Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I Twittered this but forgot to blog it. :-P

From the Twitter Blog:

Despite the fact that Twitter is in English, we continue to see exciting growth from all over the world. Japan, in particular shows a very strong and growing demand for Twitter services. Movatwitter and Twitterpod are great examples.

To support continued growth in Japan, Twitter has formed a partnership with Digital Garage to create the official Twitter Japan service. As part of this arrangement, Digital Garage has made an investment in Twitter, Inc and will commit engineering and other development resources to help us bring Twitter to Japan.

We're really excited about Twitter Japan because it's a big step towards our goal of becoming a worldwide communication network. We'll have more news for you about Twitter Japan and Twitter in other parts of the world as we make progress.

Gratz Rocky, Minami and the team who worked on the deal.

I am a co-founder of Digital Garage and I am on the board. Digital Garage is a strong supporter of CC and the main sponsor of my lab. While I continue to do some deals personally, most deals that involve active support in Japan involve my team at Digital Garage.

BTW, I'm Joi on Twitter.

I find that the Japanese, myself included, use the phrase, "Japan is the world's second largest GDP" as some sort of mantra to try to keep Japan relevant in a world that is exceedingly uninterested in Japan. I was talking to Oki Matsumoto, a good friend and the CEO of Monex about this. He told me about a talk he gave at Keio University about the increasing irrelevance of Japan and showed me the following slides which I post with permission.

GDP.001.jpg

This first slide is the percentage of the world GDP of various countries in 2004 and projected in 2050. On the far left is the US at 38.3% in 2004 and a diminished but significant 20.3% in 2050. Japan however goes from 15.4% in 2004 to 4% in 2050. Still 2X that of Italy's projection, but not the mammoth we seem to think will will continue to be. The first yellow block is China and the second one is India. Clearly they are the big growth markets according to the predictions.

You may say, well that's 2050. That's a long time from now.

GDP.002.jpg
The second image shows Japanese GDP plotted from 1980 to 2006. It shows our once 18% GDP down to a a modest 9.1% in 2006. Furthermore, the text on the right explains that we've gone from the world's highest GDP per capita to the world's 18th.

It's really no wonder we're having a hard time getting attention in Japan. With an aging population and a less-than-competitive economy, there are ways to manage, but you don't get there by denying the facts and continuing to beat you chest IMHO.

I was going to write about this earlier, but I let it slip and now it's old new... but I still find it funny/sad. First the Chief Cabinet Secretary and now the Minister of Defense of Japan announce that they believe in UFOs. The Minister of Defense is trying to figure out how to prepare for an alien invasion under the current Japanese pacifist constitution... *sigh* Don't they have better things to do?

Bloomberg and Yahoo both covered it.

John Lilly is moving from the COO role to the CEO role at Mozilla. Mitchell will continue to work with the organization in her various roles such as Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, Chairman of the Mozilla Corporation, and Chief Lizard Wrangler of the project. This change was driven by Mitchell as much as anyone else and is a very friendly an natural thing as the organization grows.

Anyway, congrats to everyone involved. Please see John's blog post and Mitchell's blog post for more details.

Shigeaki Saegusa and Mr. Shinozaki

Last night, Mizuka, Sachiko-mama and I went to see the special New Years performance produced by our friend Shigeaki Saegusa. This was the 5th year of the event where the theme of each year is to perform Beethoven's 1st through 9th Symphonies in one day as we pass into the New Year.

The event started at 2PM on December 31st and ended at 1AM on January the 1st. The conductor was Kenichiro Kobayashi and the Concert Master was Mr. Shinozaki. There were a number of other concert masters playing various roles in the orchestra which was quite an all-star group selected from orchestras around Japan. There were several intermissions, but basically the same orchestra and conductor performed non-stop for the whole day. Amazingly, they seemed to get more and more energized together with the audience as we approached the end.

It was one of the most inspiring performances I've seen in a long time. Mr. Kobayashi was amazing as was the whole orchestra. Also, the notion of doing all of the symphonies in order seemed strangely Japanese to me. I reflected on some of the similarities between German and Japanese aesthetics as I watched the synchronized orchestra move through the symphonies.

Saegusa and Shinosaki, shown above, discussed how they felt like a small part of people who continue to work on performing Beethoven and how people like them would continue to perform Beethoven a hundred years from now.