Today is the 22nd anniversary of J-List and our lovely mascot, Megumi-chan.
During the “wild west” of the Internet, when the idea of always-on broadband was a far-off dream for many, I knew this new technology could allow me to bring Japan little closer to everyone. J-List started with this at its heart.
I would travel into Tokyo, buy JPOP CDs and doujinshi, and upload a giant list to USENET (the Twitter of the day) and take orders through email. This list of stuff from Japan was where the name J-List came, “The Japan List.” But this was just a hobby at first. I first had my sights on visual novels and computer games.
I saw that fans of the era were downloading hentai games from the Internet and wildly clicking through the Japanese text until boobies appeared. If the games were in English, I reasoned, they might be a lot more enjoyable. So I started what would become JAST USA, translating the first of three games of that era. But making software takes time, so I started J-List to sell products for “a year or so” until the games took off.
It all began with a shiny new domain name and one employee, a former student. JAV magazines were our first smash hit product, as the late 90s cult of Japanese adult stars got going. I remember having so many copies of Urecco magazines to ship, we had to ask my mother-in-law to help pack orders. Those busy days followed up with Pokemon, a surprise hit that saw Pikachu plushes in the thousands shipping from our warehouse. And of course, I can’t ever forget the Hello Kitty Vibrator boom (yes, that was real).
An then there is our adorable store mascot, Megumi. Over the years she has changed almost as much as the company itself. We’ve had lots of fun working with various artists, both inside Japan and around the world, to create Megumi-chan in interesting and new ways. Starting in December we’ll be starting our always fun Megumi in My Style event, where artists of all talent ranges draw our mascot.
The wheel of progress never stops, and neither does J-List. Even through challenging times, I’ve had the support of my wonderful staff who have pushed the company forward and forced me to be more professional than I’d otherwise be. Thanks, guys!
I’m also happy to have so many awesome customers, who have supported us over the history of J-List. It’s really been a ton of fun, and we’ll continue to love anime, the otaku lifestyle, and Japan for another 22 years!
Thanks again, and enjoy our special gift to you this week!
J-List is 22 years old now, and Megumi has a special gift for you: an automatic $20 coupon, with nothing to enter! You can pick up anything you like, from figures to awesome Halloween-themed snacks to visual novels. The coupon is good through October 8th. Note that Fukubukuro grab bags and J-List Box boxes can’t be purchased with the coupon.