Internet-Famous In Japan

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 31 2012 @ 9:48am

The country is the global epicenter of Internet cat videos, where some felines earn more than the nation's average salary. Despite months of trying, Gideon Lewis-Kraus is unable to set up a interview with Maru, possibly the most famous (168 million views) yet reclusive cat in the world. The reason may be cultural:

In the US people post a video of themselves whistling "Free Bird" in a tutu and they're heartbroken if they're not immediately invited on to chat shows. It's different in Japan, though. There, they haven't yet cottoned on to the idea that the whole point of the internet is not only that it might make you famous and universally loved but that it might make you famous and universally loved overnight, and for no real reason, and that then it would give you fairly precise metrics for just how famous and loved you were, and for how long. For the Japanese, the internet is primarily not about self-promotion and exposure but about restraint and anonymity.

(Video: Maru's first commercial, just released, via Copyranter)