chapter  6
14 Pages

Human concerns and values

This chapter will look at the various approaches that are taken in Japanese science fiction to human values. Previous chapters have provided an indication that for all Japan's modern success all is not satisfaction and contentment in the Japanese mind. Jading both with the current life-style and the media and concern over the consequences of current commercial practices have surfaced in sufficiently varied ways to suggest the existence at least in latent form of serious reservations about the direction in which Japan appears to be travelling. This and the fact that the readership of the genre is so youthful may harbinger, if not exactly predict, changes at least in emphasis and possibly in direction in the future. But evidence of jading, dissatisfaction, disillusionment, and concern is not in itself sufficient to give any positive indication of the possible direction of future thoughts, let alone the commitment, intensity, or passion with which they may be held. For this to become even possible it will be necessary to look at the values which are held by the Japanese people and particularly by its younger generation. Here, once again, the study of science fiction presents itself as a potentially useful tool; the values explicitly expressed or implicitly inlaid in a literature evoking the enthusiastic support of members of the younger generation are for that very reason more likely than not to figure significantly in the formation of attitudes, policies, and strategies in years to come. Some of the values may be negative, some positive. In either case they have the potential to be helpful in enabling the observer to broaden and deepen his appreciation of the changing currents in Japanese thought and society.