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Tenth installment of Stanford University–J. F. Oberlin University Commemorative Lecture Series to be held on December 7

Are Visions of the Future a Thing of the Past in Japanese Science Fiction Anime and Manga?

Since the end of WWII Japanese popular culture has provided prescient visions of the future in narratives that have influenced both technological innovation and considerations of the ethical ramifications of technological advances. However, recent trends in Japanese SF have moved away from envisioning and exploring possible futures. The sekaikei and kûkikei genres of the 1990s and 2000s, despite their futuristic settings, emphasized small-scale stories of personal salvation through heterosexual romance, rather than the far-reaching, philosophically rich, and often intriguingly queer narratives of earlier Japanese science fiction. The dominant trend now is for narratives that take their structure from video games, wherein visions of the future are structured in reset-able loops. This presentation will consider recent works such as All You Need is Kill, Attack on Titan, Gantz, and Sky Crawlers in terms of the messages they provide regarding our present anxieties and our (lack of) hope for the future.

SpeakerSharalyn Orbaugh (Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia)
Date and timeMonday, December 7, 2015 from 16:10 to 17:40
LanguageLecture in English (Q&A may be in Japanese)
PlaceSūteikan 6th Floor, Conference Room H, Machida Campus

Sharalyn Orbaugh is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, where she teaches modern Japanese literature and popular culture. Representative publications include: Propaganda Performed: Kamishibai in Japan’s Fifteen Year War (2015); “Cult Film as Affective Technology in Oshii Mamoru’s Innocence” (2015); “Emotional Infectivity: The Japanese Cyborg and the Limits of the Human” (2008); and “Future City Tokyo: 1909 and 2009” (2011).