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Keetai Meeru: Younger People's Mobile Written Communication in Japan

Author(s): OKUYAMA, Yoshiko

Journal: Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
ISSN 1476-9158

Volume: 2009;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Mobile phones | technology-mediated communication | youth culture | keitai meeru | participant observation | field work | school surveys | gender-based differences.

Mobile phone technology is rapidly permeating our everyday lives. In Japan, the mobile phone, or keitai, is considered an absolute necessity for work and personal use. The most frequent users of keitai are Japanese adolescents. This article describes the recent developments and characteristics of keitai meeru (e-mail via mobile phones), a popular form of communication amongst Japanese youth. The data presented here was derived from multiple sources: a survey taken of approximately 900 middle school, high school, and university students in the summer of 2006, interviews with teenage informants, and participant observations collected in 2006 and 2007. The main purpose of this study was to identify changes in the characteristics of keitai meeru reported in previous studies and to provide a more current perspective on school and gender-based differences in Japanese youth cyber communication. The study first highlights the findings of the quantitative data which include some statistically significant school- and gender-based differences in the frequency, purposes, and reasons for keitai meeru communication. The study then summarizes the informants' personal views in contrast to the perspectives of the surveyed adolescents.
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