Term Paper: Cell Phone Technology in Japan

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[. . .] , 2005). Another writer states, "Cell phone text messages are also a popular way to communicate with potential friends or lovers. Many Internet sites maintain cell phone-accessible portals via which users can search for and contact others with similar interests" (Author not Available, 2009). Older Japanese are critical of this use of cell phones as well, as they believe it is encouraging cell phone users to open up their circle of friends and acquaintances to strangers, something they do not approve of, as well.

Clearly, the issues facing Japanese cell phone use are issues of morals and ethics that do not appear in most other cultures. Cell phone use is so widespread in Japan that it is not surprising there are bans on certain activities in public places. In Japan, many cell phone users do not have a computer at home, because of high connection costs, so they use their cell phones as their primary source of Internet access, as well, and they often do this in public spaces, as well. The implications for someone accessing pornographic or questionable material in public spaces are a moral and ethical dilemma, too, and one that worries many Japanese sociologists and researchers.

Just as in the United States, email and text messaging is creating a new language in Japan, using abbreviations and other words to shorten sentences and greetings. Many people in Japan worry that this will lead young people away from traditional Japanese language culture that has been 2000 years in the making, and is turning them in to children with very few communication skills, either in person or for business. While most schools do not allow students to use cell phones in the classroom, most students use them on breaks, before, and after school, and they tend to look down on any student who does not have a cell phone. Researchers worry that the cell phone culture in Japan has become so prevalent, that it is changing the youth culture of the country, and creating a younger group that is extremely technology oriented. It is interesting to note that because cell phones are so prevalent, and young people are not using computers as much, their keyboarding skills are declining, and some even dislike using PCs at all (Ito, et al., 2005).

Another very distressing moral and ethical aspect of cell phones is the growing use of them in criminal activities. Another author notes, "The Mainichi Shimbun reports that the keitai cameras have become 'a favorite of perverts who like taking snapshots up women's dresses'" (Dziesinski, 2004). They have also been implicated in many other criminal activities from prostitution to child pornography and in more violent crimes, such as robbery and rape (Dziesinski, 2004). All of this is having an affect on Japanese society, and some see the morals and ethics of the entire country transforming as the popularity of cell phones only increases among Japanese young people.

In conclusion, there are many moral and ethical implications for Japanese cell phone technology and their use in Japanese society. While they make communication much easier, they are creating a culture that many Japanese believe is unwelcome, and even dangerous. They are creating a nation of youth who communicate with another "language," appear to have bad manners in public, and do not care about others, and many believe regulation is the answer to the problem of cell phones in public places.


Author not Available. (2009). Japanese cell phone culture. Retrieved 29 July 2009 from the Japanese Lifestyle Web site: http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/culture/japanese_cell_phone_culture.html.

Betts, R.F. (2004). A history of popular culture: More of everything, faster, and brighter. New York: Routledge.

Dziesinski, M.J. (2004). What is "keitai culture"? Retrieved 28 July 2009 from the Towakudail Blogs Web site: http://towakudai.blogs.com/Keitai.Research.Survey.pdf.

Ito, M., Okabe, D., and Matsuda, M. (2005). Personal, portable, pedestrian: Mobile phones in Japanese life. Retrieved 28 July 2009 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Web site: http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=10610.

Jardin, X. (2005). How mobile phones conquered Japan. Retrieved 28 July 2009 from the Wired Web site: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/08/68537. [END OF PREVIEW]

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