Wall Street Journal's Yukari Iwatani wrote an interesting article yesterday, regarding the slow sales pace of iPhone by Softbank Mobile in Japan.
The article was translated into Japanese and is getting lots of social bookmark and comments back in Japan.
I think what is to blame here is the outrageous media hype. Everything that is mentioned here is no secret to Japanese users and industry people. Before the release, media hyped that Apple is SO special that it WILL be a huge hit, even though you cannot use emoticons or one-seg (satellite TV) or mobile wallet or anything. It was just not the case. That is all.
iPhone is and will remain as a niche product, even though a sizable niche, in the U.S., Europe or in Japan.
U.S. soil was cultivated enough before iPhone release with smartphone market development after 2004. Japan did not have that background. People there are also used to using number keys for typing in text. They are already so fast in doing so, just as a fierce samurai with his quick sword skill, so they would rather not give up this habit and skill to flat, touch screen interface.
It will just take more time for learning curve in Japan. It is still too early to judge.