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Assembling Japan

Modernity, Technology and Global Culture

Edited By Griseldis Kirsch, Dolores P. Martinez and Merry White

Assembling Japan focuses on Japan’s modernization as a long-term process that is reliant on changing technology and that has led to the nation’s full engagement with the global system. This process forms a complex field of tensions, full of interesting dynamisms and synergies that can be best understood through the book’s methodology: anthropological analysis combined with historical contextualization.
The approaches in this collection are manifold. Some chapters examine the themes of modernity, technology and Japan’s global experience though popular culture, from reggae to football, from television to film. Other topics include coffee, travel, economics, cultural politics and technological innovation in the field of robotics. All of the contributions aim to show how these global interactions have occurred and continue to take place in twenty-first-century Japan.
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Branding Humanoid Japan

Extract



Asimo

In August 2003, Junichirō Koizumi made the first official visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to the Czech Republic. During his three-day trip, local newspapers constantly reported on the Japanese delegation. What the media remarked upon most was not the primary purpose of the visit, namely the politico-economic rapprochement between the two countries, but rather, the actions of a special goodwill ambassador who accompanied Japan’s leader: Honda’s Asimo. Prime Minister Koizumi introduced Asimo at a government dinner party, where the world’s then most advanced bipedal robot walked around, gave a greeting in Czech and shook hands with the then Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla.

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