Japan is arguably the first postindustrial society to embrace the prospect of human-robot coexistence. Over the past decade, Japanese humanoid robots designed for use in homes, hospitals, offices, and schools have become celebrated in mass and social media throughout the world. In Robo sapiens japanicus, Jennifer Robertson casts a critical eye on press releases and public relations videos that misrepresent robots as being as versatile and agile as their science fiction counterparts. An ethnography and sociocultural history of governmental and academic discourse of human-robot relations in Japan, this book explores how actual robots—humanoids, androids, and animaloids—are “imagineered” in ways that reinforce the conventional sex/gender system and political-economic status quo. In addition, Robertson interrogates the notion of human exceptionalism as she considers whether “civil rights” should be granted to robots. Similarly, she juxtaposes how robots and robotic exoskeletons reinforce a conception of the “normal” body with a deconstruction of the much-invoked Theory of the Uncanny Valley.
Despite enduring whispers, sideway glances, and blatant discrimination, men and women today are choosing to remain single—and are enjoying complete and joyful lives. In this carefully crafted, thoroughly researched book, Elyakim Kislev delivers groundbreaking insights on the fastest growing demographic in the world: singles. Happy Singlehood investigates how unmarried people create satisfying lives in a world where social structures and policies are still designed to favor married couples. The book challenges readers to rethink how single people organize social and familial life in new ways, and illuminates how educators, policymakers, and urban planners ignore their needs. Based on personal interviews, singles’ writings, and widespread quantitative analysis, Happy Singlehood investigates how singles nurture social networks, create innovative communities, and effectively deal with discrimination. Showcasing voices of singles, Kislev charts a way forward to assist singles to live life on their terms, and explains how everyone—single or otherwise—benefits from the freedom to develop new and fulfilling lifestyles.
This book explores the intricate and dynamic relations between culture and play in Japan. By addressing play as a function of culture, the authors inquiry starts where biology and most psychological studies of play leave off. Using both historical and synchronic perspectives, the manuscript offers a theoretically informed journey to better understand the ways formal and informal cultural institutions as well as social ideologies shape and influence how people play and think about play and the ways in which cultural repertoires can be altered, negotiated, or invented through play.