Manchester Metropolitan University

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'Japan in the Digital Age' to be revealed

An eye-opening University event explores little known social and cultural phenomenons in the country

‘2.5 dimension theatre', anime pilgrimages and the revolutionary effects of technology on business and tradition form the basis of 'Japan in the Digital Age'.

Japan has long been a place of fascination in this country, particularly to those interested in manga, anime and pop culture, business, science, technology and tourism.

With a new UK-Japan Season of Culture just announced by Theresa May, the opening of Japan House in London next year, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the horizon – interest in all things Japan is growing once more.

Yet comparatively little is understood outside of the country about the profound impact of technology on Japanese culture and society.

Do we know about 2.5 Dimensional Theatre – live theatrical productions that are based on the 2D world of manga, anime and videogames coming to life on 3D stage? What about the use of digital technologies on the preservation, re-creation, re-mediation of traditional, ‘old’ Japan?

Organised by Dr Esperanza Miyake, a technology and digital cultures expert from the Department of Languages, Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, the one-day conference ‘Japan in the Digital Age’ takes place on Saturday 28th October, and aims to kickstart a new understanding of modern Japan.

Experts, researchers and students will explore the ways digitalisation has changed Japanese business culture, how tradition has shaped the adoption of technology, and new pastimes driven by this shift.

Dr Miyake said: “With Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics buzzing away in the not too distant future, we are witnessing an increasing proliferation of all things Japan in our day-to-day lives. From sushi at Tesco's sandwich counter to Pokemon Go! on our phones, Japan seems to have indeed gone ‘pop’ again. But what do we know about Japan today beyond kawaii, cosplaying school-girls, and miso soup?

“For example, do we know about 2.5 Dimensional Theatre – live theatrical productions that are based on the 2D world of manga, anime and videogames coming to life on 3D stage? What about the use of digital technologies on the preservation, re-creation, re-mediation of traditional, ‘old’ Japan?

“These are just starting questions that have very exciting and unexpected answers; bringing together scholars, industry experts, and students of Japanese culture, ‘Japan in the Digital Age’ seeks to share innovative ideas and projects that showcase Japan in the Digital here and now.”

Japan in the Digital Age aims to be a catalyst for a more sustained programme of events on how contemporary Japan is situated within the rapidly changing landscape of digital technologies, and how this can be understood in terms of research, business and creativity.

Tickets are available now for the event for £15.

Monday, 2nd October 2017