The 24-year-old Tsonga had 10 aces and saved four of five break points at Ariake Colosseum.
Tsonga will face Davis Cup teammate Richard Gasquet in the second round. Gasquet beat Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-3, 6-2.
It will be the seventh time the two Frenchmen have faced each other in the second round of the Japan Open.
"Richard is a good friend of mine," Tsonga said. "I know him and he knows me very well. It's going to be a good match."
Also, Andreas Beck defeated Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in an all-German match to advance. The unseeded Beck had 12 aces and recovered a break in the third set before winning the tiebreaker.
Beck will face defending champion Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the second round. The fifth-seeded Berdych defeated Go Soeda of Japan 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis beat sixth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. Gulbis won 73 percent of his service points, had 13 aces and saved all five break points he faced.
Mikhail Youzhny of Russia also advanced, beating Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-2, 6-3 to set up a second-round match with third-seeded Gilles Simon of France. Simon defeated Takao Suzuki of Japan 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was knocked out in the first round on Tuesday, losing to French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 6-4.
Top-ranked Roger Federer pulled out of the $1.2 million event, citing fatigue, along with third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain, who withdrew because of a wrist injury.