Do the Japanese dream of a robotic future? Expressing posthumanism in Japanese media.

Date

2011-05-10

Authors

Novak, Irina

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Abstract

Technology in Japan has reached ubiquitous status and its development is one of the main priorities of state policy. which includes a wide range of programs aimed at increasing the involvement of IT in everyday life as an improvement of both society and humanity itself. On the other hand, there seems to be resistance among citizens of western countries to accept refrigerators able to tell you that you are almost out of eggs, or cars that remind you to fasten the safety belt or check your breath for the presence of alcohol before you can drive. There seems to he resistance for us to talk to machines as if they were alive. The question thus emerges: why are the Japanese so conscious about technologies? What is there in Japanese spirituality, tradition, history, or ideology that facilitates the acceptance of Information Technologies and Artificial intelligence as not only an integral part of daily life, but in fact as forms of actual consciousness? This thesis will deal with two aspects of contemporary life of Japanese - technologies and Shinto as a part of daily routine. These two aspects lead us to the concept of posthumanism as well as a religious concept of Shinto as a way of life in Japan. The questions arising from this approach are why and how information technologies are related to Shinto. Why is this relation almost inevitable? To answer these questions, this thesis will analyze the personification of technology in both Japanese animated film and in consumer products.

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Keywords

robots, popular culture, Japan, posthumanism

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