Japan; a wonderland of mobile phones - or so I’d call it; technology and social links join together on a handheld device called “Ketai Denwa” -or “Portable Telephones”- in the land of the rising sun in a very interesting mesh; but this admirable tale and the cultural changes brought by it didn’t come all at once, it took close to 30 years, countless developments, and unimaginable enhancements; here is how the tale started.

In 1973 Motorola company produced the very 1st mobile device across the globe, this device arrived in Japan couple of years later and via 1G networking technology, that fascinating device was able to make wireless phone calls.

The 90’s in Japan then saw grand cultural changes in both technology and fashion; for mobiles the change started with the analogue to digital system conversion for cellular devices; in other words the introduction of the technology that allows sending and receiving SMS, which in turn wrote the beginning of the “Mobile golden age” which had started in the late 90’s.

 The mid to late 90’s mobile phone culture in Japan saw more than just technological changes, which led to the “Ketai Denwa” boom; the ownership of handsets instead of having mobiles devices available through rental services was introduced in 1994, attractive handsets were then introduced, slimming down that bulky device and filling it with other basic options such as the alarm clock feature, portable calculator, and all those options we’re very familiar with today had turned portable telephones into a must have device back then, more desired than ever. One of the changes in “mobile fashion” was the introduction of the popular “flip phone” design in the early 2000’s.

In 2002 3G was introduced in Japan for the 1st time before any other country, promoting the new “mobile internet” feature; it was very convenient for Japanese people to be able to easily check their e-mails, look up information such as ticket reservations, and “meiru” or texting. “Meiru” was one of the golden features of that newly enhanced technology; using “emoji” or photos taken by mobile cameras to express every little situation was the new hype among Japanese youth.

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Published by Matsuri Magazine