Japanese Wikipedia

Japanese Wikipedia
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia project
Available in Japanese
Headquarters Miami, Florida
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Website ja.wikipedia.org
Commercial No
Registration Optional
Launched May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11)

The Japanese Wikipedia (ウィキペディア日本語版 Wikipedia Nihongo-ban, literally "Wikipedia: Japanese-language version") is the Japanese-language edition of Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia. Started on 11 May 2001,[1] the edition attained the 200,000 article mark in April 2006 and the 500,000 article mark in June 2008. As of December 2016, it has over 1,042,000 articles.[2] In April 2016, the project had 4,192 active editors who made at least five edits in that month, ranking fourth behind the English, Spanish and Russian editions.


In March 2001, three non-English editions of Wikipedia were created, namely, the German, the Catalan, and the Japanese Wikipedias.[3] The original site address of the Japanese Wikipedia was http://nihongo.wikipedia.com and all pages were written in the Latin alphabet or romaji, as the software did not work with Japanese characters at the time. The home page also showed an early attempt at creating a vertical text.[4]

The first article was named "Nihongo no Funimekusu". Until late December in that year, there were only two articles.


On January 31, 2003, a Japanese online magazine, Wired News Japanese edition, covered Wikipedia. After that, the number of participants started to increase considerably and many pages about the Wikipedia project were translated or created.

On February 12, 2003, the Japanese edition of Wikipedia reached the 1,000-page milestone, two years after the English edition. Given that accomplishment, Slashdot Japan posted a story about the Japanese Wikipedia. Several days after that, the number of participants doubled, attesting to the power of the Slashdot effect. Because of this exposure, a variety of articles started to appear, among them physics, biology, information technology, literature, music, games, manga, and celebrities.

On July 15, 2003 the Japanese Wikipedia reached 10,000 articles, four months and three days after the 1,000-article milestone, beating the time it took the English Wikipedia to achieve the same feat. By early 2004 the Japanese Wikipedia contained 30,000 articles. The increase in both articles and contributors was steady after that, and by late September it had reached 75,000 articles.

The major force behind the expansion appeared to be a number of links at Yahoo! Japan News. It is unknown exactly when Yahoo! started to put links to the edition in their articles, but as of August 2004, dozens of news articles posted on Yahoo! Japan contained links to the edition to explain terms in the articles. Lately, the developers of Wikipedia have noticed that certain spikes in server usage correspond to the publishing of Yahoo! Japan news articles containing links to Wikipedia.


In September 2004, the Japanese Wikipedia was awarded the "2004 Web Creation Award Web-Person Special Prize"[5] from the Japan Advertisers Association.[6] This award, normally given to individuals for great contributions to the Web in Japanese, was accepted by a long-standing contributor on behalf of the project.


The Japanese Wikipedia is different from this English Wikipedia in a number of ways.

The Japanese Wikipedia has the most anonymous contributions as compared to other major languages in Wikipedia.[9]


Andrew Lih has written that influence from 2channel (2ch) resulted in many Japanese Wikipedia editors being unregistered and anonymous.[18] Because of the lack of registered users, Japanese Wikipedia editors as a whole interact less with the international Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation than editors of other Wikipedias do. Lih also wrote that Japanese Wikipedia users are less likely to engage in edit wars than users on Wikipedias of Western languages, and typically they would instead make alternative drafts of articles on their own userspaces.[19]

Jimmy Wales has pointed out at a conference that the Japanese Wikipedia is significantly more dominated by articles about pop culture than other Wikipedia projects, and according to one of his slides, as a New York Times journalist saw it, "barely 20 percent" of the articles on the Japanese Wikipedia were about anything else.[20] In relation to this, the Japanese Wikipedia is known to have a poor number of moderators as of early March 2010.[21]

Nobuo Ikeda, a known public policy academic and media critic in Japan, has suggested an ongoing 2channel-ization phenomenon on the Japanese Wikipedia. Ikeda argues that by allowing anonymous IP users, the community spawns a type of culture seen in the likes of anonymous message boards such as 2channel,[22] where hate speech, personal attacks and derogatory expressions are common, and also the source of entertainment.[23] He also remarks on the "emotional-outlet"/"get rid of stress" aspect of Japanese internet culture where 90% of blogs are anonymous, compared to the U.S. where 80% of blogs are expressed under one's own name. Ikeda's arguments are not the only sources hinting cultural correlation, influence, overlapping users from 2channel.[24][25]

In 2006 Kizu Naoko (木津 尚子), a Japanese Wikipedian, stated that on the Japanese Wikipedia most users start out as page editors and uploaders of images, and that the majority of people continue to serve in those roles. Some people apply to become administrators. Kizu said "Unfortunately, some apply for this role out of a desire for power! And then are surprised when they get rejected. (This is a kind of ‘regressive career path’—from an immature editor to a banned one!)"[26]



  1. "[Wikipedia-l] new language wikis". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  2. メインページ. Wikipedia (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  3. From the Wayback Machine: An early English Wikipedia "HomePage" dated 2001-03-30, with links to sister projects in "Deutsch (German)", "Catalan", and "Nihongo (Japanese)".
  4. An early Japanese language Wikipedia HomePage (revision #3), dated 2001-03-20 23:00, using Romanized Japanese. A subsequent version (revision #5, dated 2001-03-23 14:52) attempts at vertical text.
  5. ギョーム・ブランシャー. "on the Web Advertising Bureau". Award.wab.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  6. "JAA English site". Jaa.or.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  7. ja:Wikipedia:削除の方針
  8. ja:Wikipedia:削除依頼/勝興駅
  9. 46% of the total contributions, compared to 31%, 28% and 19% of English, German and French editions. See Wikistats, ja, en, de, fr (May 31, 2008; English stats updated to October 2006, German February 2008).
  10. "List of Wikipedias by speakers per article". Meta.wikimedia.org. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  11. Erik Möller: Wikipedia page protection report Wikitech-l mailing list, Sep 14 00:39:12 UTC 2005
  12. Tim 'avatar' Bartel: Entsperrung der Wikipedia WikiDE-l mailing list, 2008-05-28 07:45:55 GMT (in German)
  13. ja:イラク日本人青年殺害事件
  14. Česky. "Wikipedia:存命人物の伝記 - Wikipedia" (in Japanese). Ja.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  15. ja:Wikipedia:性急な編集をしない
  16. ja:Wikipedia:同じ記事への連続投稿を減らす
  17. ja:Wikipedia:日本中心にならないように
  18. Lih, p. 145.
  19. Lih, p. 146.
  20. "Wikipedia Looks Hard at Its Culture". The New York Times. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  21. 悩むウィキペディア 少ない管理人 芸能系ばかり人気. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2010-03-04. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  22. "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings". Nytimes.com. 2004-05-09. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  23. "2channel-ization of Wikipedia, Nobuo Ikeda's official blog, 2006, Japanese". Blog.goo.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  24. "About Japanese Wikipedia, Hatena Keyword, Japanese". D.hatena.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  25. "Japanese Wikipedia is like honey bucket of Japanese internet." (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-10-23. interview with Kazuhiko Nishi (in Japanese). J-CAST News.
  26. "How and Why Wikipedia Works: An Interview with Angela Beesley, Elisabeth Bauer, and Kizu Naoko." (Archive) Proceedings of the International Symposium on Wikis (WikiSym), 21-23 Aug. 2006, Odense, Denmark, ACM Press, 2006. Page 3-8. Retrieved on October 31, 2011.
Japanese edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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