Joi Ito

Joi Ito

Infobox Person
name = Joichi Ito

caption = Joi Ito in 2007
birth_date = birth date and age|1966|6|19
birth_place = Kyoto, Japan
residence = Chiba Prefecture, Japan
nationality = Japanese
other_names = Joi Ito
known_for = Blogging, Moblogging, Creative Commons
occupation =
relatives = Mizuko Ito (sister)
alma_mater = Tufts University (dropout)
University of Chicago (dropout)

nihongo|Joichi Ito|伊藤穰一|Itō Jōichi|born June 19, 1966, more commonly known as Joi Ito, is a Japanese activist, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist.

Ito has received recognition for his role as an entrepreneur focused on Internet and technology companies and has founded, among other companies, PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan. He maintains a blog, a wiki, an IRC channel and contributes to the Tokyo Metroblogging. Ito is the CEO of Creative Commons.

Family and education

Ito was born in Kyoto, Japan. His family moved to Canada and then when Ito was about age 3 to a suburb of Detroit, Michigan in the United States where his father became a research scientist and his mother a secretary for Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., now Ovonics. Company founder Stanford R. Ovshinsky was impressed with Ito, whom he thought of almost as his son. Ovshinsky helped Ito develop his interests in technology and social movements, and at age 13 gave him work with scientists, saying, "He was not a child in the conventional sense."cite news|author=Fisher, Lawrence M.|title=The Ambassador from the Next Economy|url=|date=August 2006|work=strategy+business|publisher=Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.|accessdate=2007-09-29]

Ito and his sister Mizuko Ito, who is called Mimi, spent summers in Japan with their grandmother who taught them traditional Japanese culture.cite journal|author=Kelly, Kevin and Rheingold, Howard|title=The Dragon Ate My Homework|url=|journal=Wired, The Condé Nast Publications Inc.|issue=1.03|date=July/August 1993|accessdate=2007-09-28] At 14, he returned to Japan when his mother was promoted to president of Energy Conversion Devices Japan. He studied at the Nishimachi International School [cite book|author=Rheingold, Howard|title=The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier|pages=227|publisher=The MIT Press|date=2000-11-01|isbn=0-2626-8121-8] and for high school, the American School in Japan in Tokyo. [cite journal|author=Interview|title=The World Wide Blog|journal=Ubiquity, Association for Computing Machinery|volume=5|issue=25|date=2004-08-18 to 2004-08-24|accessdate=2007-09-29] Ito also learned, "street language, street smarts, and computers." One of few Japanese using modems before deregulation of networking reached Japan in 1985, Ito had found the The Source and the original MUD by his teens.

Ito returned to the U.S. to attend Tufts University near Boston as a computer science major, where he met, among others, Pierre Omidyar, later founder of eBay. Finding his course work too rigid and believing that learning computer science in school was "stupid", Ito dropped out of Tufts to briefly work for Ovonics. Ovshinsky encouraged him to return to school. He enrolled at the University of Chicago in physics but dropped out on discovering, in his opinion, the program at Chicago to be to more oriented towards producing practical engineers than teaching physics with a goal toward intuitive understanding of the science.

Ito was one of Timothy Leary's so-called "God Sons" - a close non-traditional family-like relationship said to have been conceived by Leary for a few of his friends. [cite web || work= | url= | accessdate=2007-10-04] Ito's sister is Mizuko Ito, a cultural anthropologist studying media technology use, and the musician Cornelius is his second cousin. Ito currently lives in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, with his longterm partner Mizuka Kurogane.

Later life

Ito became a disk jockey working in nightclubs in Chicago such as The Limelight and The Smart Bar and to work with Metasystems Design Group to start a virtual community in Tokyo. Later, Ito ran a nightclub in Roppongi, Japan called XY Relax with help from Joe Shanahan of Metro Chicago/Smart Bar. He helped bring industrial music from Chicago (Wax Trax) and later the rave scene, including importing Anarchic Adjustment to Japan.

