Mixi restores Shogunate isolationism
Mixi now requires a Japanese mobile phone email in order to register a new account. I became aware of this reading Tofugu.
It may just be an anti-spam or age checking measure but it effectively shuts out anyone not in Japan; including Japanese ex-pats who don’t keep a Japanese mobile phone account.
So just like the the 1600‘s no (new) foreigners are allowed and those Japanese leaving the country aren’t very welcome either.
Maybe it’s just a side effect that it prevents many people from registering. I doubt mixi is that concerned about the lost accounts either. They make their money on advertising and the target market is young Japanese. (presumably they all have keitai, unlike perhaps some older Japanese). I have never really been aware of much spam on mixi. There have been ghost like accounts whom I presume hoped I’d follow the link from my 足跡 page. I’ve never seen comment spam. I can never remember receiving any spam either. I have seen possible underage accounts though. (You should be over 18 to use the service.) Overall in my experience it’s a very orderly and the users I’ve encountered very welcoming.
The noisy gaijin phenomenon. I suppose it happened. Where instead of following the social norms of Mixi they used the MySpace get-as-many-”friends”-as-possible model and caused minor nuisances and disrupted social harmony through ignorance. I would have thought the language barrier and need for an invite would exclude the majority of non-Japanese ignorant of Japanese customs anyhow.
It may still be possible to register without a keitai email but I think you then need an email account with pay Japanese providers instead. However I haven’t seen any details in English about this.
It’s a shame that Mixi wants to be it’s own little walled enclave rather than engaging with the wider world of the Internet. So far existing accounts are unaffected but it’d be fairly trivial to require everyone to re-validate their accounts with a keitai email address. Hopefully this won’t happen. I’m glad I found mixi and was invited in (through JapanesePod101). It improved my Japanese. I made several friends there, including some very important friendships. I can actually wonder what my life would have been like without mixi….
I have wondered why I don’t just blog in Japanese outside of mixi and contact my friends on their normal emails. I guess I could. I considered it when mixi adopted an all-your-content-are belong-to-us policy. But posting outside of mixi doesn’t make what I post any safer from being stolen or re-used. The walled nature of mixi and writing in Japanese maybe has the effect that I’d be a little more candid there than I would on the wild wild web. And it’s very unlikely I’d have made the friends I did through a self-hosted blog, the mix of mixi gave me those friends.
Maybe it’s just the nature of the web. Services change, get worse, jump the shark, and people move on to newer better things.
There does seem to be some hope of getting on mixi again for those without keitai email.