11.0473 gleanings from Pacific Asia

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 20:10:17 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 473.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 11:56:47 +0900
From: Steve McCarty <steve_mc@ws0.kagawa-jc.ac.jp>
Subject: Japan's Cultural Receptivity to Computers

Ambulances were wailing all over urban Japan last night as about
550 children simultaneously went into convulsions. They had been=20
watching an animated TV program where the cute Pocket Monsters=20
(loanwords turned into "Pokemon") entered a computer and fought=20
a virus with a vaccine. Apparently a strobe effect of the bright=20
flashing colors at a certain frequency disturbed the children's brain=20
waves, or so I gleaned from initial TV interviews with professors.=20

It was my wife Chisato Ishikawa who suggested the ironic source
of flicking on the TV. For I had asked her (in Japanese) what the=20
computer story might indicate about cultural attitudes towards=20
the new technology. Her reply, translated, was: "You can't generalize.=20
Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers. It may not be known
scientifically, but anyway they'll interview experts on TV."=20
So much for stereotypes about Japanese women.=20

Our younger son has been playing CD-ROM games by himself since
age 3, and the kids chant a song that I would liberally translate as:
"Kon kon computer, gone gone haywire" (they know computers well).=20

The government has actively encouraged the public to be receptive
to new technologies, and in a nearly full employment society there
has been little fear of automation. The article below reviews the
University of Hong Kong Knowledge and Discourse Conference, touching
upon what sociologist of knowledge Steve Fuller had to say about how
Japan disproved modernization theory in the history of science:=20

"East meets West and South in Hong Kong" =20
Asia-Pacific Exchange Electronic Journal^=C1@
Click on Vol. 3, No. 2 (June 1996) at URL:
or select it from other items of possible research interest at URL:

Best wishes for the holiday season,
Steve McCarty =20

Humanist Discussion Group=20
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>