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Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life Hardcover – July 22, 2005
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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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Top customer reviews
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. The authors’ encourages readers to take the information learned from this novel into a more global context but the lack of direct global relevance, makes it difficult to find a personable connection with the context and the purpose of the novel. Overall, I would not recommend this novel for a scholarly reading but for people who are interested in learning about the history of a modern issue happening in the Japanese culture.
In the introduction to Personal, Portable, Pedestrian by Mizuko Ito, the audience is told to expect an explanation of keitai use, not just specifically to Japan but to a global stage as well. It states: “This introduction serves to locate the keitai as a particular sociocultural object in relation to the international state of mobile communications adoption and sociocultural research” (Ito 1). With this in mind, I read PPP through two lenses, one of a Japanese perspective and one of an international perspective. This global perspective was virtually absent however, a flaw I found to be overwhelming. The book allowed me to relate it as best I could to my own experiences and life but offered little expertise to assist me in doing so.
The amount of repetition within Personal, Portable, Pedestrian was unnecessary and consequentially distracting. For example, chapter one served as a helpful preview of many things later explained in the book, however, an introduction for that purpose precisely had already preceded it. Its section “from a business tool to a youth medium” is explained copiously in chapter three and four, its topic of family and gender is deeply illuminated in chapter eleven, and its explanation of the effect on interpersonal relationships is clarified in all of section three and much of section four.
With that said, "Personal Portable Pedestrian" is informative and a great source for discovering more about Keitai. The authors that are responsible for each section are qualified and educated about the topic. It is filled with visual aids that support the specific arguments that each author is making. It is safe to say that the authors weren't attempting to write a book that would be a captivating read. In the end, I recommend "Personal Portable Pedestrian" for those looking for information on the topic. It would be helpful for those doing research projects on modern Japanese society or even projects on technology’s increasing impact in the 21st century. However, I would hate to see anyone purchase the book for pleasure reading. You’ll find yourself struggling to keep your eyes on the text. It is simply too repetitive, too dry to enjoy reading.