In the early days of the iPhone in Japan it was under an exclusive contract with telecoms giant Softbank, which gradually gave way to AU availability as well. This left NTT’s Docomo, as the only big mobile carrier without any Apple product of its own.

However, coinciding with the Japanese launch of the new iPhone5S and iPhone5C today, Docomo has finally jumped on the iPhone bandwagon and is carrying the unit that so many people have been clamouring for. No one was more thrilled at the news then our own Mr. Sato, a long time Docomo subscriber. So he headed down to the Docomo store in Marunouchi to get one as soon as it came out. Turns out he was their very first customer.

Mr. Sato lines up

In order to ensure his purchase of this landmark iPhone, Mr. Sato arrived in front of the shop two days before its release date. Much to his delight, he was the only one there. As time passed, more and more people came and formed a line that would total 280 by launch day.

■ Docomo’s president comes bearing gifts

Mr. Sato felt he lucked out with regard to the weather. The nights were a little chilly but for the most part it was neither too hot nor too cold – good weather for sidewalk camping.

But his biggest break happened on the night before the iPhones’ release. Suddenly, the president of Docomo, Kaoru Kato, appeared and began distributing buns, manju (Japanese cake-like snacks), and bottles of Evian water. Our reporter was genuinely touched by this gesture and happily wolfed down the food.

Over a decade of Docomo

Finally, the sun had risen on the day of the Docomo iPhone5S release. At 7:45 a.m. a ceremony was held at the entrance of the shop. They called over Mr. Sato who was first in line and interviewed him.

He told about how he used Docomo’s service for 14 years. And while he admitted that there were moments when he considered switching companies he held on with the hope that one day Docomo would get the iPhone. Now, his dreams have come true!

Media circus

The countdown had ended and it was time to enter the store. Mr. Sato was shocked to see the entire shop crammed with photographers and cameramen. Inside a press conference was held with President Kato, our own Mr. Sato, and celebrities Maki Horikita and Ken Watanabe. After it finished Mr. Sato made his purchase of a gold-colored 64GB iPhone5S.

With the iPhone in Mr. Sato’s possession he joined President Kato back on stage. The other reporters were calling out asking him to turn it on, but since it wasn’t activated yet he couldn’t get the main screen up. Still the Docomo president helped out Mr. Sato the best he could and looked genuinely thrilled the whole time.

Mr. Sato’s closing comments

“It’s great that I could get the iPhone5S, but I was really amazed by the actions of the Docomo president. I was really touched when he came and delivered food to us the night before. I came away from this with a really friendly feeling, and until today I never felt so good to be using Docomo.”

Reporter: Mr. Sato

▼ Long lines from the previous day at the Docomo shop

Mr. Sato lined up and was the first one! Look how excited he is!

The president donated food! What a generous guy.

Dawn had come! Mr. Sato’s excitement grew as the iPhone came closer to his hand.

Media coverage! Docomo staff and security!! People everywhere!!

The Docomo shop opens soon and Mr. Sato was called up!

From left: Maki Horikita, Kaoru Kato, Mr. Sato, Ken Watanabe

The Docomo shop countdown has begun!

The store is full of media. Photographers everywhere!

Mr. Sato got the Docomo iPhone5S at last! The first person in Japan to get one!

Mr. Sato and the Docomo president check out the iPhone.

▼ Now that’s one happy boy!

[ Read in Japanese ]