Japan Media Review Update: February 9, 2004
JMR Staff (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California)
The following reviews are posted at: http://www.japanmediareview.com/japan/digest/digest.php
Korean-Japanese Partnership to Broadcast Video via Satellite to Mobile Devices
From Nikkei Electronics Asia: A satellite service broadcasting radio and television to cell phones will be launched in July by Japan's Mobile Broadcasting Corp. and Korea's SK Telecom, The Nikkei Business Daily reports. The companies will offer a variety of sports, drama, news and music programs through their shared communications satellite, which also has the capability to broadcast to car stereos and portable televisions. In the first few months, Japanese mobile users will be able to access 40 channels of TV and radio broadcasts for free, followed by a monthly fee between $10 and $20. SK Telecom, Toshiba Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and others are partners in Mobile Broadcasting Corp., founded in 1998.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Zhen Wang
Hardcover-like E-book Readers on the Way
From The Japan Times: A light e-book reader that can be opened and closed like a real book will be distributed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic) in Japan as early as this month, with a Sony model not far behind. Users of Matsushita's Sigma Book can download up to 20 of 4,500 titles provided by distributor eBook Initiative Japan Co., with English and other foreign language titles to be added. Sony's reader, planned for a May release, can store around 150 e-books. E-books will be sold over the Internet for Sony readers in April through Publishing Link Ltd., a venture of Sony, publishers Kodansha Ltd. and Shinchosha Co., and a dozen other companies. Sony e-book promoter Yoshitaka Ukita said e-book readers will likely become "ubiquitous."
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Jennifer Ren
Commentary: Teen Girls Text-Message in Elaborate "Girl Talk" Code
From Japan.com: The abbreviated language of cell phone messaging has gone beyond smileys among Japanese teenage girls. They're now using something of a secret language called "gyaru-moji," with words replaced by symbols and special characters. ("Gyaru" means gal in English; "moji" means letter or text.) Japan.com writer Arjen van Blokland describes it as "a mixture of Japanese syllables, numbers, mathematical symbols and Greek characters" that "resembles hieroglyphics." The trend doesn't seem to have any time-saving advantages -- typing standard Japanese on a cell phone is twice as fast. The language was first introduced a year ago, and businesses have caught on, with Web sites creating conversion tools from regular Japanese to the girls' code. Camera phones, van Blokland adds, are making life a bit easier for these trendsetters: many now simply write a message on paper, snap a picture of it and send the photo to friends.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Chevonne Ching
"Unusual" Antiwar Ad Appears in The Asahi Shimbun
Via Japan Today: Readers of The Asahi Shimbun's Jan. 15 morning edition woke up to a full-page ad protesting Japan's dispatch of troops to Iraq. Japan Today calls the ad "unusual -- for Japan." The paper reports that weekly magazine Shukan Shincho wondered if "the Asahi Shimbun -- well known for its left-leaning views -- was itself behind the running of the ad." According to Shukan Shincho, Sumio Inoue, once a member of a former anti-Vietnam War group, said he collected over $283,000 in donations to place the ad. In addition to the headline, which translated to "We shall not cooperate with war," the advertisement lists names of those who are against sending troops to Iraq, arranged to form the Japanese characters for "Don't kill."
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori