January 2010 Japan-IT Links (part 1)

Last week our RSS subscribers passed over 5,000, which is a good milestone. Twitter followers also increased to 400. Following @asiajin also will notify our latest articles. Thank you so much.

Here is the first half of January Japanese IT/Web interesting news links we did not take as a dedicated article. (part 2 is here)

Referred pages are all in Japanese, unless otherwise noted.

If you want to know any specific news more, but unable to find them in other English blog/media, please let us know.

As you see, we know a lot things to write but contributors time are limited. So we are looking for authors. We will help Japanese research/reading part so do not worry if your Japanese is not perfect.

We also want sponsorship to keep this group blog. Ideal if from Japanese companies because our initial motivation was to introduce them to non-Japanese web. Problem is we only write in English and they do not check English sites 🙂 If you know them please suggest us to them!

Sankei & Asahi: Both Newspapers Move On To Survive

Last week we got a couple of remarkable news about what happened to the industry that usually bring us news stories about the world on the move.

The Sankei Shimbun[J], Japan’s 7th largest newspaper in the number of its circulation, set up a new page specifically focusing on Internet services and web industry trends as the first case of Japanese major newspapers.   The page is inserted on every Thursday’s morning edition and is expected to be accompanied with several ads by web2.0 companies.

In commemoration of the new page launch on the paper’s July 30th issue, Japanese popular video sharing site Nico Nico Douga’s live channel[J] program guide was placed in the middle of terrestrial TV timetables.

Sankei's TV Program Timetable Page

Sankei's Webpage

The edition features an Internet slang “Tsuda-ru” (refer to this), blogs under the Enjoh and officially permitted reproduction case of Cyborg 009 drawings uploaded on illustration SNS Pixiv[J] (read stories associated with Pixiv).

Meanwhile, the Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s 2nd largest newspaper in the number of its circulation, launched a mobile SNS called “Sanko People[J]“, and  it was publicized to the first 1,000 beta users.   Asahi developed the service in association with open source SNS program developer Tejima-ya[J] and Tokyo-based web entertainment service developer Geisha Tokyo Entertainent (GTE)[J] (See these stories for more about GTE).    The users are allowed to interact with GTE’s chatterbot on the service.

Sanko People's Screenshot

The service targets young people subscribing to no newspaper, and provides them with knowledge sharing opportunities by enabling comment postings and social bookmarking on developing news stories.   Asahi runs the service on ad-revenue basis and expects to engage 1 million users and to mark annual sales of USD 2.2 million in three years.

Both of the services introduced above are not a direct approach to gaining the numbers of subscribers and revenue for news paper industry.   They’re writhing themselves to find ways to survive, and forced to do further more from now on.

Via IT Media News[J] and Mycomi Journal[J]

NTT DoCoMo Halted Brand-New BlackBerry Sales, While Sankei Keeps Distributing Its 1st Newspaper App For The Phone

NTT DoCoMo Logo
BlackBerry Logo
Sankei Shimbun

Japan’s largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo started selling the brand-new smartphone BlackBerry Bold (BBB) from Research In Motion(RIM) recently, but the operator halted[J] sales after only a week since its introduction, because the handset has reportedly overheated while the battery is being recharged.

By the way, we covered a couple of  stories about newspaper apps last month, and it is surprising that the first ever BBB app for its Japanese Edition was developed and introduced by the Sankei Newspaper[J].  (Available from this link.   File size: 28 kilobytes)

Sankei's App for Blackberry Bold

Unlike Sankei’s iPhone app shown below, the BBB app (above) allows you to read the 30 latest stories in each of the following categories: local news, economics & IT, politics, international and sports. (The iPhone app shows you the entire image of each page of the printed edition. You can click a part of the page to zoom-in to see pictures and read stories using the app.)

Sankei's iPhone App

BBB is known for being used by celebrities including U.S. President Barack Obama and Britney Spears.

(Proofread by: Sean O’Hagan)