Post do Anthony Towsend do The Future of Cities tenta explicar porque cresce o número de cibercafés no Japão, uma dos países com o maior desenvolvimento e acesso público às TICs no mundo. Parece que a chave é a criação de redes de sociabilidade, relaxamento, fãs de mangás…
O paper na íntegra está no BusinessWeek Asia
“I’ve written about Korea’s PC cafes (PC bangs) extensively, and its interesting to see how they the idea is being imported and modified to crate a new kind of “third space” in broadband-rich Japan.
..[I]n Japan, of all places, new Net cafés are springing up with remarkable regularity. According to the Japan Complex Café Assn., an industry group, the number of Net cafés operated by its members is projected to reach 4,100 by 2010, up 50% from five year earlier. Revenue is also rising fast. The JCCA says member revenues will increase 50%, to $2.6 billion, by 2010. Throw in hundreds of mom-and-pop operators and the numbers would be even bigger. “This market will double in 10 years,” says Seiichiro Samejima, an analyst at Ichiyoshi Securities in Tokyo.
Given Japan’s standing as a broadband trailblazer, why are more people logging on at the country’s cybercafés? History plays a part. Many Internet cafés started life as manga cafés—places where comic book fans could pay by the hour to read and relax over a drink. Over the last decade, the line between Web cafés and their manga counterparts has blurred, helping swell the number of customers.(…)
Its branches supplement rows of PCs with massage chairs, shower rooms, and even bathing in germanium, a mineral that is believed to stimulate blood circulation. There are also 30,000-strong manga comic libraries, racks of magazines, and newly released DVDs to watch on the PCs or even in a small number of theater rooms complete with large flat-screen TVs.”