Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance at a Tokyo event on March 29.

As is the case with any international celebrity who comes to Japan, Zuckerberg’s visit threw the country in a state of excitement.

Even Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was knocked off his feet when he met with Zuckerberg the same day, reportedly telling the young CEO:“It’s a funny feeling to see you here because I watched the film.”

Prime Minister Noda also expressed his thanks to Zuckerberg for Facebook’s contributions to Japan’s recovery after last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Later that evening, Zuckerburg took the stage in front of a surprised but elated crowd at a Facebook application workshop during Mobile Hack Tokyo, a skills-building conference for mobile application developers. After giving a short speech, Zuckerberg walked around the room to see the applications being developed by each group.

For years is seemed Facebook would never catch on in Japan. Most people were content with Twitter and domestic SNS service Mixi, and the requirement for users to input their real name and other personal information was unsettling for a country that seemed to prefer internet anonymity.

Things finally started to change early last year after the January 2011 domestic release of “The Social Network” launched Facebook into the limelight. The site then doubled its user base two months later when it was used to share information and keep people connected after the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Facebook now has 10 million users in Japan and the numbers continues to grow (and, consequently, Japanese productivity continues to fall), and Zuckerberg can finally say he is ‘big in Japan.’

Source: ITMedia News

▼”I’m only 3m away from Zuckerberg! Kyaaaa! My hands are shaking! Marry me!” (female attendent)
Photo by kansai_takako

▼Up close and so dreamy…
Photo by ppworks

▼This is so going on Facebook
Photo by tady_jp

▼”Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage. Everyone suddenly stood up and ran to the front of the stage. (^_^)”
movie by Jun Okamoto

▼”Zuckerberg in real life”
photo by ganchan2

▼Japanese net users claim he looks like comedian Savannah Takahashi
photo by tatsuzine.com