Umh, according to my mom, Japanese brand tofu seems to be softer than the Chinese brands.
Personally, I like to make it with firm momen dofu (= tofu). Check out the China... Forum, and you will find a thread on mapo tofu, where some say they like to use soft tofu. So, that's really depends on your preferences.
Do you make it with soft or firm tofu? And do you use one of the mixes you can buy in the supermarket, or do you make yours from scratch?
I used to use a premade mix (Marumiya's) for decades, but now I prefer to make it from scratch. Again, check out the China... Forum, you will find a nice thread on making mapo tofu.
Maybe that's why?
I can only go on the differences I've found in London. Tofu packaged by Japanese companies (not necessarily in Japan - an example is the Mori-nu/Morinaga brand) and sold in tetra-brik containers is indeed very soft, smooth and silky, even the 'firm' kind.
When I buy fresh tofu in liquid from the refrigerator from Chinese, Japanese and Korean stores in London, the texture is different. More 'fibrous' somehow, or perhaps better explained as being more 'al dente'.
I don't necessarily prefer one to the other - the qualities of each lend themselves better to different cooking styles. I don't like frying so much with the 'Japanese' tetra-brik style of tofu, then again I prefer the texture of it raw to the 'Chinese style' fresh tofu.
I end up buying more of the 'frim' tetra-brik styles. They last a while so are convenient, also my fridge is tiny and this tofu doesn't need to be stored in it. I can easily change the texture and make it firmer (and better for frying with) by wrapping and draining it with a weight on top. By pressing and draining for several hours (rather than just one or two) I can get it to approximate 'Chinese' tofu. I can't get 'Chinese' tofu to approximate 'Japanese' tofu.
I can't compare 'Chinese' tofu with that sold in China, but the tetra-brik kind of tofu is very similar to store bought and freshly made tofu I've eaten in Japan.
However, as what I have been calling 'Chinese' tofu is available from Japanese supermarkets in London, I would be surprised if this kind wasn't available in Japan also.