More than a year after its print publication folded, the Website www.hokubei.com was shut down Jan. 31, said Hokubei Mainichi Newspaper’s former English section editor, JK Yamamoto. Yamamoto told the Nichi Bei Weekly that he knew that the site was going to be taken down, and had posted content to the site the previous evening.
Yamamoto said he posted the following message about a week before the site was shut down:
“As many of you know, the Hokubei Mainichi Newspaper ceased publication at the end of October 2009. The Website, www.hokubei.com, has continued to operate in a limited form.
Since only one person has been uploading content, on the English side only, it has not been possible to update the Community Calendar. Many regular features such as ‘A Kanji a Day’ came to an end, and contributions by our columnists were so rare that eventually columns were simply placed under ‘News’ with the other articles.
“Regrettably, there was no one to update the Japanese side, which has remained unchanged for more than a year.
To those who have regularly visited the site, and particularly those who subscribed when we started charging for subscriptions, we thank you for helping to keep the last vestige of the Hokubei Mainichi alive, and we apologize for the technical problems that recently made it difficult to access the site.
“The decision has been made to discontinue the site at the end of this month. Although we plan to store the contents, the articles will no longer be readily available to the public. We recommend that you save any articles of interest while the site is still up. It also may be possible to view a Hokubei article by doing a search on Google or Yahoo and clicking ‘Cached’ instead of the link.
“Although we are no longer a visible presence in the community with an office, staff and hard-copy product, we hope that our continued presence online has helped keep people informed for the past 14 (going on 15) months.
As we sign off, we urge you to support the remaining Nikkei media outlets. Even though they are difficult to maintain as businesses, they still serve an important function in the community and are worth saving.
“On a personal note, after 23 years with the Hokubei, I must now devote most of my time to the Rafu Shimpo in Los Angeles, where I now work, with occasional articles for Nikkei West if possible.
More importantly, this brings to an end 62 years of the Hokubei. We didn’t quite make the retirement age of 65, but many thanks to everyone — staff, board members, subscribers, advertisers, benefactors — who kept the paper going longer than anyone expected.
Wishing you all the best in 2011 and beyond…”
Yamamoto said that he had been told that the Website’s “online subscribers have been paid back.”