Like most of the rest of the world, Japan was equal parts surprised and baffled at the recent Twitter rebranding. Changing the name of the social media platform from the globally recognized Twitter to the non-descript and hard-to-differentiate “X,” and ditching the familiar blue bird logo in the process, is an especially questionable move for the Japanese market, seeing as how the country loves cute mascot characters.
That’s not the only thing that has many people in Japan questioning the renaming, either. Usually, the Japanese branches of international organizations get called by the parent company’s name plus “Japan,” which works just fine if people are talking about, say, “Starbucks Japan,” “McDonald’s Japan,” or, up until now, “Twitter Japan.”
But with Twitter now calling itself X, that would make its Japanese division “X Japan”…which is already the name of one of Japan’s most legendary rock bands.
▼ You’d be hard-pressed to find a Japanese person under the age of 50 who doesn’t immediately recognize X Japan’s “Forever Love.”
With the swift and forceful way in which Twitter was renamed, many fans of X Japan began wondering if the social media platform would now be making an ownership claim to the name. As the online chatter continued, though, a reassuring voice came into the discussion, none other than X Japan founder and front man Yoshiki.
“I think X Japan is already trademarked,” Yoshiki tweeted bilingually, in both Japanese and English. While he doesn’t mention whether or not the trademark is registered outside Japan as well, it seems like it would at least be enough to keep Twitter/X from calling itself “X Japan” within Japan, which is really the only place where the social media platform would want to call itself that.
X Japan fans responded with a collective sigh of relief, plus response tweets including:
“When I hear ‘X Japan,’ Yoshiki’s X Japan is the only one I think of!”
“Number-one band was the first to grab the name.”
“Locking down that trademark early. That’s Yoshiki for you!”
“Yoshiki is just the best.”
“This makes you wonder is Musk and his lawyers just didn’t bother to check if ‘X Japan’ was available as a name or not.”
“Maybe they’ll try to call it ‘X with Japan.’”
“Or ‘X Nippon.’”
“Haha they could go with ‘Y Japan.’”
It’s unclear whether or not the band’s copyright would be enough to keep Twitter from calling itself simply “X” within Japan, but at the very least it looks like the social media company renaming itself as “X Japan” isn’t an option.
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