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"2ch" redirects here. For the Sydney radio station, see 2CH. For 2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, see 2C-H.
This article is about "ni channeru". For 2chan.net, see Futaba Channel.
2ch home page.
Web address 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
Registration Optional, US$33.00/year
Available in Japanese (some parts are in English)
Owner Jim Watkins
Created by Hiroyuki Nishimura
Launched May 30, 1999; 16 years ago (1999-05-30)
Revenue ¥100 million/year[1]
Alexa rank
Negative increase 326 (August 2015)[2]
Current status Active

2channel (2ちゃんねる ni channeru?, 2ch for short) is a Japanese textboard. In 2007, 2.5 million posts were 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] During 2008 the site generated an annual revenue upwards of ¥100 million for its founder Hiroyuki Nishimura.[1] The website was previously operated under Packet Monster Inc., a company based in Chinatown, Singapore, between 2009 and 2014.[7][8][9] It has been described as "Japan’s most popular online community, with around ten million users accessing it each day."[10]

The name "2channel" is allegedly a reference to how RF modulators, commonly used for connecting earlier-generation game consoles to television sets, default to VHF channel 2 in Japan.[11]


2ch was opened on 30 May 1999 in a college apartment in Conway, Arkansas on the campus of University of Central Arkansas[3] by Hiroyuki Nishimura, known simply as "Hiroyuki" (博之/ひろゆき?).[12] At the time, 2channel served as the successor to an earlier anonymous textboard known as Ayashii World.[13] Since 2channel's servers were located in the United States, the website enjoyed a greater degree of immunity to legal action from within Japan, in comparison to its predecessors.

In 2004, the website was at risk of being shut down due to poorly coded serverside Perl code which caused the website to function sluggishly. Volunteer programmers from the UNIX board assisted in refactoring the website code, which reduced memory usage.

In 2009, Hiroyuki transferred ownership of the website to Packet Monster Inc., a company based in Chinatown, Singapore, while remaining as an administrator. However, due to Japanese bystander laws which state that a website holds full responsibility for the regulation of its community in the event that it becomes accessory to a crime, Hiroyuki was charged with promoting the sale of narcotics on December 20, 2012.[14] Later on August 24, 2013, the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau declared in a tax audit that Nishimura failed to declare 100 million yen worth of website revenue which is subject to income tax.[15]

In August 2013, an accidental leak placed the credit card details and personal details of thousands of 2channel users into the public domain,[16] exposing the anonymous profiles of various high level personas such as politicians and writers, in addition to exposing users to identity theft.[17][18][19][20] As a result, a series of lawsuits were filed against the website. Around the same time, a controversial community development known as the anti-matome movement occurred. "Matome blogs" (まとめブログ?) are websites specialising in summarising 2channel threads, and initially began as volunteer efforts, however many of these sites eventually became more sensationalised over time so that they could gain higher viewcounts and advertising revenue. The controversy escalated when matome blogs began revealing real-world identities of 2channel posters, with some consisting of slanderous fabrications. As a result, the community became divided and polarised over the issue.

On February 19, 2014, 2channel underwent a domain name repossession, with Jim Watkins, an ex-US Army officer and chairman of San Francisco-based N.T. Technologies taking full control over the website, relieving Nishimura of all power, and assuming the role of website administrator.[21] It was later revealed that 2channel was suffering from financial setbacks prior to the takeover.[22] In response, Nishimura created his own clone of 2channel at 2ch.sc,[23] scraping the contents of the entire 2channel website and costing the original 2channel website significant bandwidth costs. Currently 2ch.sc continues to scrape the contents of 2channel in real-time. In a Q&A session on 4chan shortly after becoming the site's owner, Nishimura claimed that control over 2channel was stolen by Watkins, and that he had filed a lawsuit against Watkins.[24]



The website's scale and management style are unique. It has more than 600 active boards ( 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. 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" 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; they are then eventually deleted.

Referral system[edit]

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.[25]

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/.


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

Anonymous posting[edit]

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 it is 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.

Slander and legal issues[edit]

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.

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.[26]

Nationalism and hate speech[edit]

2channel, with its massive size and anonymous posting, is abundant with slander, hate speech[27] and defamation against public figures, institutions, minorities, and specific ethnic groups.[28][29] 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. On occasion, 2channel has been accused of being reluctant to remove defamatory postings.[30] The discussion boards are also often used to coordinate real-life demonstrations; as an example, 2channel users organised an August 2011 rally against Fuji Television, under the concern that the channel was broadcasting too many Korean television shows.[31]

Political speech[edit]

There are some indications by Japanese internet news media and sources, assuming 2channel as a major foothold for "net-uyoku" or "internet right-wing" (ネット右翼 netto uyoku?) nationalists and patriotic supporters.[32] 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 newspapers before its rule collapsed.[33][34] 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.

Sexually explicit context and expressions[edit]

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,[35] by using its referral system.[36]

2ch phenomena[edit]

Densha Otoko[edit]

Main article: 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. [3]

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.[37]

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 No. 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 ].

