iPhone Perhaps Not a Failure in Japan, After All?

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Image: Nobuyuki Hayashi

The perception of iPhone as a “failure” in Japan is largely the result of what people read in newspapers, according to Nobuyki Hayashi, the Japanese journalist who was cited as a source in the Wired article we posted on late last night, and who put up a lengthy post of his own Friday to clarify the situation.

“The majority of Japanese … haven’t even touched one,” Hayashi wrote, adding, “So as soon as I give lecture, show it to them and let them play with it, they change their mind and become a fan of iPhone.”

Much of the chatter about the issue in the iPhone blogosphere Friday stemmed from Wired writer Brian X. Chen’s headline, which stated unequivocally that Japanese “hate” the iPhone, but as Hayashi points out in his post, Chen relied on quotes from a conversation Hayashi had with writer Lisa Katayama back in late 2007 to make his case.

Obviously, much has changed in the iPhone ecosystem, a well as in the US and Japanese economies since then.

The reality is likely more that the iPhone has been a relative disappointment in Japan. Many believe the device could do much better in Japan if Apple gave SoftBank more control in how they market / advertise the device, and if Apple would enable feature sets dear to the Japanese consumer, such as a built-in TV tuner and the ability to use it as a mobile payment system.

For a detailed look at Hayashi’s position on the iPhone in Japan, see his blog post.

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