karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

There's a Dreaming Firefly in all of us

CNN had a story about the Japanese "cell phone novel" phenomenon. Yume-Hotaru (which means dreaming firefly) is the pen name of a young Japanese writer whose first novel, "written entirely with his thumbs," as the article says, went on to become a print best seller.

Dreaming Firefly wrote the novel on his cell phone whenever he had a few spare minutes, typing single sentences and uploading each sentence to the mobile social networking site Mobage-town. The story is called "First Experience," and it's about love, sex, and high school. "Twitter meets 90210."

In Japanese, cell phone novels are called "keitai shosetsu" but maybe they should be called "tsumani novels." Online hits number in the billions and print copies sell millions in paperback. But I wonder how much of this is related to the format and how much to the content, as the stories tend to focus on "drugs, sex, pregnancy, abortion, rape and disease"—tabu subjects in Japan. Or perhaps it's the combination of story and format? The CNN article quotes Toshie Takahashi, an associate professor of media studies at Rikkyo University in Tokyo:

"When they write those novels, they share their secret, personal problems, and when they read by mobile phones, they can hide what they are reading."

Once again, technology finds a way to solve a problem.

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Tags: e-books, ebooks, japan, writers

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