2Channel phenomenon in Japan – Densha Otoko

15 Aug

‘Densha Otoko’ (Train man) is a Japanese movie, premiered in Japanese Cinemas in March 26, 2005. The story is all based on an allegedly true story formed by considerable amount of messages posted on 2Channel, which the most popular Internet forum in Japan. A 23-year-old “Otaku”, a Japanese term referring to those who are addicted to anime, video games computers or manga, successfully rescued a young lady, Miss Hermès, from being harassed by a drunken man on train when he was on his way home. Without any date experience, he began sharing his romance on the internet and sought advices from 2channel users on how to date Miss Hermès and impress her.

According to Hiroshi Hiyama and Lisa Katayama, 2Channel is one of the biggest online bulletin boards in the world. It consists of roughly 800 active boards with over 1000 topics, from politics to manga comics. Moreover, there are approximately 10 million visits each month and 2.5 million posts created a day. 2Channel brings a diverse group of people together and allows them communicating and sharing data with each other more easily and conveniently. The story of “Densha Otoko” explicitly illustrates this power of 2Channel. After preventing Miss Hermès from being harassed on train, the “Otaku”, nicknamed as “Train Man” on 2Channel, successively updated his situation, shared his feelings and even asked for advices on everything such as where to date and what to wear. Other 2Channel users enthusiastically offered enormous amount of suggestions to Train Man and posted plenty of Shift JIS art pictures to encourage and support him.  Alisa Freedman notes that the conversation between Train Man and other 2Channel subscribers created 29,862 posts only within 57 days and “Densha Otoko” online community was rapidly established in 2Channel. Despite the fact that most of the 2Channel users belong to different social classes, 2Channel unites all users together and form an unique community which allow them “meeting” various people who they seldom get in touch with in reality, and share feelings or opinions with each other. And probably, owing to various advices and support from different people, Train Man could eventually confess his love for Miss Hermès and successfully got her reciprocation.

Undeniably, social networks like 2Channel do exert positive impact on Japan society. It is well-known that social stratification is one of the representative Japanese cultures. However, this culture restrains Japanese people from different social classes freely communicate and share their ideas with each other. Thanks to the existence of 2Channel, they are capable of having fun in an online community, without being known their name and social classes. This Japanese social network not only changes the communication habit of Japanese people, but it also provides a platform for various people to gather together.


2 Responses to “2Channel phenomenon in Japan – Densha Otoko”

  1. bessiebyrne August 16, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    I have Otaku!


  1. Assessment « Understanding Japan through movies, TV dramas and Animes - October 25, 2012

    […] 2Channel phenomenon in Japan […]

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