Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Many people seem to think I'm a woman because my name is rather gender neutral if not feminine. I am a short, straight, 37-year-old, Japanese guy who lives in Japan. I've noticed some people are very careful not to reveal their gender on their blogs. Others are clear. Others probably fake it. I'm sure danah can give us a list of people for whom it is much more complicated than "are your male or female." Anyway, I suppose I should make it more clear, but where? Picture in my "about section"?

UPDATE: I just posted a picture. I hope this helps. I just realized how few pictures I have of myself...


Personally I think the other picture already made it quite that you are a guy. I don't know many girls with POPs in their bathrooms...

When I first came here, right away I thought that you were a woman. The name Joi seemed like Joy. I looked over the blog and realized that you were a Japanese business woman. It's good to see a woman in Japan in such a high place in the business world. Then I saw a pic of you with Bo! I was alittle taken aback, and thought, "oh, there are tons of Japanese businessmen, why would this one be different?" This was before I realized how big the site was and all the work that was put into it. I decided to stay because of the content like the rest of the world.

Just out of curiosity, why did you feel the need to mention your sexual orientation?

It's sort of a joke. Everyone always wants to know s/a/l. (Sex, age location) online, orientation being loosely coupled with "sex". It's one of those things that is politically incorrect to ask, but people aways really want to know. "Short" is a bonus since someone just commented on my IRC channel that I looked very short in a picture with Mark P. ;-p

The eyeshadow in the picture gives you a sort of Ken'ichi Mikawa look.

Caption: "This is me getting brain cancer"

Odd! I immediately assumed you are a man. The name "Joi" sounded like that of a man. The style of your writing and the look of your site are mannish. I'm not saying assumptions are appropriate, but that's simply the feeling I have always had.

Althought I always thought of you as tall. And you look a bit metro in that photo.

Darn. I thought you were a butch lesbian until now. ;-p

Com'on, Joi. You're not that short ;)

Ah, so when someone ASL's you you're going to answer "37, short, Japan"? :)


I personally like your "Mickey Mouse and Ultramen" photo better ;-) Or should that be "Urutoramen"?

I've had a picture right on the main page of my website for a few months now. During a Christmas party I met someone that had read my site and still thought I was a cranky old man. I guess that's better than being an airheaded young man, but not by much.

oh, so u r a man, uhm, i thought u were the cute one in the moblog
just kidding
funny history

Thought you'd like this frame-grab..!?! 8->

Taken from interview we did for GLOCOM at Sunbridge last year;

All the Best for 2004..!!!

One way you could make this clear is in your FOAF file, add a foaf:gender element whose value is just the text string 'male' (no quotes around it).

(Sorry I tried to post examples here, in escaped and unescaped form, but they got stripped out by MT).

Just add a foaf:gender property into the element describing you. While you're there, you might also add a foaf:weblog with the same structure as your foaf:homepage entry, to note that you have a weblog (which happens to be the same document as your homepage, currently at least). I'm trying to encourage more people to use foaf:weblog so we can eventually run queries like "Find me the weblogs of short, straight, 37-year-old, Japanese guy who lives in Japan" against FOAF aggregators...

Your mention of people for whom it is much more complicated than "are your male or female" is btw something I tried to address when writing the definition for foaf:gender. Details at
...basic idea is to be respectful of diversity without attempting to be completist about representing every aspect of the world in its full complex glory...

BTW there's been some discussion on the FOAF list of an extension for dating-related stuff, sexuality etc. but nothing much concrete yet. Probably for the best...

We don't have a way of saying that you're Japanese, but you can say that you speak, read and write it: See ....basically you could use a srw:masters element containing the string "jp", and another for "en".

To say where you live or are based, there are other extensions/conventions, eg see markup example:

So we're sneaking up on the ability to service queries for things like "weblogs of short, straight, 37-year-old, Japanese guy(s) who live in Japan"...

Hi.. I'm keen to explore how we could work together in providing software consulting, services and marketing our B2B solutions in Japan. I've been to Japan no. of occassions when I dealt with Hitachi, OKI, NEC, Toshiba etc... Will be glad to hear from you.Cheers..Srikanth

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