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"keitai strap" Aftermarket Endangered by Smartphones

keitai straps on sale in Japan based on popular food items
keitai straps in store
We have previously written about the ubiquitous keitai straps in Japan. (keitai denwa means mobile phone in Japanese) To quote Wikipedia these are

“A phone strap, cell phone strap, or mobile phone strap, was originally a string or loop to help the user hold their cell phone, which was invented and became popular in Japan where they are known as "keitai straps" (携帯ストラップ) in Japanese. Phone straps have now become a cultural phenomenon beyond their basic utilities, and they may be decorated or themed with famous characters such as animation heroes or Hello Kitty. Phone straps may also have additions to add additional functions such as detecting ghosts, carrying medicine pills or mobile gardening”.

Your blogger recently returned from 2 weeks in Japan and was fascinated by keitai straps being sold everywhere as souvenirs and large numbers in stores that sell cell phones. The Japan-focused blog Tofugu has an interesting post that suggests that the custom of using keitai straps is an evolution of the old Japan use of netsuke to hang small containers hung by a cord from the sashes of the robe/kimono. Keitai straps are attached to cell phones though a pair of holes that have been ubiquitous on cell phones although not noticed by many Americans. Some phones have a single hole with an internal post that the strap is looped around. (See this YouTube video.)

But smartphones usually don’t have the hole(s) for the attachment of straps, endangering both a Japanese and Korean cultural fixture and a large industry in those countries. Fortunately, there are ways to modify smartphone cases - also available in Asia in a mind boggling variety. This YouTube video shows one approach:

Some smartphone cases sold in Japan come with a hole just for a keitai strap while others have holes intended for other purposes than can be used without too much difficulty.

We urge the cellphone industry to be more attentive to the needs of the keitai strap-using community and to include mounting provisions in future models.
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