Posted in design and architecture, engineering, literature

The Pride of Tokyo

I love seeing literature, even comic book literature, be represented in a real-life setting. 

Courtesy BBC News:

 Nothing better sums up the relationship between the Japanese and robotics than a giant model robot model – 18 metres high and weighing 35 tonnes – that has taken pride of place in the centre of Tokyo.

The robot is one from the Gundam series, which began in the late 1970s. It towers over the capital’s Odaiba Island as an exact replica of what a “real life” robot would look like if it existed.

Japan has been obsessed with the idea of giant robots. They are the stars of shows such as Macross and Getter Robo. The original Transformer toys, known as Diaclone, were made here before being turned into a global phenomenon by the US toymaker Hasbro.

But according to Patrick Galbraith, ethnographer at the University of Tokyo, and author of The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider’s Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan, there is “no series is more beloved” than Gundam.

“In Japan, they skipped all that negativity after the industrial revolution, and really, what they have is technology and mechanics as the hope for the future,” he told BBC World Service’s Digital Planet programme.

“In Gundam, you see a young man gets on board a giant robot, he reads a tech manual and he says, ‘I can fly this thing and save the world’ – and in fact, he does.

“I think that hopefulness is what the Japanese see in robots.”

Read full story at BBC News.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.