Please join us for the next meeting of the Japanese Film Workshop on Thursday, October 14 from 7 to 9PM, at Meiji Gakuin University, Shirokane Campus. The venue is *room 7418* on the 4th floor of the Hepburn hall (a tall building standing next to the main building). The Japanese Film Workshop is open to all.
"Bishōjo Games: Techno-Intimacy and the Virtually Human in Japan"
Patrick W. Galbraith
Ph.D., Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo
Otaku are intimately connected to the global imagination of living with media and technology. They are described as “children of media and technology” (Grassmuck 1990), “socially inept but often brilliant technological shut-ins” (Greenfeld 1993) or “pathological-techno-fetishist[s]” (Gibson 1996). In their world, “Technology is your companion. Technology is your teacher. Technology is your friend. Technology is your livelihood. Ultimately, technology becomes your reality” (Greenfeld 1994). The overarching theme is that otaku are “posthuman,” more comfortable with technology than people, confused about the difference between the real and the virtual. The basic logic, summarized as losing humanity to the onslaught of technology, desperately needs to be problematized. This paper proposes that otaku are seeking a new understanding of (human) being in the technological condition. It examines bishōjo games, which run the gamut from conversation to pornography, and comprise a huge industry in Japan that blurs the line between direct, mediated and purely machine contact.
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