Nicodou has brought the 2channel style of community to Web video. The site lets users plaster their comments directly on top of any uploaded video. Posts are sometimes so numerous that they obscure the clips. "Even when the videos are boring, the viewers are getting together and entertaining each other," Nishimura says.Link
"Hiroyuki's figuring it out as he goes along, not really giving a shit, but he hit the nail on the head," says Joi Ito, a Tokyo-based venture capitalist and CEO of Creative Commons. "Japan is an unhappy culture. The people are lonely and depressed, and the Internet is a release valve."
To the online communities at 2channel and Nicodou, Nishimura is a folk hero and role model. (In Japan he's referred to solely by his first name, a privilege afforded only to top-tier pop stars and TV heartthrobs.) And in a nation that actually has a word for "death from overwork," Nishimura takes pains to point out that he hasn't had to exert himself much to achieve success and fame. He's just a slacker who showed a nation how to goof off. In his 2007 book Why 2channel Will Never Fail, he wrote: "If running the site required me to get up at 9 am every morning, wear a suit, and not have time to play videogames, I'd probably quit."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.