Thursday, April 3, 2008

How Big Was Asimov in Japan?

...Particularly in the immediate post-war decades. Because although I suspect his original Foundation trilogy was intended not only a thought experiment in how Europe picked up the pieces after the decline and fall of the Roman Empire but also as a thinkpiece on where the U.S. stood to stand after the decline and fall of the British Empire, it's occurred to me both times I've taught Foundation that it really was Japan that picked up on the whole "how to win friends and influence people through trade in high-tech miniaturization" vibe towards its end (and in the beginning of its sequel).

Not being an Asimov expert, I'm ashamed to admit that I'm probably as influenced by South Park's "Chinpokomon" episode (video/script/commentary) as anything here. And I don't have time to do any real research on the question of how much influence Asimov's 1940s stories and early 1950s novels may have had on Japan's trade and technology policies (or, for that matter, on those running the American post-war occupation of Japan). But wouldn't it be weird/neat if the answer was, "lots"?

3 comments:

shirai-kirei said...

Yeah, I got that vibe about Japan hidden within Foundation despite the fact that I'm only halfway through it. Anything that can attract believers who want to get to the bottom of what the heck's going on behind the scenes is bound to produce some sort of turmoil

The Constructivist said...

I'm actually wondering if his stories and novels influenced Japanese post-war development strategies, myself....

Beeblebrox said...

I have to admit that South Park's "Chinpokomon" episode is probably one of the most responsible influences for my sarcastic take on just about anything Sci-Fi. Add the to Hitch Hiker's Guide and it's nearly impossible for me to take most sci-fi seriously....