FOREWORD & HISTORY
In 2008, through Secondhand Memories, Takatsu became the first cell phone novelist in the English-speaking world, pioneering the Japanese youth cultural phenomenon of online serialized minimalistic poetic narrative, and organized the forefront of a writing community and movement (as seen currently at Textnovel.com).
The Japanese literary form, “cell phone novels” or “ケータイ小説”, first appeared back in the early 2000s, and since then, have captured the hearts of many young students and aspiring authors alike. Such aspiring stories, first transmitted through email, were posted online on Japanese style blogging sites, downloadable applets or communities created by publishers, and some reached hundreds of millions of views. Many of such novels became bestselling novels, adapted into anime, manga, TV series, movies and more.
In a similar way, a few years after its humble beginnings as a fun experimental project to capture the innocence of youth present in Japanese culture, Secondhand Memories had won a literary agency contract, Editor’s and Reader’s Choice awards, surpassed 90,000 words, 60,000 unique visits, thousands of readers, and mentioned in various forms of media, even as comprehension exercises in an English textbook in Japan. By its example, its innovation, and Takatsu’s subsequent cell phone novel pieces, countless of other young writers internationally were inspired to interact and become involved with the new style of writing, building a tight-knit supportive community, as well as a new social and literary phenomenon.
As for the style itself, following the tradition of its authentic Japanese counterpart, each chapter would be less than 200 words, averaging around 100, making use of verticality, white space, line breaks, cliffhangers, gripping and simple emotional language, designed with the cell phone screen, its real-time episodic serialization culture, and commuting readers in mind. Over time, the movement constantly broke new ground and developed into a full-fledged artistic form with a large variety of literary, poetic and narrative voices and styles amidst its widening demographics.
Now at last, as much anticipated by readers worldwide, Secondhand Memories is realized as a physical publication, as a symbol of gratitude to fellow cell phone novelists, industry professionals, fans and supporters throughout the many years; as a symbol of hope of dreams becoming reality; and as a keepsake capturing a moment in history and its fond memories.
Takatsu, who is based in Toronto, currently still leads and teaches its community of young writers, and with years of experience in cell phone novel poetic narrative technique, now also works on contemporary literary prose fiction and multimedia projects.