Ito is the CEO of Creative Commons. He is on the board of Technorati, Digital Garage, WITNESS and Global Voices Online. He is the founder and CEO of the venture capital firm Neoteny Co., Ltd. In October of 2004, he was named to the board of ICANN for a three-year term starting December 2004. In August of 2005, he joined the board of the Mozilla Foundation. He served on the board of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) from March 2005 until April 2007. He currently serves as a Board Emeritus for OSI.cite web|author=Ericsson, Henry M.|title=Entrepreneurship: Assignment 1|url=|publisher=Arcada|accessdate=2007-09-28] He was a founding board member of Expression College for Digital Arts [cite web|title=People at Expression:Joi Ito|url=|publisher=Expression College for Digital Arts|accessdate=2007-09-28] as well as the Zero One Art and Technology Network. [cite web|title=ZERO1 Board|url=|publisher=ZERO1|accessdate=2007-09-28] In 1999, he served as the Associate to Mr. Mount (the executive producer) on the film "The Indian Runner". [cite web | title=The Indian Runner (1999) Full Cast and Crew | work=IMDB | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] Ito also served as a Board Member of Energy Conversion Devices from 1995 to 2000.

Ito is a venture capitalist and angel investor and was an early stage investor in Six Apart, Technorati, Flickr, SocialText, Dopplr,, Rupture, Kongregate, etology Inc and other Internet companies. [cite web | title=Joi Ito | work=Joi Ito's Wiki | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] A vocal advocate of emergent democracy and the sharing economy, Ito is a doctoral candidate in Business Administration focusing on the sharing economy at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University and a fellow at the USC Annenberg Center.


Ito has written opinion editorials for the Asian "Wall Street Journal" [cite web | title=Japan Reform and Recovery | work=Joi Ito's Web (blog) | date=April 7, 2002 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-29] and "The New York Times" [cite news | title=An Anniversary to Forget | work=The New York Times | date=August 7, 2005 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] [cite news | title=In Japan, Stagnation Wins Again | work=The New York Times | date=September 18, 2007 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] and has published articles in numerous other magazines [cite news | title=World of Warcrack | work=Wired | url= | date=June 2006 | accessdate=2007-09-27] and newspapers. He has had regular columns in "The Daily Yomiuri", "Mac World Japan", "Asahi Pasocom", "Asahi Doors", and other media sources. His photographs have been used in "The New York Times" Online, [cite news | title=For Jobs and Gates, a Night to Reminisce | work=New York Times | date=May 31, 2007 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] "BusinessWeek", [cite web | title=Entrepreneurs for the Ages | work=BusinessWeek | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] "American Heritage" [cite web | title=The Birth of EBay | | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] and BBC News. [cite news|author=Waters, Darren|title=Stark warning for internet's future|url=|date=April 24, 2008|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-04-28] He was on the early editorial mastheads of "Wired" and "Mondo 2000". He has authored and co-authored a number of books including "Dialog - Ryu Murakami X Joichi Ito" with Ryu Murakami. He has hosted televisions shows including "The New Breed" and "SimTV" shows on NHK.

Media "lists" and honors

Ito was listed by Time Magazine as a member of the "Cyber-Elite" in 1997. Ito was listed as one of the 50 "Stars of Asia" in the "Entrepreneurs and Dealmakers" category by BusinessWeek [cite news | title=The Stars of Asia (int'l edition) | work=BusinessWeek | date=July 3, 2000 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-16] and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for supporting the advancement of IT in 2000. [cite web | title=The Markets Are Stupid. The Current Internet Valuations Have Very Little to Do With the Actual Value of the Companies. | work=Joi Ito's Web | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] He was selected by the World Economic Forum in 2001 as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow". [cite news | title=Economic Forum Entrepreneurs - Japanese put on list of world's 100 young leaders | work=Kyodo World News Service | url= | date=February 3, 2002 | accessdate=2007-09-27] chosen by Newsweek as a member of the "Leaders of The Pack (high technology industry)" in 2005, [cite news | title=Leaders of The Pack (high technology industry) | work=Newsweek International | date=April 25, 2005 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] and listed by Vanity Fair as a member of "The Next Establishment" in the October Issue, 2007. [cite news | title=Vanity Fair (Re) Discovers Tech | work=Vanity Fair | date= October 2007 | url= | accessdate=2007-09-27] Joi Ito was also named by Businessweek as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 2008. [cite news | title=The 25 Most Influential People on the Web: The Adviser: Joi Ito | work=BusinessWeek | date=September 29, 2008 | url= | accessdate=2008-10-11]


External links

* [ Joichi Ito's personal blog]
* [ Joichi Ito's blog] at LiveJournal
* [ Joichi Ito's personal wiki]
* [irc:// Joichi Ito's irc channel, #joiito]
* [ Joichi Ito's bookmarks]
* [ Joichi Ito's flickr page]
* [ O'Reilly Conference]
* [ Biography at ICANN]
* [ Joi's Vox Blog]
* [ Joichi Ito's professional bio on Linkedin]
* [ Joichi Ito's Interview Video]

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