Japanese Wikipedia

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The Main Page of the Japanese Wikipedia on 3 April 2021.
Main Page of the Japanese Wikipedia in April 2021
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available inJapanese
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
LaunchedMay 11, 2001; 20 years ago (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-source online 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 October 2021, it has over 1,297,000 articles with 15,189 active contributors, ranking fourth behind the English, Spanish and Russian editions.[2]

As of June 2020, it is the world's most visited language Wikipedia after the English Wikipedia.[3]


In March 2001, three non-English editions of Wikipedia were created, namely, the German, Catalan and Japanese Wikipedias.[4] 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.[5]

The first article was named "Nihongo no Funimekusu" (meaning "Phonemics of the Japanese language"). 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.


In September 2004, the Japanese Wikipedia was awarded the "2004 Web Creation Award Web-Person Special Prize"[6] from the Japan Advertisers Association.[7] 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.


Origin of viewers on the Japanese Wikipedia.

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


  • An edit is kept only if it is legal under both Japanese and United States laws, to account for the fact that the vast majority of contributors live in Japan. This has two major consequences:
    • The fair use provisions of US law are not considered to be applicable. Articles and media files which do not have a GFDL-compatible license are prohibited, even if they would be legal under the "fair use" doctrine in the US.
    • Materials considered illegal cannot be kept in the archive, even reverted by oneself but caught in history archive. If an illegal edit is inserted between valid versions, a SysOp may remove specific revisions by deleting the article temporarily and restoring valid revisions.[8]
  • Quotation is discouraged. There is controversy over the GFDL compatibility of quotations. Articles that contain quotations will be deleted unless they meet all the following legal requirements:
    1. The source is clearly referred to.
    2. The quotation is necessary.
    3. The quoting and quoted works can respectively be regarded as the principal and subordinate both in quantity and quality.
    4. The quoting and quoted works are clearly distinguishable.[citation needed]
  • Cut-and-paste moves within Wikipedias, including merging, splitting, and translation from another language are not allowed unless the original article source and date is explicitly referred to in the edit summary, because such moves are considered to be GFDL violations.[9] Articles created in such a manner will be deleted. A comparable policy is in place on the English Wikipedia, but it is only casually enforced.
The Japanese Wikipedia has the most anonymous contributions as compared to other major languages in Wikipedia.[10] The image is as of December 2007.


  • IP users' contributions are high compared to other major language versions of Wikipedia (see graph).
  • The Japanese Wikipedia has the lowest number of administrators per active users (only 0.26%).[11]
  • Edit wars are strongly frowned upon. Articles may be protected as a result of an edit war with as little as three or four edits. Protected pages will not be unprotected unless someone explicitly requests it. Perhaps because of this, as of September 2005 the Japanese Wikipedia had the second-highest number of articles protected for over two weeks, after the German Wikipedia.[12] In May 2008, 0.0906% of articles were fully protected (only editable by admins), which was by far the highest percentage among the ten largest Wikipedias.[13] Articles on sensitive topics, such as Japanese war crimes and current territorial disputes, are almost always under lengthy protection.
  • On April 18, 2010, there was a proposal to create a new namespace specifically for WikiProjects to shorten the name of a WikiProject. This proposal finally passed and a new namespace named "プロジェクト:" (Project:) was created for WikiProjects on September 20 the same year (UTC).[14]
  • The edition stresses the fact that it is not a news bulletin, and discourages edits on current events.[15]
  • In keeping with the strong aversion to edit wars, the administrators react negatively to cases where many minor edits are made to a single article in a short period of time.[16]
  • The Japanese Wikipedia is Japan-centered, due to the fact that the majority of users are Japanese people. When referring to places outside Japan they are often called "overseas", and references to Japanese perspective on articles are common. They are trying to discourage this tendency.[17]


  • Articles will be deleted if they contain the names of private citizens, unless they are public figures. An article about Shosei Koda, a Japanese citizen kidnapped in Iraq, does not refer to him by name,[18] but former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's name may be mentioned due to his public position. Convicted criminals and their victims are considered private citizens, even if the case was extensively covered in Japanese media, and their names may not be published until their death.[19]
  • The Japanese edition of the English policy Ignore All Rules (directly linked to one of Five Pillars) is neither a policy nor a guideline.
  • The Japanese edition of the English Wikipedia how-to guide How to write a plot summary is a formal guideline.
  • The Japanese edition of the English Wikipedia page Handling trivia (which is an explanatory supplement to the Manual of Style guideline on trivia sections) is a formal guideline as well.
  • The Japanese edition of the English banning policy is not a policy, for lack of the Arbitration Committee.
  • Toukou Burokku Irai (Blocking requests), which has no corresponding rules in English Wikipedia, is frequently used. And often well-known users who have been active for a long time are blocked indefinitely. The blocked user may appeal for lifting the block, as in the case of blocking in English Wikipedia.
  • A closely related fact is that there is no local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation in Japan.


