Mixi restores Shogunate isolationism

mixi no entry
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.

––update 12Mar10––
There does seem to be some hope of getting on mixi again for those without keitai email.

19. May 2008 by ロバート
Categories: 01 news • 新聞 | Tags: , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. I’ll soon have to leave my fingerprints and photo at the airport again when I come back into Japan after my holidays, even though I work and live here with visa and all. Japan is like that…

  2. Lot’s of countries are like that.
    American tourism down significantly in part due to border procedures.
    Ireland unilaterally puts border controls on entry from UK. Changes constitution so being born in Ireland may no longer be enough to be an Irish citizen.
    Immigration riots in South Africa.
    Fuelled by government 65% polled in Italy are in favour of expelling Roma
    UK puts immigration on electoral agenda. with (first wave of) ID cards for immigrants. non-British to be denied social housing. Must become British to permanently reside in UK if not from EU. Must pass English test. disproportional visa fees.
    It’s becoming a trend and security is often an excuse. The paranoia and tribalism is depressing.
    And it all focuses on people with little or no voice.
    In a way like mixi. they’ll never hear or care about the people who have no access.

  3. I found a site with a different method to get around that.
    gaijinwomen.com/register-in-japan-with-no-phones-e-mail-address/

    has anyone tried it? Please let me know! I’m trying to figure it out myself ><

    (edited by admin to remove dead link 11May2009)

  4. gaijin women would seem to be suggesting that mixi detects your IP address and based on that doesn’t require a Japanese mobile outside of Japan. Interesting if it’s true. As always the post is tantalisingly incomplete.

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