Reading Keitai Novels or Virtual Toilet Flushing, Mobile Phone Uses in Japan

I don't think Japan is the only country where mobile phone users do many things with it besides phone calls from snapping bar codes-tags for product and event information, getting updates, watching movies and the list goes on.

Lyndsay Whipp in From golf swings to toilet flushing: the mobile phone delivers (FT, December 10) documents many of these.

You might have heard already of novels written on mobiles. Now Keitai (mobile) books (or 'keita shosetsu') and Manga reading on cell phones is one of the most popular uses by Tokyo commuters.

Ad Blankestijn of Japan Navigator in Keitai Novels (Jan 2009) gives us some perspective on the topic:

"The first keitai novel ('Deep Love') was an exception, because it was written by a man. The keitai phenomenon that took off two or three years ago, has been wholly dominated by women. They write under short pen names, and strictly guard their real identity. Often they are young married women, who in their stories may pretend to be much younger. Also due to the nature of the medium, the novels are written in simple language, with very short sentences and a minimum of descriptions."

Some like Koizora were even turned into movies (DVD below) and TV dramas.


More odd to my western eyes maybe was what is called Eco-Oto', virtual flushing to cover the actual sound of bathroom use popular with Japanese ladies according to the article.

Stippy describes it as Virtually flushing your money away to save face (Nov 11, 09) in mentioning an 'Eco-Oto' app for the I-Phone.

The FT article explains why this cell phone program has gained traction:

"Many women in Japan are self-conscious about using public toilets or lavatories in restaurants and bars, with fear of being heard by next door’s occupant. It has led to many flushing the toilet throughout their time in the lavatory. But digital contents developer Polygon Magic has come up with an application to stop the water waste and end the embarrassment. It recreates the flushing noise, which can be set at either 30, 60, 90 or 120 seconds and with adjustable sound levels."

Brought back to mind a previous piece I wrote on Washlets, A Warm and Refreshing Toilet Experience from Japan (January 2009).

Life on the go for Tokyo Thursdays # 117

Previously: Japan Exposures, A Gateway to Japanese Photography

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