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Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life Hardcover – July 22, 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Geert Lovink taught me how to think critically about technology, and I always turn to him for thoughtful and humane analysis. Too few technology writers have any sense of social and cultural context, and too few technology critics have an appreciation of why people find technologies attractive and how they improve people's lives. I recommend Dark Fiber to those who haven't yet learned to think critically about Internet technology and the culture that has grown up around it, and to those critics who fail to see the real advantages afforded by the Internet."--Howard Rheingold, author of *The Virtual Community* and *Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution*

About the Author

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies new media use, particularly among young people, in Japan and the United States, and a Professor in Residence at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Misa Matsuda is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Chuo University, Tokyo.

Daisuke Okabe is Lecturer at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Shonan Fujisawa Campus, Japan.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262090392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262090391
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, examining children and youth's changing relationships to media and communications and is Professor in Residence and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, with appointments in the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Informatics. Her work on educational software appears in Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software. In Japan, her research has focused on mobile and -portable technologies, and she co-edited a book on that topic with Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. She has led a three-year collaborative ethnographic study, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, examining youth new media practices in the US, and focusing on gaming, digital media production, and Internet use. The findings of this project are reported in Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media. She is co-editor and contributor to a book on fan culture, Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World.

Continuing this work on informal learning with new media with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, she is Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at UC Irvine and Chair of a MacArthur Research Network on Connected Learning. She is co-founder of Connected Camps, a benefit corporation dedicated to offering socially connected online learning experiences for all kids.

She has been awarded grants by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Intel Research, the Abe Fellowship Program, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is the recipient of the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies from the American Educational Research Association. Her web site is at http://www.itofisher.com/mito.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you work in the mobile communications space and you aren't Japanese, you probably ought to have a copy of this book. It provides a wealth of data and references on Japanese mobile phone use that have been hidden behind the language barrier for too long. (NB: This is sociology and anthropology data we're talking about, not marketing data. It's data about how people do things and think about things, not how many widgets they bought last year.) Mimi Ito has done the community (particularly the research community) a huge service by getting this collection published.
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Format: Hardcover
In Japan and Europe, cellphone usage is higher than in the United States. Thus to an American reader, this book can be interesting on several levels. Perhaps as a sociological commentary on how Japanese society has accepted and accomodated the pervasive use of the phones. To an extent not currently seen in much of the US, except possibly amongst teenagers in large cities. The book is a fascinating read of how quickly an technological item has become part of the fabric in Japan. The passages on phone etiquette also suggest what might also eventuate here.

On a business level, the book can be used for ideas into future usages, in Japan or elsewhere. If you are trying to find a novel business involving cellphones, it helps to study a society that has taken them further.
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Format: Paperback
Personal, Portable, Pedestrian is a research book by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, and Misa Matsuda. Two main points of the book I found interesting were the tracing of history of keitai (cell phones) and the discussion of public and private space and how keitai should be used in public. The book was well written and accomplished what it sets forth to do, which is laid out clearly in the introduction. The two downsides of the book are that it is often repetitive, which may be an outcome of having multiple authors, and that it is outdated, it was published in 2005. Therefore, some of the facts you read in the book are no longer accurate. As an American teen reading the book, it is interesting to compare the culture of Japan, especially in regards to cell phone use, to our own. There are many times in the book where you will find yourself comparing your life to that of Japanese citizens. At some times, their use of cell phones will you remind you of your own. At others, you will find yourself surprised by the differences. In all, if you are looking to learn more about Japanese culture and keitai use, this book is definitely for you!
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Format: Paperback
I would not recommend Personal, Portable, Pedestrian. The text defines Japanese mobile phone usage as keitai, which is a physical device, and as it has grown more deeply engrained in society and communication, has become a cultural phenomenon. While the text delivers important reflections on keitai in its social and cultural roles, it significantly lacks in providing the context of Japanese culture necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the matters at hand. Personal, Portable, Pedestrian does not provide enough cultural evidence to have a full understanding and appreciation of the social implications of the keitai revolution. Without background knowledge of Japanese social structures, it is difficult to understand what the paradigm shifts mean in application.
The text is also dreadfully repetitive. The poor organization of ideas allows for repetition within the chapters without increasing understanding or meaning. The text also lacks a cumulative conclusion. There is no purposeful ending or aggregate of the concepts drawn on throughout the text.
The reflection of the social influences of keitai use on social selectivity and Japanese family life are the two strongest most interesting aspects of the text. It also opens reflective speculation on American cellphone use. We had a Socratic seminar style assignment with this text and we found that we spent the majority of our discussions focused on how certain examples or social uses of keitai were different and similar in American cell phone culture. Personal, Portable Pedestrian is outdated, as it was published in 2005, so It’s informational value would be a historical view of the development of Japanese cell phone usage within the late 90s and early 2000’s. In conclusion, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian was averagely informational but the detached voice was disengaging. It made it difficult to stay interested or gain information of value from reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Keitai is defined as “a snug and intimate technological tethering, a personal device for supporting communication that are a constant, lightweight, and mundane presence in everyday life” (Mizuko Ito), in other words a mobile phone. In 1970’s there was a spark of increase in keitai use in Japan and many parts of the world such as the United States. “Personal, Portable, Pedestrian” written by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, and Misa Matsuda analyzes the underlying cause for quick popularity of keitai use in Japan and focuses on how and why the impact mobile phones in Japan has made such a significant change in Japan’s cultural and social aspect of life. Keitai has not only influenced the younger generation but also has altered the definition of privacy, shined a light on the importance of connections, and the importance of personalization.
The novel exemplifies an issue with mobile phones that is happening in Japan and it encourages people to step out of their comforts and immerse themselves into issues other cultures are facing in order to broaden their perspectives of issues happening around the world. The novel provides very detailed information about the integration and role keitai plays in the Japanese culture, however, the novel’s style of writing falls into the writings similar to those of a scientific text book, because the novel does not take the opportunity to elaborate and analyze deeper into the main ideas, thus failing to successfully conclude each point established. The novel leaves the readers confused because rather than choosing to wrap up the main purpose of the novel, the author instead choose to introduce an entirely new topic about the effects of keitai.
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