Asian YouTube Fame

Thinking about digital cultural communication which aims at seeking and building a co-creative relationship between the cultural institution and the community by using new media to produce audience-focused cultural interactive experiences (ASEAN to expand cultural corporation).

ryan higaAs we move forward in the digital era the essence of culture and public spaces have changed. Today online social networking has become the norm. Social networking in prevalent in almost every culture, this is why I found it interesting to research into the different elements of social media and how different cultures use them.

YouTube is one of this generations top online platforms that can be accessed worldwide. It ranges from comedy, music, how to videos, personalized vlogs and many more!

I did a quick Google search of “Asian YouTubers” and according to Tofu Magazine Ryan Higa commonly known online as ‘NigaHiga’. At first I was like ‘who is this?’ so I thought i’d ask my friends if they had heard of him…

I was talking to my friend about it and she was telling me that her younger sister is OBSESSED with NigaHiga… I WAS LIKE WHAT? Your younger sister is subject to more Asian media than me? I guess I’m not looking in the right places.

A little background about ‘NigaHiga’…

  • Originally created the channel Nigahiga with high school friends Sean Fujiyoshi, Tim Enos, and Tarynn Nago in 2006.
  • Moved to Las Vegas for college – so he has experienced both eastern and western cultures.
  • Nigahiga videos were mostly made by Higa himself, with collaborations with other Youtubers.

Anyway, intrigued I decided to watch a few videos..

There is one where he tells you how to do 10 things that will blow your mind, basically it is just cheats for things for example… Learn how to type faster? You would assume speed right? Nope he literally just types the word FASTER.

It is a comedy channel. He has 7.8 million subscribers and 1.3 billion video views, Higa is the most subscribed Asian Youtuber. He also moved to the states so he has a peripheral view of Asian and American cultures. He has been using YouTube as a platform for expressing themselves. Higa is also well known for that “TEEHEE” at the end of his videos and apparently it is unique every in every single video. Twitter: @TheRealRyanHiga

Here are the top fan favorite videos:


China, ASEAN to expand cultural cooperation (4 August 2005). [Online]. Available from: [27 August 2014]

Tofu Magazine | Online | Asian Inspired Entertainment | 2014. Tofu Magazine | Online | Asian Inspired Entertainment | [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 August 2014].




  1. I have seen this guys videos every now and then when randomly searching through youtube but to be honest I had never thought of him as an ‘asian’ youtuber. He has such a large following and how he interacts and collabs with other american youtubers on a regular basis makes me feel as though he has separated himself from the asian culture almost entirely and instead completely immersed himself in this americanised ‘LA’ youtube scene like many other youtubers I watch who have moved from their country of origin. None the less, you’re right, the famdoms surrounding youtube ‘famous’ people especially amongst the younger generations is crazy, and this guy who has done extremely well for himself! The Opportunities which globalisation and social media technology have created are amazing!


  2. Nigahiga is an interesting example, do you think there is perhaps any reason he is the most popular Asian YouTuber? Does he offer anything inherently “Asian” to his material, or is it largely tailored towards other audiences? What were your feelings watching Ryan’s channel, do you think his diasporic origins are told through these digital stories?


  3. Ryan Higa (NigaHiga) was born in Hawaii and later moved to Las Vegas. While I can understand your misconception due to his Japanese ethnicity, I would advise reconsidering your perception of Ryan as an “Asian” Youtuber. Reflect on what aspects of NigaHiga’s videos you believe have Asian influences. Do any portray Japanese diaspora? Does he have an Asian viewership?


  4. I think it’s important to provide a stronger context to the character of HigaNiga. Although I love the videos and his Youtube character, a background on the influences of his upbringing and his connection to his Japanese heritage is important to acknowledge considering he has experienced primarily a western environment. I think this would inform your analysis and understanding of where this personality stands in Asian media and culture.


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