Thumbprinting in Japan

I recently got word of this really interesting article in the NY Times about the new trend of popular “cell phone novels” in Japan (thanks, Yana).

Basically, young people in Japan have started to actually write whole novels by speedily tapping their thumbs to the text messaging functions on their cellphones. These stories incorporate text/instant messaging staples such as smiley faces, abbreviated messages (lol, ttyl, etc.) and little noises or sounds that only the young folks understand; essentially creating a whole new language of communication. Whats more, these stories actually get picked up by publishing houses and have become bestsellers in print form.

With the American public being in awe of the iPhone and all the new functions being added to cell phones and mobile devices every second, its interesting to me how Asia has been mostly unimpressed. Kids in Japan and Korea grow up using their cell phones even more than they use computers, and most of their cell’s functions are much more advanced than anything we have in the US (even the iphone). With their cells being integral aspects of their lives since childhood, its crazy what the youth of Japan are doing. As the Times puts it: ” Japan’s younger generation came of age with the cellphone, and created its own popular culture by tapping thumbs on keypads.”

I love technology as much as the next guy. I’m a regular blogger and obviously spend my fair share of time plugged in to the online world. However, I also think technological innovation and advancement can move at such a rapid rate that those not accustomed to it can become very alienated by living in such a technological society, especially with our large digital divide.

With that said, its stories like these that really fascinate me. With the tools of technology and the internet at their disposal, the youth in a plugged in world are discovering new ways to create culture, new ways of communication and expression. You could debate the pros and cons of these different types of communication and expressions, but its fascinating nonetheless.


2 responses to “Thumbprinting in Japan

  1. what’ll those crazy nips come up with next!?! =P all i gotta say is, when are we going to Japan??? Its long overdue and i feel like a psuedo-nihonjin for never having gone there. i wonder what they’ll think of us out there. ive been talking with Wesley a lot about identity of Japanese folks differing immensely depending on who they are (Japan-born koreans, Ainu or Okinawan) or where they are (Japanese-Americans/Hawaiians, Brazillians, etc.).

    when we get some money going (hopefully in the next 10 years!), lets try and make that trip together to the mamaland. holler.


    p.s. I have a sprint phone that was free.99 and my 3rd grade kids laugh at it cuz their phones are better than mine. =(

  2. Word. I’m thinking of taking a conversational Japanese class this summer at the Atlanta Language Institute and then its on like Kong sun.

    For real tho, I wanna make that trip happen with you at some point, bruh. Even the JET program isn’t ruled out for me at some point.

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