Why have the Japanese always accessed the internet more by mobile phone?

“While the rapidity of the Internet penetration rate has been remarkable, that is not to say that the actual PC penetration rate for Japan is high. It remains lower than for some other developed countries. This has no bearing on Internet access, though, because Japan has led the world in the use of mobile phones to access Internet sites…NTT’s Do-Co-Mo … had grown to be Japan’s leading Internet Service Provider… only a year after the 1999 launch of the i-mode technology” Language and Society in Japan pg 134

Reasons for this:

1. The technology was developed first in Japan

2. When it was invented a lot of people didn’t have PCs, perhaps because they still had dedicated word processors from the previous boom (caused because Japanese language typewriters were virtually impossible for ordinary people), or because until laptops became standard a lot of people lacked the space at home

3. People don’t spend a lot of time at home and do spend a lot of time on trains

4. There is still often just one computer and television in the house, so people escape to their bedrooms with their mobile phone for both of those functions


Why is mobile phone television so popular in Japan?

Korea being the second biggest market.

I’d always assumed it was the long commutes, but a recent TV-themed special supplement in The Economist convincingly argued that most mobile phone TV use is actually at home and it fills the role of TVs in the bedroom in the American and UK home. That might also explain the young guy who sits half the evening in his car in front of our house watching TV on his car’s satellite navigation screen

Guess the scary Japanese stat

The number of junk mails sent to mobile phones in Japan every day: Read the rest of this entry »

Why is it so difficult to access normal websites even on the (Yahoo etc) mobile phones that are supposed to be equipped for it?

According to Saying Yes to Japan, it’s because the phone companies are trying to guide you towards sites you have to pay for

Why did the Japanese mobile handset manufacturers (Toshiba etc) not make it big worldwide?

The Japanese market was so closed that they never needed to become competitive

(according to Shutting Out the Sun, quoting some American academic whose name I forgot to note down)