Japan’s ‘Zuckerberg’

When I think of social media, I think of Facebook and when I think of Facebook I think of Mark Zuckerberg. So I came to the question, does Japan have a ‘Zuckerberg’?

Apparently they do. His name is Yoshikazu Tanaka he is the founder of the mobile social gaming network ‘Gree’. He is the second youngest self-made billionaire (right after Zuckerberg of course!)

I had never heard of ‘Gree’ but after some research I found that it hasn’t quite made its debut worldwide – but it is in the process of it. Gree now has 200 million players and is worth more then $1.6 BILLION. Gree is a Japanese mobile social gaming giant.


I found an interview conducted with Yoshikazu Tanaka and one question was:

“What do you think when you’re compared to Mark Zuckerberg?”

I laughed as this was exactly what I was researching into.

He replied with: “I started my business in 2004 and Facebook also started around 2004. Facebook became such a big company and I think they are doing well in how they are changing society. I think we (Gree) can change society in that way too, so I want to continue making a challenge.”

His goals in life are to “make an impact on society” he claims that of course it is good to make money but that isn’t his driving factor. Within researching Yoshikazu Tanaka I came across his Twitter feed, unfortunately it was all in Japanese just another language barrier into researching social media in Japan. By having a little scroll down his feed you can see that he consistently posts a mixture of text, pictures, links and a few re-tweets. I could see that hes done 485 posts and 40.1K followers.

It is interesting to find a celebrity with such a high fan-base and I had never even heard of him before today.

Japan’s GREE To Challenge Facebook And Zynga As Global Social Gaming Platform In 2012 | TechCrunch. 2014. [ONLINE] Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/06/japans-gree-to-challenge-facebook-and-zynga-as-global-social-gaming-platform-in-2012/. [Accessed 24 August 2014].

Q&A: Japan’s ‘Zuckerberg’ on his own success – CNN.com. 2014. [ONLINE] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/06/business/japan-stevens-tanaka-qanda/. [Accessed 24 August 2014].

GREE explains what GREE is | Joystiq. 2014. | Joystiq. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/12/gree-explains-what-gree-is/. [Accessed 24 August 2014].

Inside The Life Of This 35-Year-Old Self-Made Billionaire | Business Insider. 2014. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/gree-inside-the-life-of-35-year-old-self-made-billionaire-yoshikazu-tanaka-2012-4. [Accessed 24 August 2014].



  1. Hey Nicole!

    Wow another Mark Zuckerberg! I better start creating my own Facebook-like software to start making billions too! It is amazing really how Yoshikazu has become so famous and is being compared to Zuckerberg. I too have never heard of Yoshikazu and it actually really amazes me that even though his platform, Gree has not yet made it on a global level, or even to Australia yet, he is already the second youngest self made billionaire! Imagine when it starts to hit Australia and other countries.. Yoshikazu will be giving Zuckerberg a run for his money!!


  2. Apparently Gree has intentions to create an American expansion in the future. While Gree might not really be global yet it does have a North American version of its site up (http://product.gree.net/us/en/). With the relatively recent and drastic financial ups and downs for the company (http://www.techinasia.com/gree-investment-smartnews/) I personally wouldn’t bet on global expansion in the very near future, but I am still excited to see where they go and how they do it. While Facebook is a social media platform with a high emphasis on casual gaming Gree seems to be the reverse.


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