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Docket #:2024-07

This proposal has been submitted for review.

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

JUNET, 1984

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

The first network for the Japanese Community. This network distributed information from and about Japan to the world. JUNET provided the first Hierarchical Domain Name Style E-Mail distribution mechanism on an intermittent link network. JUNET also provided a Japanese Language Environment for E-mail and NetNews users and established the first mechanisms for exchanging multi-byte (non-alphabetic) E-mail and NetNews messages on the Internet.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

The first network for Japanese Community. In 1981, the N1 Network was in operation, connecting the mainframes of Japanese major national universities. However, this network only allowed Remote Job Execution (RJE) and file transfers. We started JUNET because we believed that communication services such as e-mail and NetNews were needed for the Japanese community. This network distributes information of Japan to the world. JUNET is established in Oct. 1984. JUNET connects many organizations in Japan. Services in JUNET are E-mail and NetNews. NetNews Groups fj (from Japan) distribute information of Japan to the world in English and Japanese.

JUNET has been built with convenience in mind so that everyone in the Japanese community can easily use it. The hierarchical domain name format of e-mail addresses has been introduced to JUNET to express communication recipients in an easy-to-understand manner. ARPANET had already realized mail delivery using hierarchical domain names, but this was achieved through a mechanism based on a permanent connection using dedicated links. Even within the U.S., ARPANET's availability is still limited. JUNET decided to use an intermittent link using telephone lines from a cost perspective. In same years, USENET had configured the network with intermittent links, but e-mail addresses were specified in source routing style address (bang notation) like host a!hostb!username. Bang Notation is very difficult to use, since user should know complete route to destination. JUNET provide special name resolution mechanism. This is first challenge in the world.

To ensure that the Japanese community can use and distribute information about Japan, JUNET also focused on making the Japanese language available for E-Mail and NetNews. To use Japanese Language, we discussed Character code for Japanese Language as RFC1468. We also modify several tools include OS, editor and applications on UNIX operating system. To display Japanese Language, community is also developed Kanji/Kana fonts for X Window System. Developed fonts are included distribution of X Window System. To input Japanese Language, Kana-Kanji conversion input systems are developed (ex. Wnn, Canna, …). To utilize those input system, we developed input method standard for X Window System. As result, all of people in the world can use Japanese Language for them. These discussions led to the later multilingualization of the network.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

Communication Society, Computer Society

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

Region 10

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Kiyoharu AIZAWA

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Kiyoharu AIZAWA

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Tokyo Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Kiyoharu AIZAWA

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Jun Murai
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Hideki Sunahara
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Fukuzawa Yukichi Memorial Keio History Museum, Keio University 2-15-45, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8345, JAPAN N35.64948080273974, E139.7437553579687

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The site was one of the first three sites connected by JUNET and served a major role in that connection.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

Fukuzawa Yukichi Memorial Keio History Museum located 2nd floor of The Old Library in Mita Campus, Keio University. A plaque will be installed in the museum

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Fukuzawa Yukichi Memorial Keio History Museum in MIita Campus of Keio University is open to students, faculties, staffs and vistors. Except during the summer and winter holiday periods, the museum is accessible to the general public Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 on academic days.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Keio University

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

Historical Significance

Requirement of the Network for Japanese Community

JUNET was built to be used by the Japanese networking community, to be used by Japanese people, and to disseminate information about Japan. In 1981, the N1 Network was in operation, connecting the mainframes of Japanese major national universities. However, this network only allowed Remote Job Execution (RJE) and file transfers. At the time, ARPANET was being deployed mainly in the U.S., but it consisted of a dedicated line that was always connected, making it difficult from a cost standpoint to deploy widely in Japan. Therefore, we decided to build JUNET by referring to USENET, which at that time also used an intermittent link using telephone lines. In September 1984, a VAX named “kossvax” of Keio University and a VAX named “titcca” of Tokyo Institute of Technology were connected. Those two VAXen were connected with a 300 bps modem over a PSTN line and a protocol called UUCP. In October 1984, a VAX named “ccut” of the University of Tokyo was added. With three nodes, the system began to function as a network, which was named JUNET (Japan University Network or Japan UNIX Network). Network connections were intermittent links every 30 minutes or hour, and data was exchanged while connected.

Services on JUNET were e-mail and NetNews. In particular, NetNews distributed information about Japan not only domestically but also to the world through a newsgroups called fj (From Japan). fj newsgroups distributed not only technical information such as IT and computer science, but also a lot of information about Japanese culture, including anime and manga. There were many subscribers all over the world. Information exchanged on JUNET is in English and Japanese, and it is also the basis for the international distribution of information in Japanese. JUNET established the first mechanisms for exchanging multi-byte (non-alphabetic) E-mail and NetNews messages on the Internet.

