The schizophrenic state of digital in Japan…

This morning, whilst I was flicking through a Japanese media FAS report sent through by Dan Calladine, I picked up on a couple fascinating examples of the mixed bag that is Japan’s digital media landscape.

Photo by Cocoarmani (Flickr)

Japan has the ability to be hugely advanced in some areas and bizarrely limited in others.  Cases in point, taken from the full report, which you can view here.

QR Codes for Japanese Tombstones (page 49):

“As an example of how far QR codes penetrate Japanese daily life, starting in early 2008, the company Ishinokoe began to offer a QR code service for tombstones. For a yearly fee, the company’s packages allow visitors to use a QR code to access a dedicated mobile site, complete with the life history and photos of the deceased (ishinokoe.co.jp).”

While this service has been around for more than a year it seems, it is still a fascinating example of just how far advanced Japan can be in the moble space.  Check out Ishinokoe’s website (if you read Japanese).

No Websites Allowed for Electoral Candidates in Japan (page 56)

So, again, this is not exactly new information, but when you think about the tombstone QR codes, and the general comfort with digital media that the Japanese market generally exhibits, this is simply fascinating:

Website content is currently categorized as literature and images, which are prohibited except for the specified types. Therefore, candidates are not allowed to use online content for campaign purposes before or during the election period. However, the use of the Internet for political activities or those not directly related to campaigning for a specified candidate in a specified election are permissible (National Diet Library, 6 March 2006).

These little tidbits highlight why Japan remains one of the most fascinating markets in the digital arena, globally.  Welikey funky stuff like this.

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