About Chanpon.org

Chanpon.org is a site devoted to the mixture of Japanese culture with other cultures. In addition to a web log that any reader can comment on, chanpon.org supports a discussion area and events for registered members. We also support a general mailing list Chanpon-friends for dissemination of information and announcements to the international chanpon community.

Mission Statement

To promote cross-cultural communication and understanding through the support of a hybrid community at the intersection of Japanese, US, and other cultures.

Goals
  • Nurturing an online 'chanpon' community that supports hybrid identities and cultures.
  • Validating and promoting chanpon identity and culture through the dissemination of information and resources.
  • Encouraging a worldview that embraces multiple perspectives and transcends cultural boundaries.
What is 'Chanpon'?

Chanpon is a Japanese word meaning a mixture of disparate things. One common usage is in 'Nagasaki chanpon' which is a noodle dish developed in the international port city of Nagasaki, where a mixture of ingredients such as fish, vegetable, and meat are tossed together as a topping.

Among the international community in Tokyo, the word chanpon is used to describe the blending of Japanese and English (as in 'it's so oishii ne.'), distinct from more mainstream forms of bilingualism, which involve switching between one or the other language.

Chanpon is a celebration of the space at the intersection of cultures, where multiple viewpoints are embraced without necessarily resolving into a coherent whole. Chanpon identity means being able to navigate and embrace different cultural styles simultaneously; it means not only direct experience with multiple cultures, but being able to blend them into a unique and tasty combination. Chanpon culture is a third culture that is not wholly defined by any mainstream national cultures, but can function as a bridge between them and a source of inspiration, innovation, and cross-cultural understanding.

History

Chanpon.org was started by a group of alumni from the American School in Japan and Nishimachi International School, who felt that we could use the Internet to support a cultural mix that is like what we grew up with as part of the international community in Tokyo. Practically speaking, this means that we are a group of people that have had long-term experience with Japanese and at least one other culture.

As we have dispersed to different countries, and become busy with our professional and family lives, we often find it difficult to keep in touch with our Japanese multi-culture. Chanpon.org was conceived of as a way of creating these links by supporting a discussion space and resources about and of interest to Japanese interculturals.

The community has a US/Japan focus because the founding members were recruited heavily from the alumni networks of Nishimachi and ASIJ. But we hope our focus will expand beyond these two countries and these two schools. While we don't have any formal exclusionary criteria for the members of this group and the topics discussed, we are committed to keeping this site as a 'safe' and nurturing place for people that have intercultural identities. We reserve the write to delete any posts that we violate this commitment.

The site was originally launched in December 2000 as an invitational members-only site devoted to discussion. Since then, we have developed an informational web site and mailing list, chanpon-friends. In 2002 we changed the public site to a web log edited by a group of writers, and open to comments by the public.

While providing resources to the general public, the heart of this site is member generated and member supported. We encourage you to get involved and to contribute to the site in any way you can, by joining the discussion, submitting some writing, launching a project, or providing a donation.

Chanpon.org is administered by the Momoko Ito Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which Joi Ito, Mimi Ito, and Scott Fisher set up in memory of their mother.

Privacy

Chanpon.org is committed to the privacy of our participants. Our privacy policy is summarized below:
  • We do not monitor, track, or record user actions for the purposes of obtaining profiles of individual users
  • We do not sell lists of our members and visitors to third parties.
  • We will not use the information posted to our members-only site for any other purposes without the consent of the person who posted that information.

The Website

The site's design and maintenance are currently handled by Boris Anthony / Permutype weblog services. The Summer 2005 theme was a collaboration with the delightful Yuki. Thanks Yuki!!!

Chanpon.org uses Six Apart's Movable Type weblogging platform / content management system. and its contributers encouraged to use ecto, the excellent desktop weblogging tool.