JUNET has been developed with a strong emphasis on user convenience. In particular, it has been designed with the Japanese network community's use in mind.

JUNET's technical contributions are the following two. 1) Hierarchical Domain Name Style E-Mail distribution mechanism on an intermittent link network. 2) JUNET is provide Japanese Language Environment (i.e. character code discussion, kanji/kana font for display, input method as kana/kanji conversion mechanism).

Easy-to-use e-mail address format

At the time, USENET, which was also an intermittent link network, used a source-routed e-mail address format. In the source-routed mail address format, all routes from one's own organization to the other organization had to be correctly enumerated and specified. For example, to deliver mail from “hosta” to a user named “user” in “hoste” via “hostb”, “hostc”, and “hostd”, one would specify “hostb!hostc!hostd!hoste!user”. This notation called as bang notation. However, to use this format, one must have complete knowledge of the status of the network connections, making it very difficult for anyone to use it. Therefore, we decided to adopt the hierarchical domain name format that was also used in ARPANET.

Unlike ARPANET, which is a permanently connected network, JUNET is an intermittent link network, so it was necessary to solve the problem of resolving hierarchical domain names without permanent connection. JUNET built a system that manages network connections in a tree structure and resolves names while delivering e-mails accordingly[1]. This system enabled a smooth transition to TCP/IP connections as the Japanese network shifted to TCP/IP connections later on.

Japanese Language Environment on JUNET

It is essential that Japanese as well as English be available on JUNET to serve as a platform for the Japanese network community. In order to be able to use Japanese, the following three points are necessary: 1) Japanese expressions within the computer and network 2) Displaying Japanese 3) A mechanism for inputting Japanese.

Japanese expressions within the computer and network

To use Japanese Language, we discussed Character code. Various character codes were in use at the time, and through discussion, a character code was decided upon to represent the information to be circulated on JUNET. This is also defined as an RFC1468[2]. As a result, this rule was used not only within JUNET but also in other networks such as ARPANET and USENET. The current Internet also uses a format based on this discussion. We also modify several tools include OS, editors, and applications on UNIX operating system.

Displaying Japanese

Initially, special terminals equipped with kanji and kana fonts were required to display Japanese. However, the X Window System, which was born in 1984, was introduced in Japan in 1986, and discussions began to consider the possibility of displaying Japanese characters on the X Window System. To display usual Japanese Language, we need at least 6,000 Kanji Characters. The JUNET community planned to develop a font, but eventually a single developer created a 14x14dots Kanji and kana font, released it as open source[3], and its use spread. This font, called k14font, was included in the official distribution of the X Window System and is used worldwide.

A mechanism for inputting Japanese.

In order to input Japanese from a keyboard, an input system called the Kana-Kanji conversion system is required. Initially, a personal computer capable of handling Japanese was used as a terminal, and kana-kanji conversion was performed on the terminal side, but this also had to be done on the UNIX or other system side for use with the X Window System, etc. In 1985, Wnn[4], a kana-kanji conversion system running on UNIX, was introduced, and by using these systems, it became possible to input Japanese. However, conversion dictionaries used in kana-kanji conversion systems are subject to copyright issues, and there have been challenges in distributing them as open source so that anyone can use them. Therefore, the JUNET community started a project to register dictionaries at each site using the Kana-Kanji conversion system and integrate them into an open source conversion dictionary that can be used by anyone. This project is called the pubdic project, and it is being distributed together with the Kana-Kanji conversion system so that Japanese can be input worldwide. In addition, the Input Method is defined and adopted in the discussion on the X Window System to unify input methods independent of applications.

Discussions at JUNET, which began with the use of Japanese, have further developed into discussions such as multilingualization, leading to the current environment in which multilinguals are freely available.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

obstacles to overcome

Easy-to-use e-mail address format

For the convenience of users, it was preferable to be able to use hierarchical domain name style e-Mail addresses, which were beginning to be used in the ARPANET. To perform mail delivery by hierarchical domain name, it is necessary to determine what path to follow to reach that domain for delivery. However, since JUNET does not have permanent connections, it is not easy to obtain the latest network connection information. It is not realistic to place a copy of such a database at every site, and some kind of creative solution will be required.

In JUNET, ”titcca” and “ccut” are the roots of the tree structure, and all connection information is aggregated at these two sites so that, in the worst case, if you can reach these two sites, you will know the route to the desired SITE. On the other hand, since it is not realistic from the viewpoint of load balancing to have all e-mails gathered at these two sites, each site describes connections in the neighborhood of its own site, and if it is a nearby site, it adopts a method to deliver e-mails by the most optimal route [1].

However, it was very difficult to set up such a system at each site, and it was difficult for anyone to manage. Therefore, we have created and distributed a tool that automatically generates a configuration file simply by describing the connection information, thereby providing a mechanism for easy participation in JUNET without depending on the skills of the administrators at each site. This tool is called mailconf and is distributed as open source software[6].

