Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction by Motoko Tanaka

By Motoko Tanaka

Beginning with the historical past of apocalyptic culture within the West and concentrating on smooth jap apocalyptic technology fiction in manga, anime, and novels, Apocalypse in modern jap technology Fiction indicates how technological know-how fiction mirrored and coped with the devastation in jap nationwide id after 1945. The constitution of apocalyptic technological know-how fiction unearths what's at stake in eastern society - cultural continuity, culture, politics, ideology, truth, groups, and interpersonal relationships - and indicates how one can take care of those crises and visions for the long run, either confident and destructive. by means of the postwar interval, Motoko Tanaka observes how jap apocalyptic discourse has replaced in its position as a device in keeping with the zeitgeists of varied many years.

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Comets had long been regarded as omens, but the idea that they could bring global apocalyptic catastrophe developed in the late nineteenth century along with the importation and growth in popularity of science fiction. Literary critic Nagayama Yasuo argues that Japanese apocalyptic science fiction in the prewar period was different from Europe and the United States, and has identified a common pattern in apocalyptic science fiction novels in this time period: the peculiar avoidance of the absolute end; in the following I analyze three novels introduced by Nagayama in his book, Natsukashii mirai (A Good Old Future).

Buddhism does not define the time of the beginning or the end of the The Trajectory of Apocalyptic Discourse 27 world, yet its cycle includes both nothingness and creation. This cycle of the creation and destruction of the whole universe repeats itself: Buddha appears and brings the righteous rule of harmony, virtue, enlightenment; after Buddha dies, it becomes gradually more difficult to achieve enlightenment. Buddha’s teachings are maintained as scriptures, yet the number of followers decreases so that enlightenment becomes impossible.

Such fiction often used elements of science fiction such as utopias, parallel universes, and futuristic worlds in outer space. For example, in Kanna Shun’ichi’s Hoshi sekai ryokō (Travel in Outer Space), ­published in 1881, the main character visits planets outside of the solar system and studies their science, sociopolitical systems, ethics, and so on. One planet is described as a cooperative totally lacking government, where everything is equal. On this planet people do not work since they have biologically artificial human beings for labor.

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