The Japanese internet appears to have gone gaga over Clubhouse, the invitation-only audio application that allows users to host and listen to conversations between others. Since debuting in the country earlier this year, it has risen to the top of the free download rankings in Apple’s App Store, recently recording more than 440,000 new downloads in just one week.

While the San Francisco-born app has enjoyed newfound attention all around the world (including in China, where the government recently banned it), its rapid growth in popularity in Japan has been surprising. Besides seemingly becoming the dominant topic of tech discourse, high-profile personalities from all walks of life have flocked to it — including TV personality Naomi Watanabe, YouTuber Fuwa-chan, musician Kenshi Yonezu and entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, to mention a few. Online media organizations have started unpacking the phenomenon, too.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.