What I want to focus on during this blog post is three main investigations. Firstly I will look into why exactly my initial reaction to Hatsune was different to others. Specifically investigating into my own cultural background and what I’ve previously been exposed to throughout my life and why that would reflect through my reactions. Secondly I will look into Koya Azumi’s book ‘The Mysterious Drop in Japan’s Birth Rate’, and alongside with my own opinions and conclusions, attempt to make some connections with her arguments and my own. And lastly I will conclude all of this by making a judgment statement on how I think Hatsune and the entire concept of her may affect Japan in the long run, leading into my idea for the group project.
My cultural background starts with me being born in Australia and raised here my whole life. However my parents and their entire family before them were all born in Lebanon and mostly raised there. So I was brought up with a bit of both cultures mixing into each other. For the most part of my childhood, my parents made sure to keep most, if not all of the lessons they learnt from Lebanon and raised us the way their parents would have. So we didn’t have much access to technology at all because our focuses were going to school, staying with family and making strong connections with people. Instantly I can realize that this is why I thought it so odd for tens of thousands of people to adore a hologram. I was fixed to believe that the only real connection you needed where ones with heart beats and any connection to technology was not only unnecessary but almost sinful. My reaction in this case was not unwarranted, in fact it makes quite a lot of sense.
Even then, Australian culture doesn’t entirely support a huge connection to technology especially when compared to Japan. Australia is in fact quite behind when it comes to technology and how often its used to substitute real life connections. So all in all my lack of connection to technology in comparison to Japan makes complete sense.
As most of us know, Japan is very ahead of the time in regards to technology and using to to mimic and substitute human connections. I go more into that in my previous blog post, discussing Hatsune and the Gate Box. So knowing this, and also knowing about the population drop in Japan (which I also discuss in my previous post), it’s quite fair to think there is a connection here. When I have discussed this with a few people, they have always seemed to have the argument that “maybe the drop is intentional”. I want to make it clear that I truly believe it is not. Like Koya mentions in her book, ‘The Mysterious Drop in Japans Birth Rate’, a drop like Japans in 1966, which was a 26% decline in birth rate in just one year, in a country that is heavily industrialized and as successful as they are, this decline makes absolutely no sense. It’s important to note there was no war, or change in legal codes or sudden shifts in culture that could have influenced this change.
I definitely believe that a demand for technology is Japan and a demand for quick and satisfying interactions (without the demand for them to be human) has a huge connection to this issue. The main difference between western culture and Japan, is that western culture has a demand for technology while also demanding that to be ideally human. Where as Japans demand does not include that human connection. This is where we see a lack in face to face interaction, leading to a lack of a social life.
This leads me into what I want to propose for my group project. I’m riding solo on this project and have decided to definitely stick to this concept. I am going to be spending a few hours on a virtual hangout and recording the session. I will then analyse the session and my reactions throughout it as well as doing some research behind the hangout I was on. I have chosen to go on Habbo Hotel due to its popularity of consistency as a virtual platform. More on this soon.
Azumi, K. Trans-action (1968) 5: 46. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02818926