2ch home page.
URL 2ch.net
Slogan 「ハッキング」から「今晩のおかず」まで (From "hacking" to "side dishes for tonight's dinner")
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Textboard
Registration Optional, USD33.00/year
Available language(s) Japanese (some parts are in English)
Created by Hiroyuki Nishimura
Launched 1999-05-30
Alexa rank decrease 310 (November 2011)[1]
Revenue ¥100 million/year[2]
Current status Active

2channel (2ちゃんねる ni channeru?, 2ch for short) is a Japanese textboard. In 2007 there were 2.5 million posts made every day.[3][4] Launched in 1999, it has gained significant influence in Japanese society, comparable to that of traditional mass media such as television, radio, and magazines.[3][5][6] As of 2008, the site generates revenue upwards of ¥100 million per year for its founder Hiroyuki Nishimura.[2] It is legally operated under Packet Monster Inc., a company based in Telok Ayer, Singapore.[7][8][9]



2ch was opened on May 30, 1999 in a college apartment in Conway, Arkansas, on the campus of University of Central Arkansas[3] by Hiroyuki Nishimura, known simply as "Hiroyuki" (ひろゆき?)[10]

The website's scale and management style are unique. It has more than 600 active boards (Japanese ita (?)) such as "Social News", "Computers", and "Cooking", making it the most comprehensive forum in Japan. Each board usually has around 600 active threads.[citation needed] Each thread, in turn, contain up to 1000 comments which are anonymous.

2ch operates on innovative forum software[citation needed] which is a major departure from 1980s bulletin board systems or 1990s forum software such as vBulletin. Most importantly, nearly everything is done anonymously and voluntarily. A posting in a thread will either "age" (あげ/アゲ?) (bump, from Japanese "ageru" (あげる/アゲる/上げる?), to raise) or "sage" (さげ/サゲ?) (not bump, from Japanese "sageru" (さげる/サゲる/下げる?), to lower) its position in the thread list; "sage-ed" posts have no effect on its position. Threads may be "sage-ed" if the thread is disliked, or to keep it from cluttering the main thread list, or to prevent idle browsers from flooding in and trolling the thread at the top of the list.

Each thread is limited to 1000 postings at maximum, and a new thread must be opened (by some anonymous user, self-elected during discussion) to continue discussion. This prevents the rotting of old threads and keeps active topics refreshed. It also saves bandwidth, which is a major concern on a forum as large as 2ch. Old threads are moved to a paid archive, then eventually deleted.


Shift JIS art depicting 2ch-born characters created by anonymous users.

Anonymous posting

One of the most distinctive features of 2ch is the complete freedom of anonymous posting. This is a large departure from most English language internet forums which require some form of registration, usually coupled with email verification for further identification of an individual. On 2ch, a name field is available but seldom used. Entering one's name in the field, unless you do so with an obvious purpose, would identify you as a newbie who does not understand the forum, an administrator, or someone attempting to be a Web celebrity.

The reason for allowing anonymous posting was given in an interview with the founder of 2ch in the Japan Media Review:

Q: Why did you decide to use perfect anonymity, not even requiring a user name?
A: Because delivering news without taking any risk is very important to us. There is a lot of information disclosure or secret news gathered on Channel 2. Few people would post that kind of information by taking a risk. Moreover, people can only truly discuss something when they don't know each other.
If there is a user ID attached to a user, a discussion tends to become a criticizing game. On the other hand, under the anonymous system, even though your opinion/information is criticized, you don't know with whom to be upset. Also with a user ID, those who participate in the site for a long time tend to have authority, and it becomes difficult for a user to disagree with them. Under a perfectly anonymous system, you can say, "it's boring," if it is actually boring. All information is treated equally; only an accurate argument will work.

However, open proxies are banned from posting on 2channel.

Free speech and derogatory language

The only type of posts which are not allowed are vandalism posts (for example, spamming and flooding) and posts which could be classed as slander under Japanese law, and could result in legal action being undertaken against 2channel. Also, posts which declare intentions to commit a crime would be referred to the police, due to events such as the Neomugicha incident.

