26 Comments

  1. Jeff Chandler

    Absolutely love this article. I always enjoy seeing historic parts of WordPress brought up in articles, like the 11 year old forum thread and seeing a response by Matt. Those were the days! I love how the Japanese WordPress community puts a capital C in Community. It was a blast meeting some of them at WordCamp San Francisco last year. I also found out that they’re huge fans of the Tavern :)

    I hope the WordPress internationalization efforts and language pack projects can help the Japanese people and others in contributing to WordPress core. Great article and thank you Japanese WordPress community for Wapuu!

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  2. Justin Tadlock

    I first really learned about internationalization back in 2007-2008 from a Japanese theme user. He pretty much taught me what I needed to know to make my themes be worth using in other languages. Ever since then, I’ve made this a top priority. So, Yoichi, if you happen to find this post on WP Tavern, thanks!

    A little note about the current theme on WP Tavern: it has a built-in Japanese stylesheet that auto-loads if the language is set to Japanese. :)

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  3. netweb

    Awesome article Sarah :)

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  4. Devin Walker

    I first noticed WordPress had a large following in Japan after WordCamp SF 2014. It was great seeing them show up full force. Their WordCamp website for Tokyo also topped our list as the most impressive of all 2014 sites we reviewed. You could tell they put some hard work into organizing the event. I think the growth of the community can be largely attributed to great community leadership (I really like their style of MeetUps), internationalization efforts, and the culture’s long standing ability to recognize great technology. I was privileged enough to visit Japan (Tokyo + Kyoto) last year… this gives me another reason to head back soon. WordCamp Tokyo here I come! :)

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    • Mayo

      Yeah we remember your article. Lead designer, Yutaro Miyazaki and all member of web designing team were really excited with it! They started preparing for this year’s one.
      Articles about us from outside Japan always make us happy! We really hope to see you.

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  5. mlteal

    This was a really interesting read! Some great takeaways on how the community in Japan was built and how it’s growing that we can all learn from.

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  6. Brin Wilson

    “WordCrab” – hilarious! Lol… only in Japan! ;)

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  7. Konstantin Obenland

    Another prohibiting factor for contributions is the time difference of course. For bug scrubs Aaron Jorbin tried to mitigate that by having more than one, scheduled 9 hours apart. It’s obviously harder to do that with Dev Chat though.

    Great article Sarah, nice work!

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    • Ryan McCue

      Time difference is probably the number 1 reason I don’t contribute to core more. It’s near impossible to contribute in a substantial way when you can’t make meetings and such.

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  8. Naoko Takano

    Thanks so much for writing this, Sarah! I enjoyed reading about the Japanese community from an external perspective and realized once again that so many people in different parts of Japan shaped the WordPress community by getting involved.
    Hope to read more about other communities in the US & world too!

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  9. Scott Hartley

    This does highlight an issue though and that is language barriers. Not to over generalize or be racist lol but it seems like most of the WordPress contributions come from middle age white guys. There is nothing wrong with this but it makes you wonder what would be different if we had a major release lead by one of those developers who were not the best at English what would be different.

    I also would like to see more Asian influenced themes. Go on themeforest and look around and you will see that most of the themes are exactly the same. They are all using the same basic layout with maybe a few changes here and there.

    I want to see more Asian influenced themes in the market because it might solve the design rut that WordPress themes have fallen into. Frankly these themes are not even about the best design anymore its more about how many features they can throw in. Which is fine but I am tired of them all looking the same.

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    • Jeff Chandler

      What does an Asian influenced theme look like?

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    • Angie Meeker

      Scott,

      Allow me to introduce you to my friend Helen Hou-Sandí:

      https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/02/03/new-lead-developers-helen-and-dion/

      Also, I think you’re totally right about the mostly white thing, though I’m not sure of the age statement. There are a lot of younger (and older) folks contributing to WP who are maybe not as vocal as the ones in the middle.

