Personal Media Corporation announced on March 14 that it would begin direct marketing on March 15 of a new version of its BTRON3-specification Cho Kanji 4 operating system that includes the Tompa hieroglyphic character font. The new operating system package, which also includes bundled productivity applications, will be marketed at a price of 29,800 yen, consumption tax not included. Up to now, Personal Media has marketed the operating system package at 25,000 yen, and the Tompa hieroglyphic character font, which it had specially created for Cho Kanji, at 8,000 yen, consumption tax not included in either.
The Tompa hieroglyphic characters of the Naxi people of Yunnan Province in the southeast of China have become very popular in Japan, particularly among high school girls and office ladies who like to have a "secret means of communication" among themselves. In fact, they have become so popular that they have even appeared in popular Japanese television dramas, and many other areas of Japanese culture. As a result of the popularity of their script, the Naxi people are said to be experiencing a tourist boom in their region. No doubt, there are many Japanese among the tourists.
For a sample of Tompa hieroglyphic characters, click here. In the "TO:hashida" window at the bottom of the screen shot, there are four Tompa characters and a question mark. The four Tompa characters are 'work', 'finish', 'go', and 'drink', which seems to mean: "Would you like to go for a drink after work?"
There was a Japanese-language story at Asahi.Com on March 12 that Personal Media Corporation has tied up with Dongbang Media Co., Ltd, of Seoul, Korea, to offer its "Disk Shredder" software package, which completely erases hard disk drives, in the Korean market. The report said that for Dongbang Media, which was established in 1998 and has mainly been active in digitally archiving Korean cultural materials on CD-ROMs, this deal marks its entry into a new field, i.e., the marketing of software for business use. Dongbang Media has also been very active in promoting the TRON Project in Korea.