Incidents such as this have happened in the past. 2channel, with its massive size and anonymous posting, is abundant with slander, hate speech[11] and defamation against public figures, institutions, minorities, and specific ethnic groups.[12] Though the site has a rule to delete illegal postings defined under Japanese law, the scale and anonymous nature of the site makes a prompt response difficult. In certain occasions, 2channel was accused by some for being reluctant to remove defamatory postings.[13]

In January 2007, a small court in Japan, making a judgment on yet another slander case, announced that 2channel's holding company was bankrupt and it would be repossessed. This claim was openly mocked by Nishimura on 2channel's splash page, and nothing of the sort happened, although 2channel's Japanese ISP ended its operations.[14]

Affinity towards conservative politics

There are some indications by Japanese internet news media and sources, assuming 2channel as a major foothold for "net-uyoku" or "internet right-wing" nationalists and patriotic supporters.[15] On a survey conducted on Nico Nico Douga, a popular video sharing site contextually related to 2channel, support for the then-ruling conservative LDP was notably higher than those conducted by news papers before its rule collapsed.[16][17] For some years, Japanese traditional newspapers and media avoided indicating 2channel by its own name, and instead, indirectly referred to it as "anonymous message board on the internet" when related incidents occurred. Human rights activists are often frowned upon and mocked at 2channel, and often called "anti-Japan (anti-patriotic)", "Korean", "communists" in derogative context.[18][19]

Sexually explicit context and expressions

2channel is also noted for posts and Shift JIS art having explicit sexual context and engaging expressions, in many cases intertwined with hate speech[clarification needed] context. In accordance, many of its advertisement arrangements are affiliated links to commercial sex-oriented sites,[20] by using its referral system.[21]


2ch members participate in various distributed computing projects such as the United Devices Cancer Research Project and SETI@home. 2ch is the current leader of the UD project, with the highest results and point total, as well as having the largest number of participants.[dated info]

Referral system

2channel uses a referral system for any links to external websites posted on the forum. People clicking on a link are first sent to a page filled with advertisements on the ime.nu domain where a link to the actual site is placed. Apart from collecting revenue from the 2channel visitors it also attracts website owners of the linked pages who check their statistics and can't link it back to 2channel.[22]

Users will often attempt to bypass this system by removing the h from http in URLs, encouraging others to copy and paste the link, thus avoiding the referral page. For example, http://ja.wikipedia.org/ would become ttp://ja.wikipedia.org/.

2ch phenomena

Densha Otoko

Between March and May 2004, an anonymous user posted in a sub-forum for single men to decry his woes. His post detailed an event that had happened that day as he was riding the train. According to his account, he was sitting on the train when he noticed an attractive woman. Suddenly, a drunken man entered the car and bothered many passengers, who did not offer any resistance to his disturbance. This man then began to sexually harass the woman, and seeing no-one else coming to her aid, the poster told the man to stop bothering the woman. The two struggled for a short time while the other passengers used this distraction to call the conductor, who took control of the situation.[2]

This poster was an extremely introverted, socially inept otaku. Never having done such a thing before in his life, he was amazed to find that the woman was thanking him deeply for saving her from harassment. They exchanged addresses and parted ways. The poster, upon returning home, began talking with other posters in the thread and was nicknamed "Densha Otoko" (電車男?) ("Train Man") for his bravery.

A bit later, Densha received a package from the woman he had saved. This package, originally thought to be a generic thank-you gift, turned out to be an expensive tea set. Flabbergasted, he turned to the 2channelers for advice: he was convinced that such a gift was too expensive to be a mere thank-you gift. Densha then contacted the woman and began meeting her regularly, all the while posting updates on 2ch and discussing the matter with other posters. Following their collective advice, he got a haircut, purchased new clothes, and began to come out of his shell. After seeing her for a while, his personality had changed and this culminated a few months later in Densha confessing his love for the woman. She accepted and when the 2channelers were informed of this there was a mass celebration; posts began flowing in congratulating the new couple.[3]

Because 2ch has an enormous impact on net culture in Japan, this story quickly spread throughout the media and became an instant hit. Its almost fairytale-like simplicity and emotional power drew people to the story, and a copy of the original threads relating to the story was published in a book. Since then, there have been four manga adaptations of the story; a feature film which reached #1 in the box office upon its release; and a hugely popular TV live-action drama aired during 2005. According to Densha Otoko and Hermes (the nickname of the woman; named after the brand of the tea-set she sent him), they are still together[dubious ].