      There may very well be a gap in the theme market for “asian influenced themes,” but I personally am not sure what you mean by that. Could you maybe point to some sites as examples, or detail more what influences the design of an “asian based theme?”

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  10. miccweb

    Sarah ‘s !
    Thanks for introducing that of Japan !
    New members has increased to Japanese package team.
    Daisuke Takahashi
    https://profiles.wordpress.org/extendwings/
    He is a package leader of version 4.2 and still one year university.
    Please also introduce all means of him.

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  11. Caspar Hübinger

    This. Is. So. Inspiring. To. Read! Thanks, Sarah, great article!

    Regarding difficulties in contributing back I can totally relate to what Nishikawa says as well as to the timezone issues mentioned in the comments. On the other hand, there always seem to be a few people who somehow overcome all of those issues and contribute to a .org project continuously and powerful.

    I’ve been wondering if/how communities grouping around a certain language could create “bridges” to the global context for themselves. A bridge, for example, could be a particular project that group would commit contributing to—a core ticket, a plugin or theme for WordCamps, anything other than translations. :)
    One person from the group whose English language skills would allow for communicating back and forth with .org would fill the role of an “ambassador”, so to speak, and coordinate feedback between .org and the local group. Everyone else in that group would be free to collaborate in their language.

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  12. Luke Pettway

    This is really cool. It is always interesting to see how the internet gets utilized and developed in other countries, as many of us only really have our point of view on everything. Their WordPress swag is pretty cool too and you have to love that Wapuu mascot!

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  13. Evan Herman

    Where can I buy one of those Wapuu stuffed animal holding the WordPress logo?

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  14. Tran Ngoc Tuan Anh

    I was told about Japanese community by a close friend – Philip Authur Moore, who visited a WordCamp in Tokyo and I was very interested in the stories, the way they built communities, how did they create Wapuu. We (Philip and me) since then have been trying to develop the community for Vietnamese people here in Hanoi. But it takes time to reach to same level as in Japan :)

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  15. petyeah

    Thank you Sarah :)

    And thank you Nao and Shin and all the amazing Japanese contributors out there. You’re an inspiration to us all.

    Many of you might not know, but when in 2014 international downloads of WordPress surpassed English downloads, Japanese actually constituted almost 1/3 of those international downloads. This only goes to show what the impact of WordPress can be in regions where English is not widely spread.

    WordPress is not even 100% translated into some of the top 10 most spoken languages like Hindi and Bengali yet. The Indian languages are quite poorly represented and imagine the impact that part of the world can have on the project.

    Time difference is only one of the restrictions for non-English speaking communities to get involved more. For the Polyglots team, we tried having two weekly chats, one for Europe, South America and East Asia (most locales are in that region) and one for the Asia / Pacific region. We thought this might help more people from that region to get actively involved, but the Asia / Pacific chat was not popular at all.

    Very soon it dawned on us that language was actually what stopped people from actively participating. We had constant feedback about that.

    Imo translating the development handbooks, the codex, all the documentation and using the local wp.org sites to rally contributors is the step forward. Plugin and Theme directories in local languages will help too.

    Caspar’s idea about people from different regions owning small parts of the project sounds really great. Even if development is always centred around English, we can probably use tools to bridge the language barrier and work together.

    Thank you again for the fantastic write up, Sarah.

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  16. marvinklempert

    This article is very interesting and awesome. It even inspired me to not just write an article about that topic by myself, but to contribute with developing a community-website to provide and improve the link between the japanese community and the rest of the world.

    You can read about the details in my article. Please support me with that project and give me a (or a few) helping hand.

    http://norntale.com/connecting-the-japanese-wordpress-community/

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  17. Nile Flores

    I love this… and I love the Wapuu too. I’m a huge fan of manga and anime. Every time I see it, I think “Wapuu, I choose you!” I finally contributed to translating WordPress in es_MX (there were only 18 contributors!!!)… as this was inspirational to me.

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