A Window on the Japanese Zeitgeist

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The Yahoo! Japan Trendline is an amazing new image browser that taps into the Japanese zeitgeist and the new graphics processing power of Internet Explorer 9. Based on a statistical ranking of the most-searched images at Yahoo! Japan, the Trendline initially presents images for each of twelve top searches in four categories: Names, TV, Anime/Games, and Sports. Click on an image, and you can start to explore each category further.

So, for example, if you click on pop singer Maeda Atsuko's image, you'll see blocks of images, one block for each of the top 20 searches in Names. If Atsuko ranks number three among name searches, you'll jump to the third block of results in the trendline. Every image in this fluid poll of collective fascination is linked to the original page from which it's captured.

While you're scrolling through a category, you may view the rankings for all 20 searches at once by clicking on a tab at the left of your screen. This opens out a shelf showing the original search terms, their rank, their previous ranking, and whether the search for each is trending up or down, staying the same, or debuting. (The categories rotate in a loop on the trendline, so given enough time you'll see all 80 top trends.)

Perhaps the coolest feature of all is the ability to switch, even as the trendline is scrolling by, to Yahoo! Auctions and Yahoo! Answers results for the same search terms. These alternate views provide another window on popular interest, although if you don't speak Japanese, it might be hard to fully appreciate the wealth of knowledge this tool makes available. Practically all the site's text is in Japanese. But images speak a universal language, and the results are amazingly insightful.

This story, "A Window on the Japanese Zeitgeist " was originally published by BrandPost.