Book Corner #12: 'Futuristic Illustrations'

The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of culture all summer long, through works selected and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. The Showa period in Japan under Emperor Hirohito lasted from 1926 to 1989, but most of the illustrations in this charming and at times hilarious picture book are from the 1950s to 1970s. The collection of futuristic imaginings anticipated what life might be like in the 21st century for Japanese children, and are grouped into six categories: everyday life, modes of transportation, robots, computers, space and, optimistically... the end of the world!

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Futuristic Illustrations

"It may sound strange to us, but the 21st century has been the stuff of dreams of many fantasies. With wild visions of transportation, architecture, robots, computers, previous generations really overinvested in the future we are living now. A quick check around today will confirm that there are as yet no flying cars (even if budget travel might resemble it); computers are indeed high-powered but tiny and not very impressive, and as for houses, they are very similar to the old ones. Dreams are manifested principally through images and as here, through drawings. Thus, this book is a collection of the Japanese futuristic imagination from the fifties to the seventies: creative, colorful and hungry for innovation. It is quite delightful to turn these pages, you experience a kind of nostalgia (even though we are talking about the future) for a childish outlook free from barriers and ulterior motives. A bit like with Daft Punk and Goldorak."

Futuristic Illustrations for Kids of the Showa Era — Our 21st century, 2012, 260 p. Ed. Seigensha.

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