camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large

camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large

camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large

camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large

camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large

camera: canon eos digital rebel - click to view large


you can't help but observe the pervasive relationship that young japanese people have with their cell phones. for example: the six photos above, taken near tokyo's shibuya station at dusk, were all captured within about 10 minutes.

as ubiquitous as an ID, there seems to be a cell on every person. they play games, they take photos and video clips, they surf, and they send emails as if they were IMs back and forth. in a culture where the subways have reception and most cells have dangling charms, ("Everyone--and I mean everyone, from the girliest schoolgirl to the grimmest businessman--attaches some sort of cute, dangling charm to the corner of his or her phone." molly wood, cnet), at any given moment in tokyo, you'll find someone focused on their large cell screen.

the phenomenon is called keitai culture. "keitai" means "mobile phone" in japanese.

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Sunday 24 April 2005

young japanese commuters in the current of keitai culture

24 April 05 @ 20:45
Very, interestin',,, although they look very pretty. ::)
24 April 05 @ 21:35
Love that last shot. And Rion, do you have a charm for your Sidekick 2 yet?
Dan Dickinson //

25 April 05 @ 00:46
i'll bite. what were they taking a picture of in the last photo?
25 April 05 @ 06:21
wonderful series :)
25 April 05 @ 08:47
I'm wondering the same as tien, what were they all so happily snapping in the last shot in the series? Great photos, as always!
25 April 05 @ 08:52
I read about the ubiquity of text messaging in Japan and the concerns that it was creating about the youth's ability to use standard computer keyboards. They youth is so fast at using their cells and sometimes so poor at using standard keyboads that they are selling USB keyboards that mimic cell panels. Apparently the kids are faster typing with their cell panel USB, than the standard keyboard. Just google, 'USB thumb keyboard japan'. Wow.
25 April 05 @ 09:36
last one is really great!
25 April 05 @ 09:36
Suugggoiiii desu neee! These sets are really great. I want to return to Japan more and more...
25 April 05 @ 09:48
the last shot: they were all focused on one times-square-like video display above the interesection...
25 April 05 @ 11:27
Goooooder: I'm 100% with you on that. For some reason I find myself missing Tokyo much more than other cities I've visited. I really can't wait to go back.
25 April 05 @ 11:44
great shots! love the last one. i want to go back, too.
25 April 05 @ 14:00
~it's gonna reveal my age, but I remember when NO ONE had a cell phone...~
25 April 05 @ 17:03
Ha, I remember when my dads cellphone was literally the size of a brick with no screen just these huge buttons and some big ass aerial....Someone tried to mug him for it once and he hit them with it - they were knocked out. Those were kinda cool thinking about it.
Joseph //

26 April 05 @ 03:12
Ah, I would love to see what kind of electronics they have in Tokyo. It's surprising that even businessmen festoon their phones with cute charms. I have to say I'm guilty of loading up my tiny phone with tons of charms--but since I abuse my phone most of them have fallen off! Great series of photos, I think you got the character of the people you photographed.
26 April 05 @ 16:16
love this series -- especially the last two! oh, and my first cell phone was the Moto CA Flip-Phone, that was basically a brick with a fold out flap. my current phone is smaller then that flap...
26 April 05 @ 17:53
The last one is magical! :)
27 April 05 @ 04:01
interesting... =)
27 April 05 @ 14:35
i love the bottom image. for some reason my favorites are usually at the bottom of your posts! it looks almost set up, they're so in sync with each other. were they photographing something above them?
27 April 05 @ 16:36
Great pics, I really like the first one and the last one though.
27 April 05 @ 22:52
Great pics... just set the last one as my background. You do great work.
28 April 05 @ 11:37
The look on everyones faces for the last picture is priceless
29 April 05 @ 05:25
Cool, both the people and the images :-)
stef & rollo //

29 April 05 @ 05:36
The Images are amazing! and i totally agree with everyone who visited Japan - especially TOKYO and now missing the place. i was there 3 months ago and i still can't stop talking about it. and i have 2 charms on my phone - one with my name on it and a bright red Geta (Geisha wooden clogs) that i got from Japan. couldn't resist!
SaRz //

29 April 05 @ 11:55
before i went to Asia, my Chinese professor said that most people who go either never come back or constantly miss it. i also constantly miss it and am always talking about it and these pictures make it worse! but they are wonderful.
01 May 05 @ 09:28
it looks cold there. they are pretty cell-phone crazy here in hong kong as well. i like my cell phone.
02 May 05 @ 00:56
These are great! The last one, especially, is priceless.
chiaroscuro //

04 May 05 @ 17:07
The last shot is of course everyone snapping some great photos of Godzilla once again destroying the famous Tokyo Tower... it happens every few years, they just go with the flow. I love the fact the in Japan they have screens on their cell phones so when they are crammed into the daily commuter trains, your neighbor who's briefcase is stabbing you in your back, can't read your dirty little secrets while you text message.
joe g //

12 May 05 @ 18:15
That last photo, with everbody looking at their keitei is 100% pure awesome. That should be in a museum. Positively fantastic.
02 November 06 @ 16:20
Where's all the good looking Japanese women??
chris //

11 February 09 @ 04:41
i found your blog accidentally and I really really like it. i write a blog myself at and it is about fashion, Zagreb and my ideas regarding life. I might "steal" an idea or two from your blog in order to make mine more interesting, hope you won't mind. bbye
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Rion Nakaya is an expat photoblogger in Paris London.

One of the first photobloggers in New York City, Rion has been documenting her photos online in narrative sets since late 2000. (Most are on this site.)


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