Inside the Japanese Blogosphere

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

Says one Japanese blogger:

The fridge door swung open, 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, which offers Japan's most popular blogging tool, may campaign for the governing Liberal Democratic Party as a star candidate in the upcoming Lower House elections, scheduled for September 11. A University of Tokyo graduate, Horie intends to 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.

Update: Horie will run as an independent candidate.

Besides offering free portable DVD players to new bloggers (only until September 30, and some restrictions apply!), Ameba Blog holds a contest each month for the twenty most popular Japanese blogs, 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, won 5000 yen at 12th place. Blogs about shopping and celebrities are among those that received 10,000 yen, while a blog devoted to flash games and other neat stuff 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! The blog, which features cartoon artwork, documents the blogger's oppressive life with his wife. The tone is humorous, and the blog has struck such a chord with its readers that it has been adapted into a manga series and a television show on Fuji Television, the network with close ties to Livedoor.

Livedoor and Cyberagent, 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, Ameblog's publishing unit, has wasted no time putting out two volumes of I have an ogre for a wife!, both of which can be bought on Amazon.

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