Masashi Tashiro

In 2001, 2ch users voted en-masse for Japanese TV performer Masashi Tashiro as Time Magazine's Person of the Year. This act was soon dubbed the "Tashiro Festival" (田代祭 Tashiro Matsuri?) by 2ch users. Tashiro was infamous in the Japanese media for committing several crimes, including peeping up a woman's skirt using a camcorder, using stimulants twice, peeping in a male bath house and causing a car accident. 2ch programmers developed many scripts with whimsical names like the "Tashiro Cannon" (田代砲 Tashiro-hō?), "Mega particle Tashiro Cannon" (メガ粒子田代砲 Mega-ryūshi Tashiro-hō?), "25-round Automatic Tashiro Cannon" (25連打田代砲 Nijū-go renda Tashiro-hō?) and the "Super Tashiro Cannon" (超田代砲 Chō Tashiro-hō?) for sending automated repeating votes. The "Super Tashiro Cannon" was so powerful it crashed Time's server. (The next script, the "Satellite Cannon -Tashiro-" was developed, but never used.) Due to the votes of 2ch users, he got to the No. 1 position temporarily on December 21, 2001. However, Time's staff realized that something was unusual, and Tashiro was removed as a candidate.[3]


There's also an IRC network called 'IRC@2ch', whose main IRC and web server are both hosted on irc.2ch.net. The network is rather small with three servers, no services, and fewer than 2000 users.[23] The chat in most channels is in Japanese, using the ISO-2022-JP encoding. The network maintains a list over what channels are currently the most active on its web page.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "2ch.net Site Info". Alexa Internet. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/2ch.net. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Meet Hiroyuki Nishimura, the Bad Boy of the Japanese Internet". Wired. http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-06/mf_hiroyuki?currentPage=2. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d Katayama, Lisa (2007-04-19). "2-Channel Gives Japan's Famously Quiet People a Mighty Voice". Wired (magazine). http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2007/04/2channel. Retrieved 2010-11-29. "This single site has more influence on Japanese popular opinion than the prime minister, the emperor and the traditional media combined. On one level, it serves as a fun, informative place for people to read product reviews, download software and compare everything from the size of their poop to quiz show answers. But conversations hosted here have also influenced stock prices, rallied support for philanthropic causes, organized massive synchronized dance routines, prevented terrorism and driven people to their deathbeds." 
  4. ^ Statistics for the current day, split out by channel, are at stats.2ch.net
  5. ^ Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings, NYTimes.com, May 9, 2004
  6. ^ "Taro Aso said he occasionally posts on 2channel". MSNSankei. 2007-10-06. http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/situation/071006/stt0710062210004-n1.htm. (Japanese)
  7. ^ "2ちゃんねる、海外企業に譲渡 ― 西村博之氏からPACKET MONSTER INC.へ譲渡完了" (in Japanese). RBB TODAY. 2 January 2009. http://www.rbbtoday.com/news/20090102/56801.html. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "2ちゃんねる、"言論の自由なき日本"を見捨てた?" (in Japanese). MSN産経ニュース. 2 January 2009. http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/it/090102/its0901021022001-n1.htm. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Alex Martin. "2channel founder ponders next step after forum's sale". Japan Times. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20090124a1.html.  "Speculation abounds, however, that the move may be a legal trick to deflect further lawsuits filed against Nishimura for the site's frequently libelous content."
  10. ^ Matsutani, Minoru, "2channel's success rests on anonymity", Japan Times, April 6, 2010, p. 3.
  11. ^ "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings (Page 2 of 2)". NYTimes.com. May 9, 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/09/international/asia/09toky.html?pagewanted=2. ""But Channel 2 is also a window into Japan's ugly side. Many of the contents tend to be nationalistic and xenophobic, especially toward Koreans. When Sony and Samsung recently announced a joint project, users attacked Sony for cooperating with the South Korean company. "Die, Sony!" read several comments. "Die, Koreans!" Many wrote that they hated Koreans, using a derogatory term to describe them."" 
  12. ^ Japan: Flaming and the secrets we hide, 2007, globalvoicesonline.org
  13. ^ [1] a case made by Debito Arudou
  14. ^ n:Japanese court plans to seize control of 2channel
  15. ^ J-CAST NEWS, 2009, Japanese
  16. ^ survey results on niconico douga, April, 2009, japan.internet.com
  17. ^ survey, June, 2009, nicovideo, Japanese
  18. ^ a site summary showing such mocking in a rather lighter form: an incident where a Chechnya activist was shot and killed
  19. ^ the corresponding incident on Human Rights Watch
  20. ^ http://ime.nu/sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/election/091126/elc0911261939000-n1.htm !!WARNING!!EXPLICIT!! an example. 2channel uses ime.nu for its referral ad scheme
  21. ^ ime.nu stats from boardreader.com
  22. ^ "18 HOUR Visit to my site?". Reuters. April 4, 2005. http://forum.statcounter.com/vb/archive/index.php/t-16685.html. Retrieved July 13, 2007. 
  23. ^ "NetSplit IRC Statistics". NetSplit. 2006-08-21. http://irc.netsplit.de/networks/details.php.en?net=2ch&submenu=years. 

External links

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