Souvenir... souvenir... :o)
In fact I don't remember well, but I know Brion was very enthusiastic
starting this Wikipedia. Ask him the reason, but the fact he read/write
some Japanese is surely a point.
Here is what I can recall (it is certainly not the reality, so please
correct if needed):
* Brion starts a first version (UseMod?) of Japanese Wikipedia around
September 2002. I remember some non-Japanese people came there to write
* In November 2002, Brion starts a new version (Phase3?). At this time
the Japanese Wikipedia was almost sleeping and I was the only user
available for testing the new server (it's why I'm registered as user
number 2. Number 1 is of course Brion). The previous version database
was very small (perhaps few dozen articles) so the content was not
converted to the new server and old one staid alive for a wile to let us
copy pages from old server to the new one. It's why you can't found the
vestiges of the first edits on the current database. Perhaps Brion is
keeping a backup of the old version!?
* After, I think some non-Japanese people came back there to make some
edits and we started to translate the interface in Japanese. Personally,
I advertised Wikipedia around me (I'm in Japan) and tried to make people
contribute to it, but as far as I know, it was unsuccessful.
* The 19^th of December, Brion let me a message on my talk page to
inform me that someone was creating (real) articles on Japanese
Wikipedia! (« Peut-être t'interesse; il y a quelqu'un sur ja.wiki !
--Brion 08:46 déc 19, 2002 (CET) »). I think it was Hijiri. Few weeks
later (January 2003?), Tomos arrived at ja.wiki. They know the
Andre Engels wrote :
From that I guess it would not be bad to consider
Aoineko the one who
started the Japanese Wikipedia. That also has the advantage of having
someone who actually speaks Japanese and is still active on Wikipedia.
I really don't merit the title of "the one who started the Japanese
Wikipedia". If you want to award someone, you must elect Brion. Nothing
would have been possible without his will to start and help the
non-English Wikipedias. Meanwhile, if you need someone for an interview
in Japan, I'm of course available :o)
Finally, what the firsts done is really less important than the great
job Japanese wikipedians done since;o) Omedeto !