Futaba Channel was created during the August crisis of 2001, when 2channel was in danger of being closed down due to overwhelming server load due to the ever expanding use from the media coverage. 2channel made two responses to the crisis, this and another one preserving the textboard coming from UNIX. In order to differate itself from 2ch.net, the admin created a url to 2chan.net. While started as a textboard refuge for anime, manga, video game, and other varied otaku it transformed into an imageboard due to a need to share images without using off-site hosts.
Futaba Channel is more narrowly focused on otaku and underground topics than the more mainstream 2channel. There are boards for video games, internet games, candy and ramen. But there are boards for politics, economics, and advice. Most recently boards for the recent Toidai Earthquake and for nuclear power issues were created. However the heart of the Futaba Channel is focused on the /b/ boards.
The /b/ boards are divided into /b/ itself, and Nijiura. Futaba’s /b/ is actually the general 2-D board for material about anime and manga. The /b/ many 4channer’s refer to is actually a group of boards known as the Nijiura boards. A place where gag pictures, memes, photoshopped images and all sorts of stuff which gave birth to many net characters and the general Futaba Culture. It’s a combination of of two phrases: “Two dimensions” and “Flip side”. The full word for Nijiura in Japanese is “Nijigen ura”. The word Nijiura combines Niji and ura. The Two dimensions part of the board is reference to anime- and manga-related artwork and materials (Nijiura wiki), than the three-dimensions of film, television, and photography. The flipside means it’s an alternative board to the original two-dimensional board.
The OS-tans, Nijiura Maids, Gaijin 4kama, Yaranaika, BIKECAT, MIYOCO, Mageres, Mr.Munday, Musashi GUN-DO, a Master is OUT, Longcat, Nevada-tan, Moetron, the Waha character, and the Kimoi girls were borne from Nijiura. Many of these gag images, net characters, and injokes were used as bridge memes between Futaba and 4chan.
The Nijura boards are resided by the Toshiaki. Most of the work on the Nijiura boards is created by them where they anonymously create, modify, and suggest ideas. Ideas can include gag pictures, to full blown characters. Due to the high posting rate only anything that “strikes a note with a significant number of people stays, while ideas that fail to attract support disappear”. With the basic requirement to remain popular with the Toshiaki, there are no true guidelines.
The Nijiura boards has become a symbol of Futaba channel. There are seven nijiura boards in all of Futaba: img, dat, may, jun, nov, dec, and cgi. Each nijiura subdomain has a difference in culture and content, and they have their own original characters and mascots. In particular, the may subdomain is often used to test various functions thus they call that subdomain of nijiura the experimental board. The may server is also considered more friendly to foreigners who are able to post on Futaba and new futaba channers than the other Nijiura boards.
What made /b/ and by extension Futaba different is that content is actually empirical. Empherical means that content is ongoing and never persistent. In layman’s terms it means that it will eventually disappear. Depending on the size of the community and thus it’s posting rate, threads can last from anywhere from ten minutes to several hours. This is in contrast with threads on 2channel, where threads can last for anyway from hours to days when people actively post in them. And when the thread gets automatically locked when reached 1000 replies, it stays on the boards practically forever because they get moved to an archive.
Unlike the administrator of 2channel, who is well known in the domestic and international media. The administrator of Futaba Channel has not been known, in reflection of the underground nature of the site. No one in Futaba channel knows who admins the site, nor how do other moderators of Futaba Channel get selected or run the site. The administrator’s name is only known as Kanrinin-san (Mr. Administrator). However, in some fanart depict the administrator of Futaba Channel as a female or a fujoshi (female otaku).
Futaba Channel eventually gave birth to 4chan not by a Futaba Channeler, but by an American who wanted to have a English 2chan. Christopher “moot” Poole with a few of his friends, founded 4chan and introduced it to Something Awful Forums ADTRW forum. While originally modeled after Futaba channel, it turned into a creature of its own. Not to mention it gave birth to the Western Imageboard Culture.
Secchan Nijiura Wiki: http://web.archive.org/web/20080207021610/http://secchan.net/nijiwiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
Futaba Channel – Japanese Wikipedia: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%81%B5%E3%81%9F%E3%81%B0%E2%98%86%E3%81%A1%E3%82%83%E3%82%93%E3%81%AD%E3%82%8B
Nijiura-Tanasinn wiki: http://tanasinn.info/wiki/Nijiura
Futaba Channel - Everything Shii Knows: http://shii.org/knows/Futaba_Channel
Thinking about 4 chan by 2chan mad – Lanf-8: http://lang-8.com/235151/journals/794817/thinking-about-4-chan-by-2chan-mad
Ndee “Jkid” Okeh (YSJkid@gmail.com)