Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

What “WWW” stands for in Japan?

July 6th, 2008 by

japan www means lol

While following Japanese tweets (and ofcourse other user generated sites like BBS) you must have seen the letter “w” being used sporadically at the end of lines on Japanese text. Ever grown curious what that may mean??

iShare Inc. conducted a research on how Japanese recognizes “www”, among 472 internet users (valid responses).

The findings:

laugh vs URL

Percentage of Users by Age

61.2% of the Japanese in their 20’s thinks “www” is LOL or laugh out loudly , as against the rest 38.8% who thinks it as “the world wide web”. However among the 30’s the ratio was reversed.

The origin of the “www” is (?) , which means “(laugh)” and pronounced as “warai” in Japanese. Typing the Kanji characters are time consuming. Hence the network gamers & IM -addicts introduced “(warai)” & “(warai ” later shortened to (w) & (w.

warai in twitter

Eventually, even the opening brace was erased, as it can be distinctly recognized from main Japanese text. The character “W” became emoticon for laugh – “ww” for laughing little more & “www” -for lol or laugh out loudly. By the same logic “wwww” is for more serious humor.


Laughter is a very common phenomenon in the daily social life of human beings.It is possible to have a day without crying, but not a day without laughing. The language on net is just a reflection of that.

Warai in Wikipedia

My secret message for the readers :

????? -????????????

Copy & Paste it here to decode.

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4 Responses

  1. Annony Says:

    As it is used on Kanji, is this also used in romanji?

  2. jlgehron (John L. Gehron) Says:

    Twitter Comment

    @ebertchicago Similarly, in Japan they use several w’s – origin: [link to post] – and apparently in Hebrew they use ???.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. aya Says:

    There’s now a rubber stamp so you can create Japanese style emoticons

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