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The black ships from Cupertino

Softbank stopped accepting reservations for the iPad after only three days.

In one Twitter exchange, Mitsuru Yoshii sent a message to Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son saying that the iPad was the “21st century’s black ships.”

In response to the historical reference to the U.S. Naval fleet that opened up Japan to the West in 1853, Mr. Son wrote back: “Indeed!”

via Japan’s iPad Frenzy Signals a Sea Change – WSJ.com.

In Japan the term “Black Ships” has come to symbolise a threat imposed by Western technology but also the opening of Japan to the West and the awakening of imperial ambitions that lasted for a century.