In 2008, the same year that Facebook launched its big redesign, Researcher Nick Burcher started collating Facebook usage statistics by country. The 2011 winner for fastest growing user base is Brazil, which grew 300% over the past year. Japan is in a close second, with 254% growth over the past year. But a recent Forrester report notes that the Japanese prefer to stay anonymous online, prefer not to use Facebook because it requires users to sign up with their real names. This high rate of growth in Japan goes in direct opposition from a January 2011 NYTimes story about the country's complete lack of interest in Facebook.

In a previous post called "Where In The World Do People Not Use Facebook," I got called out by a smart Japanese commenter named Jelomu. He left a terse comment with a clear message: Facebook growth in Japan was huge. In fact, he wrote, it was "growing faster than any other network here."

Jelomu wrote that the social networking site Mixi was stagnating, that Gree and Mobage were more in the "gaming" category than the social network space. He also said that Twitter was already quite popular. Burcher's data agrees with Jelomu's comment: Japanese Facebook users numbered 1,816,140 in December 2010. That number jumped to 6,266,440 by December 2011, which is 254% growth.

Burcher's data and the Forrester report suggest that while the Japanese user base may be growing, Japanese users are mostly there to watch, not create. Facebook penetration in Japan is only at 4.94%, according to data from Facebook analytics site Social Bakers. The largest amount of Japanese Facebook users is concentrated in the 25-34 age demographic, which accounts for 35% or 2,193,639 users.

Burcher's research is in line with a recent Forrester report that showed online consumers in emerging markets Brazil, China, India and Mexico used social media tools at least once-a-month, and also created more content than users in the West. The number of Facebook users in India grew 139.5% over the past year, and Mexican Facebook users increased by 67.6%. Two other fast emerging markets include Peruvian Facebook, which grew 102.8%, and South Korea (+116.5%).