Techno-animism in Japan: Shinto Cosmograms, Actor-network Theory, and the Enabling Powers of Non-human Agencies

In a wide range of contemporary debates on Japanese cultures of technological practice, brief reference is often made to distinct Shinto legacies, as forming an animist substratum of indigenous spiritual beliefs and cosmological imaginations. Japan has been described as a land of Shinto-infused ‘techno-animism’: exhibiting a ‘polymorphous perversity’ that resolutely ignores boundaries between human, animal,…

Intersection of “Tokku” Special Zone, Robots, and the Law: A Case Study on Legal Impacts to Humanoid Robots

The unique “Tokku” Special Zone for Robot-ics Empirical Testing and Development (RT special zone) originated in Japan. Since 2003, the world’s first RT special zone had already established in Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City. At that time, Takanishi Laboratory, Humanoid Robotics Institute of Waseda University had conducted many empirical testing within several different…

On the anticipation of ethical conflicts between humans and robots in Japanese mangas

The following contribution examines the influence of mangas and animes on the social perception and cultural understanding of robots in Japan. Part of it is the narrow interaction between pop culture and Japanese robotics: Some examples shall serve to illustrate spill-over effects between popular robot stories and the recent development of robot technologies in Japan.…

Care Robots for an Over-Aging Society: A Technical Solution for Japan’s Demographic Problem?

Japan has the world's longest life expectancy and highest proportion of older people in its population. As a result, the delivery of old-age care is becoming an urgent and high priority issue for the Japanese government. There is a high demand for care within a society whose population is constantly aging, and within this discrepancy,…

Konnichiwa robot, sayonara human? – Construction and domestication of robots in Japan

This thesis explores the robots of Japan in a historical and cultural context, to see how they are co-produced among a wide variety of actors in a network. It is seen both from the creator side, through their scripting of what a robot should be understood and used as, and also from the user-side, through…

Rinri: An Incitement towards the Existence of Robots in Japanese Society

Known as the Robot Kingdom, Japan has launched, by granting outstanding governmental budgets, a new strategic plan in order to create new markets for the RT (Robot-Technology) Industry. Now that the social structure is greatly modernized and a high social functionality has been achieved, robots in society are taking a popular role for Japanese people.…

What people assume about humanoid and animal-type robots: Cross-cultural analysis between Japan, Korea, and the United States

To broadly explore the rationale behind more socially acceptable robot design and to investigate the psychological aspects of social acceptance of robotics, a cross-cultural research instrument, the Robot Assumptions Questionnaire (RAQ), was administered to university students in Japan, Korea, and the United States, focusing on five factors relating to humanoid and animal-type robots: relative autonomy,…