For most industrialized nations, the arrival of e-mail quickly heralded the beginning of a very slow decline for fax technology. But for a mix of reasons, Japan hung on. First, there’s language: Early word-processing software couldn’t work with kanji, Japanese characters, so handwriting (and therefore fax) was the best way to transcribe and send messages electronically. Additionally, Japanese document seals — used much like a signature — are often required for paperwork. Finally, high-speed Internet has remained costly in Japan, pushing much of the communication we do online to either mobile or … fax.
Read more. [Image: &_yo/Flickr]
Who in the U.S. owned a fax machine at home even when they were popular? Not talking the all-in-one printer deals, either.