card Games, Let’s Play
Hajime Shacho, also known just as Hajime, is a popular Youtuber in Japan known for his variety of talents such as Comedy, Reviews, Pranks and Vlogs. Even though he is one of the most subscribed YouTubers in Japan, he is also known for his kind personality, as seen in his interview with The Anime Man. His Hajime Shacho 2 Channel focuses only on gaming. On this channel, he makes his content child-friendly which is good for family viewing.
His gaming channel has videos that include Attack on Titan, based on the Japanese manga series, and the hunting action series Monster Hunter. He sometimes creates videos about purchasing the premium service of Monster Hunter, the amount which normal people cannot afford. His channel also gains views from Pokemon fans and game card fanatics.
Category: Vtuber, Pokemon, Live Streaming, Biohazard
Marine is a renowned virtual YouTuber in Japan, associated with the prestigious Hololive Production. Currently, she boasts the title of the 3rd most subscribed VTuber, amassing over 2.86 million subscribers on YouTube. She likes to make jokes and is seen as a bold personality. In her high school years, she demonstrated her creativity by designing an RPG.
She plays games in her YouTube videos from the Pokemon and Biohazard franchises, while her favourite, the Touhou Project – a thrilling shooting action video game, often takes the limelight.
Category: Minecraft, Roblox
Maizen is a YouTube channel operated by three YouTubers named Zenichi (JJ in the English Channel), Mikey, and Carrie. Their goal is to create entertaining content that everyone can enjoy. What sets their videos apart is that they craft original stories, like a sitcom, within the Minecraft world.
The Japanese Maizen channel was launched in 2015, and they also have an English channel with 4.5 million subscribers. They have uploaded over 1,600 videos and are known for their gaming and entertainment-style content. Most of their content features Minecraft videos and Roblox games, showcasing creativity and cleverness. They cover various types of content, such as challenges, 100 days survival, and funny skits.
Additionally, Maizen has a popular website, merchandise, and active presence on social media platforms like TikTok.
Category: Game Live, Nintendo, Comedy, Let’s Play
Retoruto, also known as ‘Reto-san’, is a gamer from Kyoto, Japan. He has a unique voice due to a nasal condition, which makes him easily recognizable in the gaming industry. His style of speaking is slow and easy to understand. Since 2008, he has been posting game videos on Niconico and later YouTube, playing various genres like horror, action, and retro games.
He plays many different games, such as Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, Detective Conan, One Piece, Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers, and The Legend of Zelda, along with horror and Nintendo games to attract more followers.
One of his popular content was a Let’s Play series on the game “Kimi ga Shine: Tasuketsu Death Game”, which boosted the game’s popularity. He often plays free or cheap games, showcasing their bugs and providing humorous commentary. This unique genre, called “Bakage” or “absurd games,” has become Retoruto’s speciality. One memorable example is when he played a free Japanese mobile game called “Skipping Class!” where the goal is to escape from an angry teacher dragging you back to the classroom by the ear.
9. Usada Pekora
Category: Vtuber, Nintendo
Usada Pekora, a 110-year-old Moon Rabbit from Pekoland and Vtuber from Hololive, has gained popularity in Japan with over 1500 videos on her channel. Usada Pekora ranks among the top female live streamers and YouTube super chat earners in 2024. Her distinctive way of talking, marked by the word “peko” at the end of her sentences, adds to her charm and popularity.
She showcases her gaming skills in her video content, playing titles such as Super Mario, Grand Theft Auto, Mario Kart, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil, often earning the nickname “war criminal” due to her aggressive gameplay style. She’s known for her unique laugh, sarcastic comments, and giving life advice to her viewers.
10. Natsuki Hanae
Category: Horror, Psychological, Let’s Play
Natsuki is a well-known Japanese voice actor who has voiced famous characters like Tanjiro Kamado in Demon Slayer and Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul. He has also lent his voice to characters in anime shows like Food Wars and The Case Study of Vanitas. Besides his voice acting work, he’s a popular gaming YouTuber in Japan, starting his live-streaming journey in December 2016.
Many subscribers are thrilled to hear Tanjiro Kamado’s famous voice while he plays video games on YouTube. Natsuki often collaborates with other voice actors in his YouTube videos. He mainly focuses on horror and psychological games, including titles like Night of the Dead, Escape The Backrooms, and Quest Rooms. You’ll find a wide range of genres on his channel, including occult, puppet, and ritual games. If you enjoy watching scary video games, his channel is definitely worth checking out.
Collaborating with YouTube Gamers offers a fantastic chance for video game companies to grow in Japan using social media and influencer marketing. When these extremely popular influencers team up with brands, they can help brands connect with their desired audiences on a more personal level. The exciting and interactive nature of the channels lets game developers show off their titles, highlight important features, and create excitement for new releases. Moreover, partnering with gamers can also give insight into useful information about what consumers like and current trends. This can help improve their products and marketing strategies.
Working with Japanese Gamers can be challenging due to cultural differences specific to the Japanese market. Language can be a barrier, with influencers typically writing captions and hashtags in Japanese, sometimes with a mix of English for style. It’s essential to have someone who understands Japanese to communicate effectively with influencers and their audience.
Many gamers in Japan are managed by well-respected talent agencies such as UUUM and Hololive, so negotiations and connections with talent agencies in Japan are usually essential. This being said, many YouTubers have left the larger agencies to pursue new directions, and there are many independent gamers to collaborate with.
Japanese audiences have a reserved nature, so they tend to be less active in leaving comments, likes, and shares compared to other markets. This may lead to lower engagement rates. It’s crucial to keep this in mind when assessing the effectiveness of your campaigns in Japan.
Finally, it’s extremely important to have a clear understanding of the YouTuber’s image and ensure that it aligns well with your brand. Any problems can potentially result in negative feedback, so it’s vital to fully understand the channel’s audience and values.
If you’re looking to work with Gaming influencers in Japan, then please get in touch!