Andrew Lih has written that influence from 2channel (2ch) resulted in many Japanese Wikipedia editors being unregistered and anonymous.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22] In relation to this, the Japanese Wikipedia is known to have a poor number of moderators as of early March 2010.[23]

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,[24] where hate speech, personal attacks and derogatory expressions are common, and also the source of entertainment.[25] 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.[26][27]

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!)"[28]

There are threads of textboard's named "【百科事典】ウィキペディア第dddd刷【Wikipedia】" (lit. "[Encyclopedia] Wikipedia Part dddd edition [Wikipedia]") related to the Japanese Wikipedia on 2channel. In these textboards, the Japanese Wikipedia community informally discuss with each other anonymously. On Twitter, they use accounts associated with their username and "#jawp" for mentioning to Japanese Wikipedia.[29]


Attention was brought to the Japanese Wikipedia article about Kozo Iizuka (ja:飯塚幸三), which describes his accomplishments in detail, but makes no mention of how he killed a woman and her young daughter in the Higashi-Ikebukuro runaway car accident that made him a household name in Japan. [30] An administrator applied protection to the article and later defended their own action saying that any other article would have been protected when vandalised to a similar level. The seeming censorship was questioned by Asahi Shimbun, a major news outlet. [31]

In 2021, it came to light from a joint academic free speech investigation involving American University, Arizona State University, and published in the magazine Slate that the Japanese Wikipedia was engaging in historical revisionism and whitewashing on a number of articles, especially the Japanese Wikipedia article for the Battle of Hong Kong (ja:香港の戦い), the Japanese Wikipedia article for Comfort women (ja:日本の慰安婦), the Japanese Wikipedia article for the Nanjing Massacre (ja:南京事件) and the Japanese Wikipedia article for Unit 731 (ja:731部隊).[32][33] The Slate article's author, Yumiko Sato, recommended the following courses of actions: (1) make users register if they want to edit on Wikipedia, (2) provide oversight such as training the administrators, and (3) increase collaboration between languages.[33]

On July 19, 2021, Keigo Oyamada as Cornelius, the composer of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games opening ceremony, resigned after it emerged that he had bullied classmates with disabilities when he was a student.[34] FLASH, a Japanese weekly magazine, criticized Japanese Wikipedia for repeatedly removing over multiple years the addition of information about Oyamada and his history of bullying, despite this information having already been reported on in reliable sources in the 1990s in another magazine's interview report at the time. The FLASH argued, "If Wikipedia had mentioned the facts of Oyamada's bullying, he may not have been appointed from the beginning."[35]


  • Lih, Andrew. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia. Hyperion, New York City. 2009. First Edition. ISBN 978-1-4013-0371-6 (alkaline paper).


  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. ^ Monthly overview - ja.wikipedia.org, Wikimedia Statistics, July 11th 2020
  4. ^ 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)".
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ ギョーム・ブランシャー. "on the Web Advertising Bureau". Award.wab.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  7. ^ "JAA English site". Jaa.or.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ ja:Wikipedia:削除の方針
  9. ^ ja:Wikipedia:削除依頼/勝興駅
  10. ^ 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).
  11. ^ "List of Wikipedias by speakers per article". Meta.wikimedia.org. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  12. ^ Erik Möller: Wikipedia page protection report Wikitech-l mailing list, Sep 14 00:39:12 UTC 2005
  13. ^ Tim 'avatar' Bartel: Entsperrung der Wikipedia WikiDE-l mailing list, 2008-05-28 07:45:55 GMT (in German)
  14. ^ ja:Wikipedia‐ノート:ウィキプロジェクト/名前空間の新設
  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. ^ ja:イラク日本人青年殺害事件
  19. ^ Česky. "Wikipedia:存命人物の伝記 - Wikipedia" (in Japanese). Ja.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  20. ^ Lih, p. 145.
  21. ^ Lih, p. 146.
  22. ^ Cohen, Noam (31 August 2009). "Wikipedia Looks Hard at Its Culture". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings". Nytimes.com. 2004-05-09. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  25. ^ "2channel-ization of Wikipedia, Nobuo Ikeda's official blog, 2006, Japanese". Blog.goo.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  26. ^ "About Japanese Wikipedia, Hatena Keyword, Japanese". D.hatena.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  27. ^ "Japanese Wikipedia is like honey bucket of Japanese internet" (in Japanese). 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2009-10-23. interview with Kazuhiko Nishi (in Japanese). J-CAST News.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ "Wikipedia:ツール", Wikipedia (in Japanese), 2019-05-10, retrieved 2019-09-14
  30. ^ "【池袋暴走事故】飯塚幸三被告が大炎上! ウィキペディア編集不可能で「賞賛」のみ掲載 / 事故詳細には名前記載せず | バズプラスニュース". バズプラスニュース | ラーメン二郎、話題の芸能、ホットな記事が満載です! (in Japanese). 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  31. ^ ウィキペディアで加筆と削除の応酬 池袋暴走事故めぐり 2020-09-25 Asahi Shimbun
  32. ^ Sato, Yumiko (2021-03-19). "Non-English Editions of Wikipedia Have a Misinformation Problem". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  33. ^ a b Sato, Yumiko (2021-01-09). "日本語版ウィキペディアで「歴史修正主義」が広がる理由と解決策" [Reasons Why “Historical Revisionism” Is Widespread on Japanese Wikipedia and Solutions for It]. Yumiko Sato’s Music Therapy Journal (in Japanese). WordPress. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  34. ^ "Tokyo Olympics: Composer Keigo Oyamada resigns over bullying at school", the BBC NEWS, 19 July, 2021.
  35. ^ 小山田圭吾、海外からも批判されて辞任…なぜウィキに「いじめ問題」は記載されてなかった?FLASH、July 19, 2021 21:34

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