Author Archives: Gen Kanai

10 years of Mozilla in Asia

Today, after 10 years of building Mozilla’s presence in Asia, I leave Mozilla as full-time staff. Our family is moving to Shanghai for new opportunities and I am leaving to organize our move and enjoy the summer. My last day in the office was April 27th.

I have too many people to thank for their support over these many years at Mozilla. I won’t be able to thank everyone but I do want to specifically thank Mitchell Baker and Joi Ito, who introduced me to John Lilly, Chris Beard, and Paul Kim back in January of 2006. Without Joi and John, I would not have joined Mozilla- thank you both.

Thank you to all of my colleagues at Mozilla Japan, especially Satoko Takita, who was very supportive since the beginning. Takita-san, I cannot thank you enough. Thanks to all of my colleagues who made my Mozilla journey as important as the destination: the Evangelism team under Mike Shaver, the Evangelism team under Chris Blizzard, the Contributor Engagement team under Mary Colvig, and the Participation team under Brian King.

There are too many community members for me to thank, so I will just thank you all for your commitment to Mozilla. It is your dedication to the mission of Mozilla which keeps the project alive and moving forward.

While I will be leaving full-time employment at Mozilla, I’ll be continuing my mentor position at 500 Startups. I’m also excited to announce that I am now mentoring at Chinaccelerator, a program by SOS Ventures. If you or your friends are interested in either program, or you are visiting Shanghai, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: gen at kanai dot net

(Note that if I am in China, it may take longer to reach me via methods that are blocked by the Great Firewall. Email is usually best: gen at kanai dot net)

I’ll close with a selection of photos from my time at Mozilla.

John Lilly & Mike Schroepfer in Tokyo, March 2006; (I see Nakano-san on the right side there.)


Mozillagumi welcomes Scott MacGregor to Japan, June 2006

Mozillagumi welcomes Scott MacGregor to Tokyo

Mitchell & Takita-san interviewed by the Japanese media, Sept. 2006

Mitchell & Chibi interview 3

An interpreter, John Lilly and Joi Ito at the Firefox 2.0 Japan press event, October 2006

Firefox 2 Japan press event 2

John Lilly & Chris Beard in Tiananmen Square, January 2007

John Lilly & Chris Beard in Tian'anmen Square

The Mozilla organization in China that existed before Mozilla China.


Seth Spitzer & Seth Bindernagel meet their match with “medium” spicy beef noodle soup in Taipei, April 2007.

spicy beef noodle soup

Mozilla Japan hosted the Firefox Developers Conference, Summer 2007 (with guest speakers including Shaver, mfinkle, fligtar and dmills)


Chris Beard and Kaori Negoro, Feb. 2008


Mozilla Japan, Firefox 3.5 release photo

3 and 5, for Firefox 3.5!

Mitchell speaking at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, Seoul, June 2008.


Mitchell and I visited with the Mozilla Korea community on the release of Firefox 3.0, June 2008

Mozilla Korea, Firefox 3.0 launch 9831

Mitchell was interviewed on CNN from their Seoul bureau, June 2008

Mitchell Baker at CNN, Seoul, Korea

Mozilla l10n teams, Mozilla Summit 2008

Mozilla l10n-0109

meeting with HanoiLUG, Dec. 2009


speaking at Barcamp Saigon, Dec. 2009


Mozilla Indonesia gathering, May 2010


Firefox 4 launch, Bandung, May 2010


Firefox 4 launch, Manila, May 2010

Mozilla Summit 2010

"Shaver will form the head"

Mozilla Summit 2010 - 2

Mitchell Baker and I in Jakarta, Sept 2010

some of the Mozilla Indonesia community

Mozilla Thailand community, Oct. 2010 (with William & Dietrich)


PestaBlogger, Jakarta, Oct. 2010, with Dietrich and WilliamQ




Mozilla community managers, Sept. 2012

community managers at Mozilla

MozCamp Asia 2012 closing dance

Mozilla Bangladesh meeting, Dec. 2012


Mozilla Summit 2013


Analyse Asia – The Firefox Browser & Mobile OS with Gen Kanai

I had the pleasure to sit down with Bernard Leong, host of the Analyse Asia podcast, after my keynote presentation at FOSSASIA 2015. Please enjoy our discussion on Firefox, Firefox OS in Asia and other related topics.

Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong, Episode 22: The Firefox Browser & Mobile OS with Gen Kanai


Why South Korea is really an internet dinosaur

2012 update to the 2007 Cost of Monoculture in Korea


The Economist explains: Why South Korea is really an internet dinosaur

Last year Freedom House, an American NGO, ranked South Korea’s internet as only “partly free”. Reporters without Borders has placed it on a list of countries “under surveillance”, alongside Egypt, Thailand and Russia, in its report on “Enemies of the Internet”. Is forward-looking South Korea actually rather backward?

