Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life; The Landscape of Keitai: The Routinization of Technology

Volume 03, Issue 1

It is astonishing to see how widespread and important Information and Communication Technology like the Internet and cellular phones (keitai, “something you carry with you”) have become in Japanese society. Japanese youth use keitai more than PCs, according research. Even elementary school students are using keitai to communicate with their friends and to protect themselves. Adults not only make calls via Internet or keitai but collect information, chat, shop, and read. They also use Internet und keitai to work at home while they are caring for children and doing housework.

The possibilities of Information and Communication Technology are an unknown quantity. Since 1980, scholars of social history and cultural studies on technologies in Japan and in the West have studied the history of early mass communication—specifically the telegraph and telephone—in the context of today's Internet and cellular phones. The economic and business applications of Japan's communication infrastructure have aroused the interest of Japanese scholars. Since the 1990s, however, there has been increasing scholarly attention to social and cultural aspects of pagers and keitai in Japan.

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