Line: The Essential Messaging App in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Line: The Essential Messaging App in Japan

By Guidable Writers Jun 2, 2020


What is Line? and Japan’s Affection for the App.

Have you just recently arrived in Japan or are planning to come and settle here? Maybe you’re coming here as a student, excited about your first study abroad. Maybe you’ve just landed a job in the land of the rising sun and are excited to start your first day at a completely new place. Well, no matter where in life you are, if you are planning to stay in Japan for a long time then there’s one app you need to have on your phone: Line.

Line in Japan is like Whatsapp to Indians and Southeast Asians, it’s absolutely crucial to have Line because it is the main method of communication here in Japan. Although many people in Japan also utilise Facebook and Instagram, Line is more all-pervading you see people of all ages using it, from teens to middle-aged workers.

If you are still in your teens or in your early 20s, Line will be even more crucial for you because your friends will use Line to contact you and your part-time work will utilise LINE groups to coordinate shifts and make announcements. The first app in mind that comes up when college kids make groups for assignments is also Line. Such is the prevalent power of Line in Japan!

Although many at work try to use more formal methods of communication such as E-mails and recently messaging apps like Slack, sometimes people have Line groups within their department for urgent contacts and such. It is also crucial because Line will be the app you use when you feel like you’ve gotten close enough with a co-worker to exchange contacts.

So, the problem now is that you have no idea how it works, or how you are supposed to use it. Well, don’t worry! This article tells you just that, so sit back and read on!


Setting up an Account

Download the app onto a smartphone or tablet via Apple Store or Google Play. Launch the app, and click on “create new account”. You will need a mobile number to proceed. They will send a confirmation number to your phone.

Verify by entering the 4-digit code being sent to you. You will then get to enter your name. Unlike Facebook, it is common not to enter your full name for reasons of privacy; however, make sure your friends can identify you, although of course, you can always change this later if you wish.

Next, choose your friends settings; if you allow friends to be added automatically, this will add all the people in your phone’s address book that have LINE accounts. Similarly, if you allow that option, it allows others to add you through your phone number. The next few steps (age verification, email address..etc), are not mandatory, however, verifying that you are above 18 allows you to search people with their ID.


Other Functions of Line

Now that you are all set up, it is time to explore the features.

You can add friends by tapping on the “+” in the friends list. You can scan your friends’ QR codes (and vice versa), or search their ID (if they have allowed it). If you are in a group and need to add multiple people at once, the “shake” function might be useful; tap on the icon, then shake your device to make yourself visible to devices around you.

Aside from chatting and calling, you can also post content on your timeline which are viewable to all your friends. You can like, comment, and share just like Facebook wall posts(although people generally don’t use it).

One of the most fun aspects of LINE is the stickers, or “stamps”(as it is known in Japanese)that you can send to each other. They can be downloaded from the sticker shops within the app. Some promotional stamps are free (for a limited period), usually with the condition that you become friends with the official LINE account. For others, you need to purchase them with LINE coins. You can buy coins with Line Pay.

These are just the basic features of the app!so you should explore the app in detail once you get started. Add some friends to start with or get some cute stickers you want to show off to your friends!

You will find that it can be very useful in social situations,especially when you are meeting someone for the first time, also, you might even get discounts and coupons for adding certain shops’ official LINE accounts. So that’s it! Good luck and have fun Line-ing!