Shanghai Community meeting December 8

Please join me at the upcoming Mozilla community meeting in Shanghai on the afternoon/evening of Sunday, December 8th. My presentation will be in English on the topic of community building strategies but I think the bulk of the meeting will be in Chinese.

A draft agenda is as follows (this may change):

3:00 - 3:10 pm Short introduction about Mozilla/Firefox l10n related work 
3:10 - 3:30 pm the translation guide lines introduction
3:30 - 3:45 pm break
3:45 - 4:45 pm Firefox OS and Firefox Marketplace
4:45 - 5:00 pm break and free discussion
5:00 - 6:00 pm AMO, MDN, SUMO translation, l10n sprint
6:05 - 6:45 pm Gen's speech & QA
6:45 - 7:15 pm Pizza dinner
7:15 - 8:00 pm Movie "Code Rush"

– Event venue
上海市静安区昌平路990号8号楼 联合创业办公社 (延平智阁)
Google Maps link

Please feel free to either show up at the event itself or if you’d like, please leave a comment and we’ll know to look for you. Hope you can join us!

DJ for 2013 Summit

The Economist on the Internet in China

Gady Epstein, who is the China Correspondent for The Economist  has put together a large 14-page special report on the Internet in China. I strongly recommend it.

Gady was also on this week’s Sinica Podcast talking about this special report, which I also strongly recommend: Gady Epstein on The Internet (in China)

Special report: China and the internet

China’s internet: A giant cage
The internet was expected to help democratise China. Instead, it has enabled the authoritarian state to get a firmer grip, says Gady Epstein. But for how long?

The machinery of control: Cat and mouse
How China makes sure its internet abides by the rules

Microblogs: Small beginnings
Microblogs are a potentially powerful force for change, but they have to tread carefully

The Great Firewall: The art of concealment
Chinese screening of online material from abroad is becoming ever more sophisticated

E-commerce: Ours, all ours
A wealth of internet businesses with Chinese characteristics

Cyber-hacking: Masters of the cyber-universe
China’s state-sponsored hackers are ubiquitous—and totally unabashed

Internet controls in other countries: To each their own
China’s model for controlling the internet is being adopted elsewhere

Assessing the effects: A curse disguised as a blessing?
The internet may be delaying the radical changes China needs

Mozilla South Asia Inter-Community Meet-up 2013

I look forward to the first Mozilla South Asia Inter-Community Meet-up 2013 this weekend in Kathmandu.

The first Mozilla South Asia Inter-Community meet-up will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 23-24 February 2013, with the coordination from Mozilla Nepal Regional community. It will bring together community leaders from the South Asia, including paid staff from across the SAARC countries, to meet for 3 days of presentations, breakout sessions and discussions to plan the implementation of the Mozilla South Asia community road map for 2013 and ensure that the regional community is fully aligned with greater engagement efforts across the Mozilla organization.

The aim of the workshop is to enable Mozilla communities in the South Asia region to share and learn from each other’s experience working on the Mozilla Project, improve collaboration in the future, and work on specific tasks. The event will be focused on operations & roadmap planning for each existing local communities of the South Asia.

John Lilly’s thoughts on Opera moving to WebKit

John Lilly’s thoughts on Opera moving to WebKit:

But what I have learned being around the Mozilla folks is that technologies always, always, always have arcs. Seems obvious. But decisions that seem incredibly clear in the near term — say a period of 3 or 4 years — don’t always seem so clear several years later.

What we know for sure is this: monocultures always make more & faster progress in the near term when they’re stewarded by strong, vibrant leaders. But over time you get stuck. Companies change, sensibilities change. And then you’ve got all the technology, and all talent, and all of the best thinkers, all trapped on one technology stack.

What we do know is that in technology, we’ve never been served well by monocultures — we know this for sure. I worry that in our desire for clearer definition, easier standards, faster progress, we’re forgetting that we know this. Same as it ever was, I suppose.


Tragedy of the WebKit Commons

Tragedy of the WebKit Commons

jQuery Core has more lines of fixes and patches for WebKit than any other browser. In general these are not recent regressions, but long-standing problems that have yet to be addressed.

It’s starting to feel like oldIE all over again, but with a different set of excuses for why nothing can be fixed.

Dave Methvin, member of the jQuery core team; President of the jQuery Foundation.

at Digital World 2012, Dhaka, Bangladesh

On December 6th, I will be in Dhaka to speak at Digital World 2012,in the Digital Entrepreneur Conference in the afternoon. Please don’t hesitate to say hello if you are also attending