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Tokyo - Joi Ito

Joichi Ito's family stone in Iwate might record the names of 27 generations, but Joi is a distinctly 21st century lad. One night in 1993, I dropped into Joi's apartment in Tokyo to kill time before the rave scene woke up .

"I'm in the Web," he said. "Look at this," he added. I looked -- and the world hasn't been the same for me since that moment.

I remember my first sight of a Macintosh in 1984. I remember the first time I logged onto the WELL in 1985. I remember the swooning vertigo of reading through the names of 3000 newsgroups. I've learned to recognize those moments when a technological breakthrough sucks us all into a new dimension. Mosaic in Joi Ito's hands had that instantly-recognizable look of the future to it.

Outside, in the streets of Harajuku, Tokyo teenagers cycle through a well-designed media loop: Fashion designers and retailers decide what trend to sell next month, their new look is transmitted at precisely-timed intervals to the appropriate tribes via popular magazines and "idol" singers. Joi Ito, however, rolls his own media.

Joi and his friends have their own ideas of where techno-culture is headed. They want to play the Net like their parents wanted to play electric guitar. Look where they're pointing; they might know something about where we're going.

-Howard Rheingold
I'm Joi Ito... You can find a so-so up-to-date vitae for me on my web page.

Also, there was an article a few weeks ago in the Washington Post that explains a lot of what I do in a Washington Posty kind of way. You can find that that by searching for Joichi Ito on their web site

I was born in Kyoto, Japan and moved to the US when I was 3 years old or so.

Spent a lot of my early years in Detroit getting beaten up by the sons of laid off auto-workers and was able to keep ahold of my self esteem by hanging out with cool dinner guests that my parents brought home. At 13 I moved back to Japan with my mother and was able to re-build my self esteem and began night clubbing, and hacking. Worked summers in Detroit on a PDP-11 and got a Apple II at home. With the Apple II I joined the Source, hung out on PARTI and in 1984 or so became totally addicted to MUD's on the Essex University computer.

Just about then I started getting into the whole Rheingoldian part of the world with the Meta Network folks, the Dead and clubbing...

On my 24th birthday I met Timothy Leary in a bar in Tokyo and we had a blast and he made me an honorary god son. When I moved to California Tim introduced me Mondo 2000, Scott Fisher, SRL, Brenda Laurel, etc.

Met John Lilly in Tokyo as well and have developed an interesting friendship with him as well.

My company Digital Garage, sponsored Tim Leary's web page and is currently sponsoring the production of John Lilly's web page...

These two men along with Howard and a few others are my mentors...

Anyway, if you look at my web page you will see that I have a very business oriented spin in my life these days. Most of my lectures and columns are technical or business oriented. My community these days is basically my business...

A long time ago, I thought that I was kind of lazy and that this laziness was holding my life back. One day I decided to make a list of all of the things I had to do and start with the ones that I liked the least or were the most difficult. I found that this has done a great deal for my business success, but I now find that I am able to saturate my life completely with difficult and not particularly enjoyable tasks. ;)

So, I really miss interesting discussions, interesting people and lively banter. I am hoping that in jamming with you, I will find a new community outside of my business world where I can join in discussions what will stimulate parts of my brain that haven't been accessed lately....

Also in Tokyo: Reiko Chiba

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