This exhibit was recommended on facebook by a colleague of mine, and since I do like sci-fi, I decided to give it a try. The museum was much closer than I expected, near the Keio line station of Roka-koen.
It was nothing like what I expected, and this time I guess my expectations are to blame. I didn’t realize that the name of the museum itself was “literary hall”, so I was caught off-guard by how literature-centered the exhibition was. And you know, literature is great, but when it’s in displays and you can’t read it, then it’s not worth much. Looking at “old” (mid-20th century) books and manuscripts isn’t exactly interesting, and that’s pretty much all there was in the first third of the exhibit.
Luckily there was a good bunch of related art, mostly cover and feature artworks for old sci-fi magazines and shots from famous movies. There was a lot written about Japanese sci-fi novels that would become huge in later days, like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time or Nerawareta Gakuen among others.
There was quite a few interesting details about futuristic art and culture in general as well, for example the architecture of the Osaka world expo back in ’70. The Tower of the Sun was on the final display too, alongside Astro Boy among others.
As for those others… The main focus of the whole was again a bit different: it was tokusatsu. When I realized that, I lost all hope. Tokusatsu movies are one of the few things in Japan I just fail to comprehend. It’s nothing short of ridiculous in my eyes, but apparently the Japanese are dead serious about it. There was Ultraman with all his various alien invader enemies and of course Godzilla too. I just sighed and walked on…
And to my surprise, I couldn’t spot even a mention of Gundam or Yamato in the exhibit. I guess they count as the second generation of Japanese sci-fi, and the exhibit focused on the first, but still.