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Inside the Japanese Blogosphere

Categories: Japan, Citizen Media

Japanese bloggers were able to offer almost realtime accounts [1] of the recent earthquake in northern Japan [2].

Says one Japanese blogger:

The fridge door swung upon, the goldfish bowl fell off the shelf, and it was just a terrible situation inside the house…There have been a lot of earthquakes here in recent years, which makes me a little worried. And it shook for such a long time…

Takafumi Horie, 32 year-old head of Livedoor [3], which offers Japan's most popular blogging tool, may run for the governing Liberal Democratic Party as a star candidate [4] in the upcoming Lower House elections, scheduled for September 11. A University of Tokyo graduate, Horie may run against the popular Shizuka Kamei, a former LDP heavyweight who was recently ousted from the party for opposing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's postal reform bill.

Besides offering free portable DVD players [5] to new bloggers (only until September 30, and some restrictions apply!), Ameba Blog [6] holds a contest each month for the twenty most popular Japanese blogs [7], and prizes range from 5000 yen (about US$45.00), to 100,000 yen ($900.00). Blog popularity appears to be determined according to page hits.

Japan's Outrageous Asian Neighbours
, previously highlighted on Global Voices Online [8], won 5000 yen at 12th place. Blogs about shopping [9] and celebrities [10] are among those that received 10,000 yen, while a blog devoted to flash games and other neat stuff [11] was awarded 30,000 yen.

The number one blog for July won 100,000 yen, and its title can be loosely translated as I have an ogre for a wife! [12] The blog, which features cartoon artwork, documents the blogger's oppressive life with his wife. The tone is humorous, and has the blog has struck such a chord with its readers that it has been adapted into a manga [13] series and a television show on Fuji Television, the network with close ties to Livedoor.

Livedoor and Cyberagent [14], Ameblog's parent company, often like to be seen to be working together.

There are also plans to turn I have an ogre for a wife! into a movie in the near future as well.

Needless to say, Ameba Books, [15]Ameblog's publishing unit, has wasted no time putting out two volumes of I have an ogre for a wife!, both of which [16] can be bought on Amazon.