Utopia or Uprising? Conflicting Discourses of Japanese Robotics in the British Press


News Reporting
Representation of Japan

How to Cite

Hayes, C. J. “Utopia or Uprising? Conflicting Discourses of Japanese Robotics in the British Press”. Mutual Images Journal, no. 6, June 2019, pp. 135-67, doi:10.32926/2018.6.hay.utopi.


Technology is a particularly interesting example of where media portrayal of Japan is inconsistent. For many years, Japan has been known as a technologically advanced nation. This image persists, especially in the last couple of years with the introduction of service and retail robots such as Softbank’s Pepper. While sometimes news publications present this as a positive image of the future, an idea of what we in the West have to look forwards to, at other times, the image of technology in Japan is decidedly negative. Sometimes it has too much technology, or it has technologies that ‘we in the West’ would not see a use for. How do these conflicting views arise? This paper uses Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse British news articles about three recent robots in order to reveal the discourses present. The article will investigate whether these depictions are a result of Orientalism, but will show that no single Orientalism is responsible, but rather a combination of Techno-Orientalism, Self-Orientalism, and Wacky Orientalism.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Christopher Hayes