There’s A Popular Literary Genre In Japan Where The Works Are Composed Using?
Answer: Text Messages
The Japanese were early and enthusiastic adopters of cellular technology, so it should come as no surprise that something as peculiar as a novel written on a cellphone and delivered to other cellphones originated in the phone-obsessed country.
Cellphone novels came into being in 2003 when a Japanese man in Tokyo, writing under the name Yoshi, released a novel in SMS-sized chunks. By 2008, five of the ten best-selling print novels in Japan were actually cellphone novels repackaged in print form after original distribution via cellular network. The vast majority of the novels are written by young women and are focused, primarily, on romance and relationships.
What’s fascinating about the genre is that the novels aren’t typically composed ahead of time and then transcribed, but often written bit by bit. The readers consume the novels as they are created much like, to draw a parallel, comic book fans consume comic books in serialized format over time or fans of TV shows come along for the ride as writers craft a show over multiple seasons.
While the experience of consuming a book in tiny SMS-sized chunks might seem horrible if you’re used to the idea of reading multiple pages in traditional books in one sitting, it’s worth noting that the genre has forced a certain type of creativity among cellphone novel authors. The pacing and packaging of sentences in cellphone novels (the excellent ones at least) is very deliberate and focused to create well crafted and digestible bits that the reader can consume day by day (and text by text).
Image by Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr.