There are Japanese websites. There are Japanese blogs. But at the heart of the country's internet and internet culture, one destination stands alone: 2channel.
In Japan, the vast majority of game related culture and news first appears on 2channel, the country's largest bulletin board, and then disseminates to other Japanese sites and blogs. And it's not just video games, it's everything: music, politics, sex, and, yes, even drugs.
As Kotaku reported last December, the site is awash in illegal drugs. Police are now investigating, and 2ch—the beating heart of the Japanese internet—could be in jeopardy.
According to The Yomiuri Shimbun, police recently searched ten locations related to the bulletin board and its operators. Since channel's management apparently failed to delete posts that solicited drug deals, they are under suspicion for aiding these illicit transactions.
A May 2011 2ch post with coded lingo from an unemployed 54 year-old man apparently offered stimulants and syringes, and it was not deleted, reported The Yomiuri Shimbun. Moreover, a male and a female 2ch user apparently bought drugs from this 54 year-old man. All three have since been arrested.
Since 2010, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has said 2channel should delete online posts soliciting drugs—something 2ch hasn't always done.
The Japanese police, however, don't quite know who operates or administers 2ch, which is why 10 separate locations were searched, apparently looking for the server.
Launched in 1999, 2channel was created by Hiroyuki Nishimura, while he was studying at the University of Central Arkansas. Since 2009, an IT company Packet Monster legally operates the site. The site's servers have been moved around from San Francisco to South America.
The reason for the sudden crackdown is apparently related to rise of Tateshi Higuchi, who became the Superintendent General of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police last year. According to tech journalist Toshiyuki Inoue, Higuchi apparently thinks 2ch is a "den of iniquity"—hence the crackdown.
Sure, 2ch might be a den of iniquity, but in Japan, it's also the whole damn internet.
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(Top photo: sixninepixels/gaja | Shutterstock フジテレビ)