2channel is the largest anonymous forum in the world, where Japanese people can reveal their inner feelings and their true side in complete anonymity. 2channel contains 837 boards of every subject imaginable in Japan, categorized into about 41 broad subjects. Each board has its own culture, memes, resident posters, yet bound together with the common 2channel culture. The site is very powerful that the Japanese Government, businesses, and law enforcement monitor the site for their own various reasons.
2channel was founded and administered by Hiroyuki Nishimura on May 30th 1999, while he was a student at the University of Central Arkansas and an Amezou Worlder. He had some free time, and wanted to create a Web page for other people would provide content. But the site got popular when many Amezou worlders wanted to discuss the Toshiba scandal, where a 2channeler was verbally abused by a Toshiba costumer care representative when he complained about a faulty VCR. As an end result of that and Neomugicha incident (when a 2channeler threatened to attack a bus station, which he later carried out the threat) 2channel was in the media and public spotlight, and thus many Amezou worlders and the mainstream public became 2channelers.
The name of the site was based on the second channel of Kanto region of VHF broadcast television in Japan. It also had a double meaning as a second home for many Amezou worlders, when Amezou world was down due to frequent server problems. Eventually most Amezou worlders transferred to 2channel when Amezou closed down for good.
2channel introduced two aspects of the Western Imageboard Culture: Topic recurrency and Tripcodes. Topic recurrency occurred when a thread reached 1000 posts. After 1000 posts, a person has to self-elect to create a new thread of the same topic. Tripcodes is a single set of cryptonic hash used to verify that they are the same person in a single thread or on the site. Tripcodes can be simple (One #), secure (two ##), or a combination of both (one # with a code and ## after the code).
2channel can be seen as a reflection of what Japanese society is. Everything from serious issues being discussed that is not mentioned in polite society, to other things that are just plain stupid (like VIPPER culture). By the least 2channel can be viewed as a great way to study Japanese cultural subjects such as following like Wa, Tatamae and Honne, ijime, and Murahachibu.
2channel is well known for the Mona cat family of characters which are so popular that they have a font created after the characters. Books are sometimes made from 2channel based on entire threads, such as the story of Densha Otaku (Train Man) which was published as a book, a manga adaptation, and Japanese drama adaptations as well.
2channel is also infamous for its VIP board, known as News4VIP, and it’s VIPPER culture: A board for all walks of life, but not for actual breaking news but more of a chatroom. A board where basically making posts or content that is considered “useless, crazy, reckless, absurd, idiotic, foolish or even for something that is creative in any one of those” to any normal 2channeler. They’re known for various stunts and trolls in 2channel history, such as the creation of the VIPPERloids.
2channel eventually gave birth to Japan’s first imageboard, Futaba Channel during the August 2001 crisis.
For Further reading:
2channel – Japanese Wikipedia: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/2%E3%81%A1%E3%82%83%E3%82%93%E3%81%AD%E3%82%8B
2channel’s success rests on anonymity- The Japan Times: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100406i1.html
2channel-Everything Shii Knows: http://shii.org/knows/2channel
Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings – New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/09/world/japanese-find-a-forum-to-vent-most-secret-feelings.html
Project.DENSHA – The ‘Densha Otoko’ Translation Project: http://www.rinji.tv/densha/
2ch.net, an Anonymous Social Network – Google Blogoscoped: http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-11-07-n16.html
Vipperloid – Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vipperloid/220893964598139?sk=info
Ndee “Jkid” Okeh (YSJkid@gmail.com)