Husky and Medley[edit]

A similar story (2ch being involved as matchmaker/audience) began in June 2008[38] and was published on pixiv as Husky and Medley (ハスキーとメドレー, Hasukii×Medoree).

Masashi Tashiro[edit]

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 21 December 2001. However, Time's staff realized that something was unusual, and Tashiro was removed as a candidate.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Meet Hiroyuki Nishimura, the Bad Boy of the Japanese Internet". Wired. 19 May 2008. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "2ch.net Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-08-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d Katayama, Lisa (19 April 2007). "2-Channel Gives Japan's Famously Quiet People a Mighty Voice". Wired (magazine). Retrieved 29 November 2010. 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. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (9 May 2004). "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings, NYTimes.com, May 9, 2004". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Taro Aso said he occasionally posts on 2channel". MSNSankei (in Japanese). 6 October 2007. 
  7. ^ 冨岡晶 (2 January 2009). "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. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  8. ^ 立川優 (2 January 2009). "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. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Alex Martin. "2channel founder ponders next step after forum's sale". The Japan Times.  "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. ^ Sakamoto, Rumi. "‘Koreans, Go Home!’ Internet Nationalism in Contemporary Japan as a Digitally Mediated Subculture". The Asia-Pacific Journal. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  11. ^ 2ch thread at [1]; probably dead at later than this time of writing.
  12. ^ Matsutani, Minoru, "2channel's success rests on anonymity", Japan Times, 6 April 2010, p. 3.
  13. ^ Stryker, Cole (2011). Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web. New York: The Overlook Press. pp. 133–134. ISBN 9781590207383. 2channel was based on a previous text board called Ayashii World, the first big anonymous text board in Japan... Ayashii World, like many anonymous chan boards, experienced so much downtime that its owner began to receive death threats, prompting him to shut down the board in 1998. 
  14. ^ "警察庁長官:悪質管理者「検挙も」…掲示板の違法情報放置". Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). December 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. 
  15. ^ "申告漏れ:2ちゃんねる元管理人が1億円 広告収入の一部、譲渡後も関与裏付け". Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). August 24, 2013. Archived from the original on September 18, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Accidental leak IDs over 30,000 ‘anonymous’ 2channel users". The Japan Times. September 17, 2013. 
  17. ^ "作家は暴言謝罪、不倫もバレる? 2ちゃん情報流出騒動" (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. September 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ "<個人情報流出余波>書き込みバレて"公開処刑"". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). August 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ "流出したデータを利用し2ちゃんねらーを検索するシステムが登場!". Yukawanet (in Japanese). August 30, 2013. 
  20. ^ "「2ちゃんねる」個人情報漏えい事件、AKB関係者のアカウント流出で大騒動に!?". Livedoor (in Japanese). August 27, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Who holds the deeds to gossip bulletin board 2channel?". The Japan Times. March 20, 2014. 
  22. ^ Jim Watkins (February 19, 2014). "Let's talk with Jim-san. Part21". Anago.2ch.net. The previous management was not able to generate enough income to pay the bills for the expenses of running 2ch. Previously I allowed some autonomy to them. During that time my name has been slandered. The ability for 2ch to generate enough income to stay open was damaged. I hope that with proper management that 2ch can recover. 
  23. ^ "現2chは「違法な乗っ取り」状態──ひろゆき氏?が新サイト「2ch.sc」開設を予告". ITmedia ニュース (in Japanese). April 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ Nishimura, Hiroyuki (22 September 2015). "ANSWERS THREAD - Q&A Session with Hiroyuki Nishimura". 4chan (archived by desustorage.org). Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  25. ^ "18 HOUR Visit to my site?". Reuters. 4 April 2005. Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  26. ^ n:Japanese court plans to seize control of 2channel
  27. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (9 May 2004). "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings (Page 2 of 2)". The New York Times. 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. 
  28. ^ Jillian York, USA (22 December 2009). "Japan: Flaming and the secrets we hide, 2007". Globalvoices.org. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  29. ^ Mclelland, Mark (December 2008). "'Race' on the Japanese internet: discussing Korea and Koreans on '2-channeru'". New Media and Society 10 (6): 811–829. doi:10.1177/1461444808096246. 
  30. ^ [2] a case made by Debito Arudou
  31. ^ "Japan’s right-wing groups hold rallies vs. Korean pop culture". The Dong-a Ilbo. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  32. ^ "J-CAST NEWS, 2009, Japanese". J-cast.com. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "survey results on niconico douga, April, 2009". Japan.internet.com. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  34. ^ survey, June, 2009, nicovideo, Japanese Archived 21 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ 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
  36. ^ "ime.nu stats from". boardreader.com. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  37. ^ "Densha Otoko – The Train Man – "Congratulations from the Thread"". Rinji.tv. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  38. ^ "Dynasty Reader - Husky and Medley - Foreword". Retro. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 

External links[edit]