Abstract This study used nation-wide surveys to explore how different media usage patterns were shaped in Taiwan and Japan. Taiwanese youth use the Internet to a much greater extent than Japanese youth, even though broadband services are cheaper and faster in Japan. Japanese youth use text-messaging services featured on mobile phones more than their Taiwanese counterparts. Since the 1980s, Taiwan has witnessed the development of a unique BBS (bulletin board system) culture, and this culture has led the Taiwanese to have a comparatively stronger degree of trust in the Internet than the Japanese. The Internet culture in Japan is more individualized. Japanese adolescents and young adults tend to avoid direct communication, resulting in the promotion of a unique mobile media culture among the Japanese youth. The findings discussed here suggest that, despite the worldwide standardization of communication technologies, the culturally different personal relationship patterns in the two countries studied have created different media trends for their youth.