Internet-linked cell phone usage among Japan’s youth has led to rising PC illiteracy. Anyone who’s visited Tokyo understands Japan’s cell phone culture — seems that nearly everyone has one, and uses it frequently. From Smartmobs:

Yasushi Takashita smiled sheepishly when his slender girlfriend Rika, clinging to the train stanchion next to him, suggested he use the Internet to search for some college-related information he needs.

“I don’t know how to use a PC,” he admitted as the yellow Chuo Line train car bumped out of Yoyogi, an area in central Tokyo with a high concentration of private prep schools.

Takashita, a 19-year-old cram school student hoping to enter a four-year college this spring, is not alone. A surprising number of Japan’s high school students graduate without learning how to use a personal computer, let alone the Internet.

How can this be in gizmo-crazed Japan? The answer lies in a combination of educational policy, peer pressure, and most importantly, the dramatic increase in the use of Internet-enabled cell phones in Japan over the last four years.

“Five years ago, before cell phone e-mail came into such widespread use, all college students felt the need to own their own PCs,” says Hiroshi Hanamoto of the online marketing firm Promotions. “Today, students with cell phone mail can easily get by without buying their own computers. Besides, they don’t have the money.”


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