Wednesday, September 3, 2008

From textiles to cars to the culture of Cute

This morning on the BBC's Business Daily,one of the stories was about the history of Toyota...its transformation from a textile company into an automobile manufacturer. A major component of factory work is its robotic division, both for the manufacture of automobiles and more importantly into other uses. The company's other divisions include Housing, Financial Activities, Marine, Biotech & Afforestation, and New Business Enterprises. A major focus of the robotic group has been to develop robot assistants for the elderly. Not only is Japan's workforce aging, but this is exacerbated by a significant portion of its youth entering into terminal adolescence through the Culture of Cute. This led me to think about other island nations and/or cultures that are characterised as being 'reserved', e.g. Great Britain. Kazuo Ishiguro explored this in The Remains of the Day. But I began thinking about whether the Carnaby Street culture of the 1960's was Britain's version of "cute" and whether this then portends hope or despair for Japan....

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