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Twitch viewership keeps growing year after year, and in recent months the platform has seen unprecedented growth, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitch accounted for more than 1 trillion minutes watched last year, from gaming streams to “Just Chatting” and talk shows, representing a year-over-year increase of more than 60 per cent. Not even the Fortnite surge that was led by Ninja in 2018 resulted in the same magnitude of growth.

However, esports titles were pushed to the margins of Twitch categories in 2021. Streamers concentrated more on engaging with the audience, therefore popular titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 plummeted in popularity – even though Apex Legends remains at a high in Japan – and some categories even slipped out of the top most popular categories of the year in Japan.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 4 most popular Twitch categories in Japan in 2021, based on stats provided by Stream Charts for the whole year, as well as the most well-known streamers and personalities in some of these categories.

Just Chatting

“Just Chatting” achieved first place again in Japan in 2021, and the hours watched of the category increased by 50 per cent. IRL (or “in real life) broadcasts are becoming increasingly popular as a result of original formats and unique trends. Streamers, for instance, have organised subscription marathons, swam in pools and tubs, and even just slept throughout broadcasts.

IRL and “Just Chatting”, however, are more than just concepts on streaming sites like Twitch. For many streamers, the phrase also refers to a type of material that may be used to attract viewers who wish to watch something other than your typical live video game stream.

But that’s not exclusive to Japan. “Just Chatting” ranked second in terms of Peak Viewers in 2021, and on January 11 2021, 2.8 million people across the world watched the category concurrently. On that day, Spanish streamer TheGrefg, who is currently one of the most popular content creators in the world, broke a new viewing record – 2.4 million peak viewers – becoming the most popular streamer by peak viewers in 2021.

Apex Legends

Even though some esports titles dropped in popularity in 2021, Apex Legends remains one of the most-watched Twitch categories in Japan. The game, which is extremely popular in the country as well as in Latin America, has been one of the most popular esports titles for a few years and is expected to grow even more in 2022 with the release of Apex Legends Mobile, scheduled to be launched later this year for iOS and Android devices.

Last year, Apex Legends accounted for more than 680 million hours watched, an increase of over 100 per cent in comparison to 2020. Japanese streamers like fps_shaka – currently the most popular content creator in Japan – stylishnoob4, and kato_junichi0817 regularly rank among the game’s top 5 streamers worldwide.


Undoubtedly, gambling has been one of the most beloved pastimes in Japan for quite some time now. But thanks to the emergence of online gambling, or iGaming, the activity has reached a whole new level. Even though today there’s a wide variety of casino games and other gambling activities such as sports betting – which players can find more about at www.internetcasino.jp – slot games, and Pachinko games in Japan, remain the most popular choice.

The “Slots” category on Twitch has been growing year after year, and in 2021 it accounted for more than 7 million hours watched in Japan only, with streamers like bravetoro, KaeKaeStyle, and ShinjukuSokai being ranked among the category’s most watched content creators in Japan. Globally, Trainwreckstv and ROSHTEIN are the “Slots” leading streamers.

Dota 2

Despite the fact that the game dropped in viewership in 2021, Dota 2 remained among the most watched categories thanks to The International 10 – the game’s annual esports world championship, and one of the largest and most prestigious esports tournaments in the world – which set a new record of 2.7 million peak viewers, and the category’s hours watched increased by 15 per cent.

According to the rankings, competitive disciplines like Dota 2 have been slightly overlooked. Viewers seemed to be much more interested in watching IRL and “Just Chatting” streams, as well as entertainment content such as adventures on RP servers or just battles between content creators. HiNas3 and enocinoco are among the most watched Japanese streamers in the category.