3.12.2009

Keitai Shosetsu (cell phone novels)

I was reading about keitai shosetsu (ケータイ小説), which literally means cell phone [keitai] novel [shosetsu], and had no idea how popular they've become in Japan.

One article explains how it works:

Novels are posted by members of cell phone community sites to be downloaded for free and read on other cell phones...The works are published in 70-word installments, or abbreviated chapters that are the ideal length to be read between shorter train stops. This means that, despite small cell phone screens, lots of white space is left for ease of reading. Multiple short lines of compressed sentences, mostly composed of fragmentary dialogue, are strung together with lots of cell phone-only symbols. The resulting works are emotional, fast-paced and highly visual, with an impact not unlike manga.

And another article says that some authors have gotten good book deals:

These days, books aren’t selling so well, but Keitai Shosetsu, which have low production and promotion costs, have managed to create mass appeal to thousands of readers. Ironically, when they’re bound and printed, Keitai Shosetsu often wind up on the best seller list. Major publishers are starting to acknowledge this new market and there are already 30 professional Keitai Shosetsu writers in Japan.

I also managed to find the Japanese Wikipedia article about keitai shosetsu, with a number of links to books and sites.

I wonder if they'll become popular in the US eventually, or if this is just a Japanese phenomenon.

5 comments:

French Translator said...

I discovered a site that helps you translate texts in any language you want. French Translator it is like a free dictionary. I think it is new.It works great!
Thanks!

mj said...

That's not a site, it's just a Google gadget put on another URL.

RF said...

Dana Goodyear, who wrote an article about keitai novels for the New Yorker, will be speaking about this topic at Japan Society of New York on May 5. For more information, they have a post on their site: http://www.japansociety.org/event_detail?eid=18932d98

RF said...

Sorry. This version of the link to the keitai novel event should be clickable. Ketai Novel Lecture

mj said...

Thanks for the info--if I lived in NYC, I'd go.