Yahoo! Japan

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Yahoo! Japan Corporation
Native name
Yafū! kabushiki gaisha
TypePublic KK
FoundedJanuary 11, 1996; 27 years ago (1996-01-11)
DefunctOctober 1, 2023; 2 months ago (2023-10-01)
FateMerged with Z Holdings and Line Corporation
SuccessorLY Corporation
Headquarters1–3, Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Number of locations
2 (Nagoya and Osaka)
Key people
Masayoshi Son (Chairman)
Manabu Miyasaka (President and CEO)
RevenueIncrease¥292,423 million (FY 2010)
Increase¥159,604 million (FY 2010)
Increase¥92,174 million (FY 2010)
Total assetsIncrease¥471,745 million (FY 2010)
Total equityIncrease¥385,105 million (FY 2010)
OwnerSoftBank Group
Number of employees
5,518 (As of September 30, 2015)[1]
SubsidiariesNetrust, Ltd.
ASKUL Corporation

Yahoo! Japan Corporation (ヤフー株式会社, Yafū Kabushiki-gaisha) was a Japanese Internet company. It was founded in 1996 as a joint venture between and SoftBank (current SoftBank Group) and American Yahoo! Inc. Its Internet search engine was the most visited website in Japan and almost monopolistic in Japan.[2] In 2019, it changed to a holding company structure and came under Z Holdings, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group. In 2021, Line Corporation also became part of ZHD, and in 2023, Yahoo Japan merged with ZHD and its five subsidiaries, including Line Corp, to form LY Corporation.

According to The Japan Times, as of 2012, Yahoo Japan had a footprint on the internet market in Japan. In terms of use as a search engine, however, it has never surpassed Google. The company is the second largest search engine used in Japan as of July 2021, with a market share of 19% behind Google's 77%.[3]

Yahoo! Japan search engine was a directory–type search engine, similar to Yahoo! in the United States. A crawler–type search engine was used as well, and as the popularity of the crawler–type search engine gradually increased, after October 3, 2005, Yahoo! Japan began utilizing only the crawler–type engine. On June 29, 2017, Yahoo! Japan announced that the directory-based search engine "Yahoo! Category", which had been in operation since its establishment, would be abolished on March 29, 2018.[4]

As a crawler–type search engine, Yahoo! Japan initially used technology from the Japanese company Goo, which used Google's technology. The company later switched to using Yahoo Search Technology (YST), developed by Yahoo! in the US. In addition to serving as a standard search engine, Yahoo! Japan partnered with Twitter to provide real-time search for tweets.[5] It also receives data feeds from partner companies; Cookpad and Naver information is displayed in search results. Yahoo! Search Custom Search was discontinued on March 31, 2019.[6]


Yahoo! and SoftBank formed Yahoo! Japan in January 1996 to establish the first web portal in Japan. Yahoo! Japan went live on April 1, 1996.[7] Yahoo! Japan was listed on JASDAQ in November 1997. In January 2000, it became the first stock in Japanese history to trade for more than ¥100 million per share. The company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in October 2003 and became part of the Nikkei 225 stock market index in 2005.

Yahoo! Japan acquired the naming rights for the Fukuoka Dome in 2005, renaming the dome as the "Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome". The "Yahoo Dome" is the home field for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a professional baseball team majority owned by SoftBank.

Since 2010, Yahoo! Japan's search engine has been based on Google's search technology. In exchange, Google receives user activity data from Yahoo! Japan's various products.[8]

In 2017, Verizon Communications purchased the core internet business of United States-based Yahoo!, and merged it with AOL into Oath, Inc.; Yahoo! Japan was not affected. It continued as a joint venture between Softbank and what remained of Yahoo! Inc. was renamed Altaba.[9] Yahoo! had been declining economically and in popularity since the late 2000s, but this was not the case for Yahoo! Japan, which continued to dominate Japan's internet industry.[10] Following the sale, Yahoo! Japan continued to use the name "Yahoo!" under license from Verizon Communications.[11] In July 2018, SoftBank bought $2 billion worth of shares in Yahoo! Japan from Altaba, increasing its stake to 48.17 percent. Yahoo! Japan, in turn, bought nearly the same amount of stock from SoftBank.[12] In September 2018, Altaba sold all of its remaining shares in Yahoo! Japan for roughly $4.3 billion.[13] Yahoo! Japan acquired trademark rights to the "Yahoo!" brand in Japan from Verizon in 2021.[14]

In March 2021, Yahoo! Japan Corporation was renamed Z Holdings and merged with LINE Corporation.[15] Under the new structure, Naver Corporation (Line's former parent company) and SoftBank Corp. (the wireless carrier unit of SoftBank Group) each hold 50 percent stakes in a new company named A Holdings Corp., which holds a majority stake in Z Holdings, which will operate Line and Yahoo! Japan.[15][16][17] Upon integrating the two businesses and creating further platforms, the merged company aims to compete with the U.S. tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple and the Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent,[16] as well as the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.[15] The merger also gives Z Holdings three additional Asian markets where Line is popular: Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.[15]

Yahoo Japan's services are not available in the European Economic Area and the UK since 6 April 2022, due to "excessive regulatory burden".[18][19]

Industry affiliations[edit]

Yahoo! Japan was a founding member of the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE, at the time named Japan e-business association), a Japanese e-business association led by Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, in February 2010; Rakuten later withdrew from the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in June 2011 and made moves to make JANE become a rival to Keidanren. Yahoo! Japan withdrew from JANE in March 2012 and joined Keidanren in July 2012.[20]


Yahoo! Japan continues to use a site design similar to the one used prior to 2007 internationally and the international Yahoo logo used before 2013, colored red.


