Japanese VTubers or virtual YouTubers use virtual avatars to create content and are very popular in Japan. VTubers post music videos, game reviews, drawing content, live stream and create sponsored video content. Most of the Japanese VTubers operate livestreams making use of the YouTube SuperChat function, a YouTube gifting system, and use real-time motion capture software. VTubers are widely known nowadays and have become very business focused and are a multi-million dollar industry. According to reports, Riku Tazumi, the co-founder of Nijisanji, a VTuber management firm, has a net worth of $1.1 billion just four months after the company went public, owing to its rapid growth.
In February 2023, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government assigned three VTubers as tourism ambassadors. Three virtual influencers from the Hololive collective – Mori Calliope, Gawr Gura, and Sakura Miko participated in this campaign. The group performed virtual tours around Tokyo as the city launched its first set of tourism ambassadors. This year there has also been an increase in other sponsored content on VTuber’s social media channels. The audience of VTuber is large and niche, perfect to target a more subculture demographic.
With the growing popularity of VTubers, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 leading VTubers in Japan for 2023. For Brands seeking to promote their products or those looking to reach a new audience in Japan, this guide will provide you with the latest information on the top Virtual YouTubers.
Top 10 VTubers in Japan 2023
- Gawr Gura
- Kizuna AI
- Houshou Marine
- Usada Pekora
- Shirakami Fubuki
- Inugami Korone
- Hoshimachi Suisei
- Minato Aqua
- Hyakumantenbara Salome
- Sakura Miko
1. Gawr Gura
Gawr Gura is a female English-speaking Virtual YouTuber, debuting in 2020 as part of the hololive English first generation. Gura is currently the most subscribed VTuber worldwide and has over 4 million YouTube subscribers. She’s good at rhythm games but is not good at horror games. She was chosen as a tourist ambassador for Tokyo as mentioned earlier.
2. Kizuna AI
Kizuna AI started her career in 2016 and was the first self-proclaimed virtual YouTuber. She is called “boss” among Japanese Vtuber fans because she is credited with creating the VTuber genre. The number of subscribers to her own YouTube channel, A.I. Channel, has surpassed 3 million, while the number of subscribers to A.I. Games, a channel dedicated to game streaming, has also surpassed 1.5 million. She has also made appearances on television shows and has starred in commercials, not only on YouTube. At the moment she is taking a break, but I’m sure she’ll be back!
3. Houshou Marine
The content of this VTuber includes illustration production, live gameplay, singing and more. The live streams include fast-paced talking, a diverse range of topics, and she expands on topics in response to viewer comments, which often keeps things interesting.
4. Usada Pekora
Usada debuted in 2019 as a third generation of hololive. Her nickname is Pecorar and she mainly does game streaming, singing and chatting with viewers. She likes plum wine and in 2020, one plum wine brand collaborated with her, making an original package.
5. Shirakami Fubuki
Starting her activities in 2018 this YTubers broadcasts live streams almost every day on YouTube and bilibili. She mainly does game streaming but also chats, does picture drawing and singing. She releases her original songs as well and sometimes performs at domestic and international events.
6. Inugami Korone
Starting her YouTube channel in 2019, this VTuber mainly streams live game playing. She collaborated with the Japanese post office in 2021 and 2022, making branded postcards or postage stamps.
7. Hoshimachi Suisei
Hoshimachi Suisei is a female Japanese Virtual YouTuber associated with hololive. While originally an independent VTuber who eventually was recruited into hololive, she is currently part of the “hololive 0th gen” alongside fellow solo debutants: Tokino Sora, Roboco, Sakura Miko and AZKi.
8. Minato Aqua
Minato Aqua is a female Japanese Virtual YouTuber debuting as part of its second generation of VTubers alongside Murasaki Shion, Nakiri Ayame, Yuzuki Choco and Oozora Subaru.
9. Hyakumantenbara Salome
Hyakumantenbara Salome is a female Japanese Virtual YouTuber affiliated with NIJISANJI. She is the first NIJISANJI solo debutant. She is currently the record holder for being the fastest VTuber to reach 1 million subscribers in just 13 days and a few hours.
10. Sakura Miko
Sakura Miko is a female Japanese VTuber. While debuting alone outside of a generation and working directly under Cover Corp., she was transferred to hololive. She is currently part of the hololive 0th gen alongside fellow solo debutants: Tokino Sora, Roboco, Hoshimachi Suisei and AZKi.
Working with VTubers in Japan
Many of the top VTubers are open to sponsorship and paid promotions, which is a great opportunity for brand partnerships. Recent campaigns have shown that VTubers can be an effective way to reach a niche audience.
Stay tuned for more on top VTubers in Japan and insights into the marketing trends in Japan.
If you’re looking to run an influencer campaign with VTubers or other YouTubers in Japan, please feel free to get in touch.