In addition to setting up such a system, JUNET community publishs and widely distributs a document called the "JUNET User's Guide (JUNET利用の手引き)"[7] to provide information on the procedures required to participate in JUNET.

Japanese Language Environment on JUNET

At that time, systems that could handle Japanese already existed, but they used different character codes. To exchange information over a network, it is necessary to use a common character code. The JIS Code (ISO-2022-JP), which had already been defined as a standard, was not sufficiently defined as a code system to be distributed over a network due to the existence of several local variants. JUNET provided a Japanese Language Environment for E-mail and NetNews users and established the first mechanisms for exchanging multi-byte (non-alphabetic) E-mail and NetNews messages on the Internet. The JIS Code (ISO-2022-JP) was used as the basis for detailed definitions and published as RFC1468 [2].

Since it was necessary to modify each tool (i.e. OS, Editors, Applications) to use the defined character codes, a modified version was distributed. We also introduced mechanism to convert between RFC1468 character code and local code.

Because of copyright issues regarding character fonts and kana-kanji conversion dictionaries, it was necessary to develop something available as open source for wide use by the JUNET community.

The plan was to create a Kanji font of approximately 6,000 characters, with each organization sharing responsibility for about 20 characters each, since the number of participating organizations at the time was about 300. To this end, one of the members developed a font creation tool and prepared to distribute it. However, during the development process, about 3,000 characters were completed while creating the font as a test of the tool, and it was decided that the design would be more consistent if one designer created the font, so one developer created the final 6,000 characters. This was distributed as the k14 font and included in the standard distribution of the X Window System.

The Kana-Kanji conversion system Wnn is also included in the standard distribution of the X Window System, along with the pubdic conversion dictionary. As for the conversion dictionary, as already mentioned, it was developed by the JUNET community.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Features set this work apart from similar achievements

Easy-to-use e-mail address format

Hierarchical domain names are a concept that was first considered in the ARPANET and published as RFC822 in 1983, and when mail delivery using hierarchical domain names was implemented in JUNET in 1984-1985, the ARPANET also introduced the concept of hierarchical domain names as The first UNIX implementation of the Domain Name System was in 1984, and the revised version of BIND appeared in 1985, so the implementation of mail delivery using hierarchical domain names was being implemented almost in parallel with ARPANET. In addition, mail delivery with hierarchical domain names over the intermittent link network is an original JUNET implementation.

Japanese Language Environment on JUNET

The handling of Japanese on the network differs from the single-byte handling that had been done for English or European languages up to that point, and requires consideration of multi-byte handling. Discussions at JUNET have made important contributions not simply for dealing with the Japanese language, but also for dealing with multibyte characters. Discussions and developments regarding the handling of Japanese in the network are by the JUNET community and are original to JUNET. In addition, these discussions have led to lively discussions in China and Korea, which are non-alphabetic language regions (Vietnam joined later), and we believe that these discussions have contributed greatly to multilingualization. We believe that these achievements have made a significant contribution to international communication by giving the world access to original information described in a variety of languages.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.


[1] J.Murai and A.Kato Researches in Network Developement on JUNET, Proceedings of the ACM Workshop on Frontiers in Computer Communications Technology, SIGCOMM 87, pp.68-77, 1987. Media:junet-sigcomm1987.pdf. URL:

[2] Jun Murai, Mark Crispin, Erik M. van der Poel, Japanese Character Encoding for Internet Messages, RFC1468, June 1993. Media:rfc1468.txt.pdf, URL:

[3] There is no official documents, but K14fonts receives pioneer award of the 4th free software awards in Japan in 1995. There is Wikipedia description on k14 font URL: in Japanese Media:k14-wikipedia.pdf (in Japanese) Media:k14-translate.pdf (English Translate)

[4] Hagiya, Masami; Hattori, Takashi; Morishima, Akitoshi; Nakajima, Reiji; Niide, Naoyuki; Sakuragawa, Takashi; Suzuki, Takashi; Tsuiki, Hideki; Yuasa, Taichi. Overview of GMW+Wnn System. Advances in Software Science and Technology. Dec. 1989, vol. 1, p. 133-156.Media:Gmw+wnn.pdf

[5] JUNET Users' Guide Preparation Committee, JUNET Users' Guide, 1st ed. (in Japasnese, JUNET利用の手引き作成委員会, JUNET利用の手引き, 第一版), Feb. 1988. Not currently distributed to avoid confusion. ( Media:Junet-guide-excerpt.pdf (English translation of excerpts)

[6] Murai J., Asami T.: A Network for Research and Development Communications in Japan -JUNET-, Proc. of First Pacific Computer Communications Symposium, Seoul, 1985. URL: Media:junet-pccs1985.pdf

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.