I’ve made up my mind to close the website "HIMEMIKO*WEB." It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made because I’ve kept this website for almost ten years.
It was in November 1998 that I founded the website. After I had read a comic book Hi no Tori by Osamu Tezuka I wanted to know about Princess Tōchi, who was starred in the book. I looked for the information about her throughout the internet but not so much information was found. Then I started to set up a website about her, after the research with many books, documents and other resources. Because no good HTML publishing applications were sold at that time, I made the HTML pages putting tags manually in the text files and uploaded them to the web server using a simple FTP uploader. I registered the website named 十市皇女～山吹の常処女～ (Tōchi no Himemiko — an ever virgin with Japanese yellow roses —) to many search engines to make it easier to be found.
After the registration to the search engines, many people came to see my website and left messages to me because there were no other kinds of websites that introduced this ancient lady. I replied all of the messages, and I got in touch with countless of men and women who were interested in her and Japanese ancient history. I had some meaningful experiences with a few of them, including even romance.
In addition to human communication, the creation and the maintenance of the website helped me to improve technical skills related to HTML and HTTP. I made simple bulletin board systems and guestbooks using CGI scripts, and made them communicate with a database.
There were many personal websites in the early five years of 2000s, because web browsers with higher functionality like Netscape 4.x or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x were released and web surfers could see more expressive web pages with large-sized images and motion videos. Many people uploaded their own information they wanted to give in public for lower costs. Most of the information was creative, and helpful to people, from a different viewpoint from that of old-fashioned mass media.
My website has been also informative and has helped many people of the same taste. In 2003, my website introduced not only Princess Tōchi but other 16 princesses who lived in the same era as Tōchi. In 2004, my website, renamed into HIMEMIKO*WEB, started giving information in both Japanese and English so that much more people all over the world can understand what I meant.
However, the mass media and big companies with much more funds began to take part in sending their information over the internet a few years ago. Many individual webmasters, being inferior to those companies in funds, time and amount of own information, were losing the reason-d’etre of their own websites, because the new websites those companies created were better and more informative by excellent web designers and engineers, and were maintained 24hrs/365days by special maintenance teams.
Also, the web-related techniques became much more complex and confusing for individuals. DHTML, Ajax, and many new techniques appeared one after another to make websites informative and interactive, and there have been too many things-to-be-learned for us to catch up with. We are busy, and we have no such time to master them all.
At the same time, the Web 2.0 policy is being popular and now we have many alternatives of expressing our own information more easily, instead of learning those dreadfully-difficult technology from scratch to maintain personal websites. Blogging is the easiest way of introducing yourself, by choosing a blogging service providers and creating your own account, or by installing a general-purpose blogging system like Movable Type to your server and changing a few settings as you like. If you know something useful and share it to the public, you can write it in Wikipedia. Google, Yahoo! and YouTube also have some nifty options to share information. If you want to just communicate with others, you can sign up to a popular SNS like MySpace, Facebook, mixi, GREE, etc., and join communities.
In such circumstances, the good old days of personal websites is now over. From now on, it’s better to share information in other ways. That’s why I’m going to close HIMEMIKO*WEB. (Another reason is that I’ve become too busy to have time to update it frequently 🙂
Of course it doesn’t mean that the content of HIMEMIKO*WEB turns invisible forever. The text, the images and other information used there will be transfered to other media, like Wikipedia and Google Maps, and you can get my idea in various places. I’ll never throw away the data I’ve made for years.
I’m very excited to meet the new style of the internet and get acquainted with many new things and people in the next ten years. It’s hard to follow the flow of change, though.