Japanese service providers have shut down the last pager network in Tokyo, ending a fifty-year method of communications popular with doctors and teen girls. In its 1996 heyday, pagers beeped on 10 million belts. Before the mobile phone they became popular with Japanese teens as a cheap and easy way to communicate.

From JapanTimes:

In the 1990s, female high school students drove the pager boom further as they came up with clever combinations to exchange messages.

Among the short numerical messages were ?33414,? which in Japanese can be pronounced ?samishiiyo,? meaning ?I?m lonely.? Another was ?999,? a series of three (san) nines (ky?) that was a casual way to say ?sanky???(?thank you?).

The last service provider, Telemessage Inc., shut down services today.

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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.