For years I have been subscribing to the email list for J-List in Japan–an online store that sells all manner of cool things from Japan run by an expat from San Diego, Peter Paine. I particularly liked what he wrote in today’s email:
Like everyone else yesterday, I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and one of my idols as a businessman. The news was widely reported here, and the reaction by Japanese fans was as expected, with many expressing great sadness at his passing in TV interviews. Steve Jobs was well-respected in Japan, a country where business leaders are seldom charismatic and inspiring–only a few, like Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita or Honda founder Soichiro Honda, have stood out in a similar way. Jobs was feared by hidebound Japanese companies like Sony, too, who would rather their business go on forever without being disrupted by outside ideas like the iPod.
The reaction on 2-channel, the ubiquitous Japanese BBS, was also strong, and I opened a few threads to see what Japanese users were saying. In addition to lots of posts expressing arigato! to such a unique individual, one poster pointed out how similar the relationship of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was to Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, two samurai lords from the Warring States period (1467-1573) who were lifelong rivals, though they had great respect for each other.
But the comment I liked best was, “Now we know where the iPhone 4S got its name from. The 4S stands for ‘For Steve.'”
You know, I really like that last one myself and I shall always refer to my new iPhone as the “For Steve” model.