A collaboration between leading Japanese newspaper The Tokyo Shimbun and Tokyo-based ad agency Dentsu has led to the creation of a smartphone app that redisplays printed information in a child-friendly format when the phone is held over the paper. A promotional video shows articles appearing with animated cartoon characters, highlighted passages, and text character set switches from kanji to simpler hiragana, all while keeping the basic content intact. Articles aren’t the only translatable parts of the paper: Several companies developed print ads that work with the app.
What’s the Big Idea?
The app was designed “to create a future for the old media newspaper,” according to the video. “Difficult articles and social problems, economy and politics became interesting subjects for children…The newspapers became a media read by both parent and child. And also an educational tool for children.” Lecturer and blogger Paul Bradshaw is impressed: “[The app provides] two versions of the content – a grown-up one and the kids one. That has enormous potential. It also tackles a big gap in young readership.”