From Trends in Japan:
The bestselling novel Deep Love was self-published in installments by the author on a website that offers content packaged for users of mobile phones. The story is about a 17-year-old girl named Ayu, who finds love through a chance encounter. The author, who calls himself Yoshi, created a website providing content for mobile phones in May 2000 with an investment of just ?100,000 ($909.09 at ?110 to the dollar). Using a promotional campaign that consisted of passing out business cards to about 2,000 high-school girls in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station (the center of Tokyo youth culture), Yoshi released The Story of Ayu, the first installment in the longer novel. News of the novel spread by word of mouth, and within three years the site had received a total of 20 million hits. Mobile phones can receive e-mail of up to 1,600 characters. While this is more than adequate for most personal use, the limit presents unique challenges to the author of a novel. Yoshi, however, not only managed to overcome this challenge but even turned it to his advantage by keeping the prose concise and fast-paced. The novel maintains a straightforward, conversational style and avoids the use of difficult words. Thanks to this quality, the story has found favor even among people who do not typically read novels.
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