Yahoo! Japan currently offers various web-based services and apps for its customers, including the following:

  • Ymobile: Ymobile Corporation (ワイモバイル株式会社), stylized Y!mobile, is a subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank Group Corporation that provides mobile telecommunications and ADSL services. The current CEO of the company is Ken Miyauchi. It was formed in 2014 through the merger of Willcom and eAccess, and uses the Y! moniker brand from Yahoo! Japan, which is partly-owned by SoftBank.
  • Yahoo! Japan Mail: maintains the classic look of Yahoo! Mail, but remains a separate service operated in Japan. Another notable change is the 10 GB storage limit, in contrast to Yahoo! Mail's 1 TB of storage and its former unlimited-storage offering.
  • Yahoo! Japan Auctions (ヤフオク!): Japan's largest Internet auction service. Previously known as Yahoo! Auction and Yafuoku.
  • Yahoo! Japan T-Point: A rewards program that allows users to earn and redeem points for goods or cash.
  • Yahoo! Premium: A paid service allowing users to obtain certain benefits, including the ability to bid on certain auction listings, and various premium features with Yahoo! Wallet (which can be used in conjunction with Japan Net Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, and Rakuten Bank) and Yahoo! points.
  • Yahoo! Japan GyaO: A video on-demand service that has included programs such as Calimero, Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu – Irohanihoheto, Jormungand, Kyorochan, Musashi Gundoh, Nyanpire, PRODUCE 101 JAPAN, Real Drive, The World of Golden Eggs.[21] Service terminate in March 2023.

Other Yahoo! Japan services include or have included Yahoo! Japan Bookstore, Yahoo! Japan News, Yahoo! Japan GeoCities (discontinued in March 2019),[22] Yahoo! Japan Toto (a sports lottery site), Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Roko (a mapping and review service), Yahoo! Box (a cloud storage service), Yahoo! Mobage (a social networking service), Yahoo! Wisdom Bag (similar to Yahoo! Answers), and Yahoo! Browser (an android–based web browser).

From April 6, 2022, the home page blocked users from the EEA and the UK, apparently due to General Data Protection Regulation.[23] Some subsidiary services such as Yahoo! JAPAN Mail remained functional, although limited.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Info". Yahoo! Japan. Archived from the original on 2016-09-28. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  2. ^ Matsutani, Minoru (24 April 2012). "Yahoo Japan: Same name, very different company" – via Japan Times Online.
  3. ^ "Search Engine Market Share by Company – Japan – Jan, 2010 – Aug, 2021".
  4. ^ "「Yahoo!カテゴリ」終了へ 「役割終えた」". ITmedia ビジネスオンライン (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  5. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2011-06-14). "Yahoo! JAPANがTwitterと戦略提携、ツイートのリアルタイム検索を提供開始". INTERNET Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  6. ^ "サービス終了のお知らせ". Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  7. ^ Matsutani, Minoru, "Yahoo Japan: Same name, very different company", Japan Times, 24 April 2012, p. 3.
  8. ^ Alabaster, Jay (2010-09-26). "Yahoo Japan to use Google search technology". Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Verizon to buy Yahoo's core business for $4.8 billion in digital ad push". Reuters. 26 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Yahoo Japan's future still looks bright — unlike its U.S. counterpart". 13 May 2016.
  11. ^ ""Yahoo Japan to Keep Name, Services despite U.S. Sale" – The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo, Japan), July 29, 2016". Archived from the original on August 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Nussey, Sam. "SoftBank tightens grip on Yahoo Japan via $2 billion deal with Altaba". U.S. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  13. ^ Chin, Kimberly. "Altaba Sells Remaining Yahoo Japan Shares". WSJ.
  14. ^ "Yahoo Japan to get trademark rights for Yahoo brand for 178 bil. yen". 5 July 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  15. ^ a b c d "Yahoo Japan operator, Line merge to take on foreign tech giants". Kyodo News. 1 March 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  16. ^ a b Masuda, Yoko (1 March 2021). "Yahoo Japan, Line integrate businesses to be major '3rd force'". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  17. ^ Eun-Soo, Jin (1 March 2021). "Naver and SoftBank's A Holdings joint venture established". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Yahoo Japan website will be unavailable to most of Europe". Asahi Shimbun. 2022-02-02. Archived from the original on 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  19. ^ Byford, Sam (2022-02-01). "Yahoo Japan is going dark in Europe". The Verge.
  20. ^ The Daily Yomiuri Keidanren welcomes new member Yahoo, August 1 2012 Archived 2012-08-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on August 1, 2012
  21. ^ Justin Sevakis (December 4, 2015). "How Is Online Streaming Doing in Japan?". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  22. ^ "GeoCities dies in March 2019, and with it a piece of internet history". CNET. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  23. ^ Onaya, Yasuyuki (February 2, 2022). "Yahoo Japan website will be unavailable to most of Europe". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 19 April 2022.

External links[edit]