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The number-one blog in Japan

Via BoingBoing, Japanese uber-blogger Joi Ito announces that the Technorati Japan website is up and running in beta.

According to Technorati's Top 100 ranking, the number one blog in Japan is Kawori's Chronicle, by Kawori Manabe, a popular aidoru (translation: "idol", basically a bikini and fashion model).

You might be thinking, "Well, of course her blog is popular. She's a model who probably posts lots of sexy pictures of herself on it."

But Kawori's blog has hardly any pictures of her at all. There are a few thumbnail links to e-commerce sites selling her photo books, but that's about it. (There's certainly nothing on it like this.)

Kaori's blog is essentially just a low-key diary of her day-to-day life. Here's a sample, translated from her latest post (I've tried to preserve her formatting as much as possible):

Why not get a new curtain for a change

...I was thinking,

so I went to the "Franc Franc" store.

Guess what happened?

There was a nice curtain,

But ready-made sizes don’t fit.

For my windows,

the width has to be 100 cm, height 165 cm

and I need two of them,

But the ones that are ready-made are in between

So I decided to get a custom order

And asked the store clerk:

     "Excuse me, I want to order a curtain"

Clerk: "Do you know the width?"

     "Uh, yes, the width is...

          100 meters"

Clerk: "Huh?... 100 meters...??" :-o

     "Yes, 100 meters"

Clerk: " mean 100 centimeters, right?"

Huh?...!!   :-P

"Um, yes, 100 cm"

...Like, what kind of a room would need a 100-meter curtain!

     I was thinking.

After that, I was able to place my order with no problem, but

when I thought about a 100-meter curtain, it was so funny that

while I was ordering I almost burst out laughing and tried to cover it by coughing.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to its arrival.

Last week I was able to relax so,

I will try hard to post more later on.
Her posts like these get hundreds of trackbacks each. Go figure. There are plenty of serious Japanese blogs, as I noted in this post, but the most popular one is pure fluff.

Marxy comments on the state of Japanese blogging here and here.

Japan Media Review looks at the Technorati rankings and adds some background on Kawori Manabe:
While still a student at the prestigious Yokohama National University, Manabe won the "Dream Girl Grand Prix" contest sponsored by the young men’s magazine "Hot Dog Press," according to the Japanese-language Wikipedia. That launched her career as an "idol" (Japanese slang for starlet or heartthrob), and she went on to gain particular fame as a swimsuit model, and later as an actress in advertisements, movies and various television programs. But she's also a proficient PC user, and before beginning her blog had written her own Web page in HTML (this, according to an interview that appeared on the National Police Agency's security portal web site, of all places.)
JMR also notes that one of the books linked on Kawori's site is a beginner's guide to investing in stocks that credits her as co-author. I'm betting most of the heavy lifting was done by Oki Matsumoto, who is famous in Japan for being one of the youngest people ever to become a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and who subsequently left to launch his own online brokerage.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievably insipid and boring... yet fascinating. Tell me more Kaori. 

Posted by Bojack

Anonymous said...

I think Kawori's benefitting from early-adopter status.
I first became aware of her blog quite a while ago (Now why would I have been googling Manabe Kaori?) and at the time I had yet to find any Japanese people who even knew what a blog was. It's just like the American Technorati--some of the blogs in the top spots are there because they've been around longer, not because they're better. Now that blogs are finally taking off here in a big way, she'll probably be displaced soon.  

Posted by Big Ben

Anonymous said...

Humor doesn't translate very well.

I've taken a look through some of her posts, and they are actually not as dumb in Japanese as a reading of this translation suggests. They aren't Proust either, but which blog is? I think some of her stuff is actually fairly creative... like in one post she talks about how a crowded Shibuya is like slow-walking-vote strategy the opposition takes in Japanese parliament (like I said, humor doesn't translate very well...).

If she's already a celebrity and writes pretty well (I think), it's not THAT surprising she's a blog star in Japan.  

Posted by Chompsky

Anonymous said...

Hey, another reason for me to learn to read and speak Japanese! Seriously, I was just wondering the other day wether blogs were taking off in Japan.

I really would like to learn Japanese; I am so addicted to Anime. I often find anime websites in Japanese only...

I lived in Okinawa for six years, but was too caught up in work (military) to learn the language. 

Posted by gecko

Anonymous said...

I am Japanese and while I recognize why such blog is popular in Japan, think the blog is pretty dumb and painful to read after a while. The "Slow Walking Vote Strategy" is just an expression and not original. 

Posted by NYer



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