Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Japan Dreaming

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: Jr. High to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $390.00
  • Date: Copyright 1991. Released 1993.
  • Descriptors: Japan. Technology. Forecasting.
  • Production Information: Live action, Animation. Produced by Sue Clayton. Directed by Sue Clayton. Narrated by Lindsay Duncan. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch. English, Japanese. Subtitled. 52 min.
  • Available from: First Run/Icarus Films 153 Waverly Pl., 6th Floor New York, NY 10014 (212)243-0600
  • Cataloging: 003.209'52 Future in popular culture - Japan||Japan - Forecasting||Technological forecasting - Japan
  • Print Entry #: 5:1043
  • Reviewer: Edward Delvers

    This is a universally appealing look at Japan's interpretation of the future, both for itself and for the world. Japan views the future as a logical extension of today's technology and social structure. This video explores this attitude and shows how, in many respects, the infrastructure for the country's future society is being conscientiously put into place. The video would be of interest to students of Japan, technology, and the future.

    Trends in transportation, communications, space settlement, city planning for submarine and underground environments, agriculture, and entertainment are explored. Microbes eating toxic waste, intelligent buildings, superconductivity, 250 mph maglev vehicles, holographic imaging, and other present activities are seen as directly leading to useful applications in the very near future. To paraphrase one analyst interviewed, all of this activity takes place in an atmosphere in which the Japanese don't realize that it can't be done.

    Japan's dreaming is of a very practical nature. Fuzzy logic already runs the subway trains with a computer that has learned and mimics all the mannerisms of the best subway driver on the staff. Architects instantly generate a third dimensional paper mock-up of your dream house. Fish are hatched, trained to answer to an underwater broadcast to feed, released into the ocean to mature, and harvested when called back by the broadcast. One entrepreneur fully intends to entertain young honeymooners in space by the year 2020 - not on a trip to another planet, but just spending a few nights in weightless space for the fun of it.

    This video is presented in two 26-minute segments. The well-written and easily comprehended narration is intercut with interviews, animation, cuts from motion pictures, and a variety of live scenes. Spoken Japanese is clearly subtitled, and the translation is informal and mostly accurate. The editing is very tight; visuals are very colorful. It is an engaging video to watch.

    Japan Dreaming is recommended for almost all libraries. The subject matter of Japan is not the central issue - the issue is technology, the future and its possibilities, and an example of how one society is dealing with it. As a depiction of dreams, as possibilities often are, it is a look at only the brighter side of things, so it is very entertaining.

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