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Hydrangea Revolution via Twitter


Hydrangea Revolution via Twitter There is a weekly demonstration going on in Tokyo every Friday in front of the official residence of Prime Minister, to protest against the government's move to restart Oi Nuclear Power Plant.

In Tokyo, Thousands Protest the Restarting of a Nuclear Power Plant

According to my friend Satoshi Nakajima's blog, the movement has recently been given a name "Hydrangea Revolution" - quite an elegant name, right on the season.  In a  hydrangea flower, many little flowers gather in one place to form one big flower, thus this grassroots movement name.

Japanese people have been known for indifference to the political issues, and such "political demonstrations" are considered limited to the "professional extreme activists", far away from their "normal, everyday" life.   But this time, the demonstrations include salary-men on their way home from work and home makers with small children.

The demonstrations have been shut out from the mass media until last week, when finally major TV news covered it, but the crowd is getting bigger every week, mainly due to the power of "social" - Twitter.

In my book "Secluded in Paradise" (2008), I argued that Japanese people would benefit more from such Internet/social tools than US/Western people in organizing such event to express their opinion publicly (I called it "clusterization"), because they have been shy to do so in other method in the past but Internet/social tool would lower the barrier, while our US/Western friends have already been doing it even without the help of Internet/social.  Interesting to see it really happens, even in such a heavily political issue.

Japan's (former) top SNS Mixi reported considering strategic options


Japan used to be one of the very few blank spots in Facebook's world map, along with Brazil and China.  Now, finally, FB is conquering Japan, driving the former king to the corner. Nikkei Business reports that Mixi, which used to be the top social network service in Japan, is on the sale block, although so far there is no formal announcement.

Mixi's demise is not only by Facebook's invasion, but also by its own "ad dependent" business model, Nikkei says.  Mixi lost good chunk of ad sales after Lehman-shock in 2008.  Their arch rival Gree turned itself into a mobile social game company quickly and found a gold mine in subscription+in-app sale business.  Mixi tried to emulate it, starting 2011, but it was too little, too late.

What amazed me was the current size difference between Mixi and Gree.  Mixi's annual sales as of fiscal 2011 (end in March) is 13.3 billion yen, net profit is 750 million yen, while Gree's is expected to be at 170 bil. sales/50bil. yen net profit.  Market cap also is in different digit, with Mixi 25 bil./Gree 340 bil. yen.  Another biggie in this space DeNA is also in the same range as Gree.

The article reports that Mixi is talking to multiple prospective buyers and players such as Gree and DeNA are expected to place a bid.

As a casual observer, it strikes me that even in Japan, the famous "Galapagos" market, Facebook's technical advantage finally wins out.  Popular media often talked about "anonymous net culture in Japan vs. Facebook's real identity policy", but the point is definitely not there.  It is the power of vast data behind it, the technological skill to extract the essence from it, and the existence of ideology of how to utilize that essence.

Yes, it was the power of Facebook, but I believe it was not just "aggressive American" thing or "sheer size".   Mixi have neither technological power nor ideology.

Here is the original Nikkei article and my previous post about Gree:

By the way, after this report, Gree, DeNA and other mobile social game companies decided to stop providing "comp-gacha" games.  That is another source of confusion in this part of the industry, as these companies are expected to lose huge profit.  Turbulent time is expected in Japan's web/mobile industry.

New Episode of "Social Media" Revolution in the War against Nuke Plant

In ancient Japan, or so the folktale goes, there used to be a mountain where old people were taken and abandoned once they reached 60 years of age. Although the practice of obasute was probably more rural legend than actual reality, it is a chilling reminder of the perils of old age in a nation where roughly one-quarter of Japanese are now 60 years old or above.


This news has been going around on Twitter world in Japan for some time - a group of retired engineers are getting together and trying to volunteer in the war zone of Fukushima to stop the nuke power plant calamity. I was thinking that although it was such a brave move, Japanese government and TEPCO would be too bureaucratic to allow such an unprecedented grass-roots move to take any realistic effect.

Now, I just heard the news that the group was officially asked to help by the government and TEPCO, negotiating their position, and that they are currently in the process of establishing themselves as NPO.

This is truly amazing. I don't think it is anything unique to Japan - forget about Bushido, it is long gone, but Americans are known for hero-loving and any other countries have enough number of conscious minded people who would do this under such circumstance. But Japanese have been generally shy and are not used to organizing such things in large scale.

I think Internet age made the change. They put up the site and spread the words through Twitter and other social networks. Domestic and international media took it up, and even more people agreed to join in. It created the momentum.

It may help that the leader, Mr. Yastel Yamada, was a left-wing activist as a student in the 1960's. But the tools - net, Twitter and social media - are there to help now.  They don't have to throw the fire bottles against the establishment - Tweets are stronger than bottles.

So, in a totally different angle, I believe it is another case of "social media" revolution, following "Jasmin Revolution" in Tunisia and Egypt.

Here is the link to their official site. The announcement of the government/TEPCO acceptance is only written in Japanese - the meeting was held on May 26, and was announced on 6/3.